Cooper Foundation Awards First Quarter Grants

Thursday, March 15, 2018 

Lincoln, Neb. — The Cooper Foundation awarded a grant of $15,000 to the Wellbeing Initiative for expansion of the Peer Training Academy. The Wellbeing Initiative is a peer-run organization that empowers individuals living with mental health challenges to reach their fullest potential. They provide alternatives to higher levels of care, work to fight stigma, and promote self-advocacy. The organization operates The Orchard, a drop-in center in downtown Lincoln that provides a safe, easily accessible and inclusive environment for people in recovery to find resources and to support and encourage one another.

In addition, the foundation’s first quarter meeting in March awarded grants to a diverse group of arts, community improvement, education, environment, and human services organizations. In total, $191,000 was awarded; grant recipients are located in Lincoln unless otherwise noted.

Approved for Funding by the Cooper Foundation, March 2018


Flatwater Shakespeare Company: $5,000
For the 8th annual Flatwater Free Shakespeare summer tour presented in a variety of Lincoln parks.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Jazz in June: $7,500
Support for the 2018 summer concert series.

Vision Maker Media: $5,000
Support for “We Are All Related,” the 7th Biennial Vision Maker Film Festival, April 20-26, 2018 at the Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center. 

Community Improvement

Community Services Fund: $6,000
Support for the 2018 campaign of this fundraising coalition, serving 64 diverse Nebraska nonprofit organizations.

Lincoln Parks and Recreation Foundation: $10,000
Toward a campaign feasibility study for the proposed Lincoln Botanical Garden.


Bright Lights: $10,000
General operating support.

Edgerton Education Foundation (Aurora, Nebraska): $10,000
Support for the STEAM Ahead Scholarship program. 

Institute for Holocaust Education (Omaha, Nebraska): $10,000
Support for state-wide work with teachers, students, and communities.

Lincoln Literacy: $12,500
Support for technology infrastructure and the integration of new technology innovations for students and teachers. 

Malcolm Parent Teacher Organization (Malcolm, Nebraska): $5,000
To expand the existing playground at Westfall Elementary School to create an inclusive play area that encourages physical activity, cognitive development, and imagination for children of all abilities.


Nebraska Trails Foundation: $10,000
Toward construction of the South Bridge that spans Salt Creek tributary in Wilderness Park.

Human Services

Bridges to Hope: $15,000
General operating support to provide donated furniture, clothing and household goods to men and women as they transition from correctional facilities back into the community.

Center for Legal Immigration Assistance: $15,000
Toward general operating to provide legal assistance to immigrants and refugees.

Child Advocacy Center: $15,000
Support for general operations of this agency that offers a safe, child-friendly environment for forensic interviews and medical evaluations for victims of child abuse, and provides advocacy and support for the child and their caregivers.

Mourning Hope Grief Center: $15,000
General operating support for this organization that provides programming and support to young people and their families in times of grief.

Wellbeing Initiative: $15,000
Toward the expansion of the peer training program.

YWCA Lincoln: $25,000
To support the new Finance Manager staff position.

The Cooper Foundation, established by Joseph H. Cooper in 1934, has granted nearly $24 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 eligibility and the application process visit the foundation’s web site,

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