Cooper Foundation Supports Prison Reentry Program

Thursday, April 6, 2023

Lincoln, Neb. — The Cooper Foundation awarded a grant of $10,000 to RISE Academy to support the position of a Lincoln Reentry Specialist to provide in-prison programming and reentry services to incarcerated and formerly incarcerated men and women in Lincoln, Nebraska.

RISE is the largest nonprofit organization in Nebraska focused solely on providing comprehensive and habilitative programming in prisons and reentry support. RISE’s holistic and rigorous in-prison programming provides incarcerated men and women the skills and tools needed to be successful upon their return home; participants learn how to navigate trauma, build resiliency, manage emotions and behaviors, and become prosocial, positive community members through developing a growth mindset and paving a path of self-sufficiency through career planning and entrepreneurship. To learn more, go to

In addition, the Cooper Foundation Board of Trustees awarded grants in its first quarter meeting March 31, totaling $206,000 to 16 diverse nonprofit organizations. Grant recipients are all located in Lincoln unless otherwise noted.

Approved for Funding by the Cooper Foundation, March 2023


University of Nebraska-Lincoln, International Quilt Museum – $9,500
Support for the New Deal exhibit, catalog, and online learning programming.

Community Improvement

Give Nebraska – $6,500
Towards the 2023 campaign.


Lincoln Literacy – $10,000
Operational support for Bridgeway to a Better Life continuum of services through English language learning and workforce development.


Solidago Conservancy – $12,500
General operating to support land conservation efforts targeting the Salt Valley Greenway in Lincoln and Lancaster County.

Human Services

BraveBe Child Advocacy Center – $12,500
Support toward expansion of nursing staff.

Bridges to Hope – $15,000
To support staffing and capacity building efforts towards the development of Hope Village, a tiny home project to serve formerly incarcerated and homeless populations.

Clyde Malone Community Center – $20,000
Toward the Youth Program Director position.

HopeSpoke – $15,000
General operating support toward mental health and behavioral health programs for children and families.

Legal Aid of Nebraska, Omaha, Nebraska – $10,000
To support the UPLIFT Project to empower Lincoln’s low-income communities through legal education, advocacy, and representation.

Midland University, Fremont, Nebraska – $10,000
Support for campus-wide mental health initiative for students and employees at Midland University.

Nebraska Indian Child Welfare Coalition, Bloomfield, Nebraska- $15,000
General operating support for this Native American-led organization that provides education, advocacy, and culturally informed services and trainings focused on the protection of Indian children’s rights and preserving cultural connections.

RISE Academy, Omaha, Nebraska – $10,000
Toward the Lincoln Reentry Specialist position.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln, College of Law – $25,000
Toward the position of Resource Navigator for the Tenant Assistance Program to provide support to tenants at eviction court in Lancaster County.

Wellbeing Initiative – $10,000
General operating support for trainings, services, and mental health programs built around peer support.

Willard Community Center – $15,000
General operating support.

YWCA of Lincoln – $10,000
General operating support.

The Cooper Foundation, established by Joseph H. Cooper in 1934, has granted over $27 million to benefit the people of Nebraska. The Foundation makes quarterly grants supporting the arts, civic and community engagement, education, environment, the humanities, and human services primarily in Lincoln and Lancaster County. For more information about grant guidelines and deadlines, visit the foundation’s web site,




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