Cooper Foundation Approves Over $230,000 in Grants at December Meeting

Friday, December 20, 2019

Lincoln, Neb. — The Cooper Foundation Board of Trustees awarded a grant of $15,000 to HoChunk Community Development Corporation for their work with the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska for HoChunk Harvest – a major food sovereignty initiative led by the tribal community, created in response to pervasive nutrition-related health problems and poor access to food. Located in Thurston County, the Winnebago Tribe faces many challenges that impede access to healthy food choices mainly due to its isolated, rural location. The county has an average poverty rate more than double that of Nebraska’s at 26.9%, where 82% of children are eligible for free and reduced lunch, lack of affordable produce and options within an 18 mile radius, and nearly 100% of food is grown off the reservation.

Food sovereignty is a movement to regain control and access to food systems and lessen the dependence on outside food sources. The Tribe’s efforts are focused on the 2020 growing season including home gardening, the Winnebago farmers’ market, and small business incubation opportunities.

In addition, the Foundation approved grants in December totaling $232,053 to 16 nonprofit organizations. The foundation awarded grants to a diverse group of arts, education, environment human services, and humanities organizations. Grant recipients are located in Lincoln unless otherwise noted.

Approved for Funding by the Cooper Foundation, December 2019


Lincoln Orchestra Association – $2,500
Operating support.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Jazz in June – $5,000
Toward the 29th year of Jazz in June in the summer of 2020.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lied Center for Performing Arts – $10,000
General operating support for education programming and residency activities for the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Co. performance.


Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools – $15,000
To support scholarships for the Spark Summer Learning program.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln, E.N. Thompson Forum on World Issues – $20,553
Support for the 2020-2021 series from the Thompson Family Fund, established at the Cooper Foundation in 1999 by E.N. “Jack” and Katie Thompson to support the Thompson Forum.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Honors Program – $4,000
To pilot five monthly Cooper Conversations for students, community stakeholders, and faculty to discuss issues of local and global importance as it relates to community building and civic engagement.


Groundwater Foundation – $12,500
General operating support. 

Lauritzen Gardens (Omaha, NE) – $10,000
To support the seed bank conservation program to save endangered plants in Nebraska and the Great Plains.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Center for Great Plains Studies – $10,000
In support of the April 2020 symposium “Climate Change & Culture in the Great Plains.”

University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Platte Basin Timelapse – $50,000
Operating support for 2020 and 2021 for ongoing data collection and multimedia content creation for the Platte Basin Timelapse project.

Human Services

CEDARS Youth Services – $30,000
To support a staff therapist position for the emergency youth shelter.

Center for People in Need – $20,000
General operating support.

HoChunk Community Development Corporation (Winnebago, NE) – $15,000
Support for HoChunk Harvest. 

Lincoln Housing Authority – $10,000
In support of the Student-build House program in partnership with Lincoln Northeast High School and Lincoln Public Schools.


Humanities Nebraska – $2,500
Program support. 

University of Nebraska-Lincoln, International Quilt Study Center & Museum – $15,000
To support the Education Coordinator staff position.

The Cooper Foundation, established by Joseph H. Cooper in 1934, has granted over $25 million to benefit the people of Nebraska. The Foundation makes quarterly grants supporting arts, community improvement, education, environment, humanities and human services primarily in Lincoln and Lancaster County. For more information about grant guidelines and deadlines, call 402-476-7571, or visit the foundation’s web site,

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