Cooper Foundation Trustees Approve Grants at December Board Meeting

Monday, December 19, 2022

Lincoln, Neb. —  The Cooper Foundation awarded a grant of $20,000 to the Nebraska Big Red Satellite toward the design, build, and launch of a satellite into space for the study of solar energy. Big Red Satellite is a team of Nebraska middle and high school students, mentored by the University of Nebraska–Lincoln undergraduate engineering students, and one of 14 research projects chosen by NASA to have their satellite placed into Earth orbit – a first for Nebraska.

The team will study perovskite cells, an emerging solar energy source. Big Red Satellite was selected by NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative, a highly competitive, nationwide program to provide experiential learning for students to engage in STEM and aerospace by building a working satellite and the opportunity to analyze and study collected data from space. Once data is collected, math and science classrooms in Nebraska will be invited and trained by the BRS team to study and analyze the impact of perovskites. Ultimately, this data will be used to help bolster the use of perovskites for space and commercial use. The long-term aim of the project is to develop programming focused on aerospace education and careers. To learn more, go to

The Cooper Foundation Board of Trustees awarded grants in its fourth quarter cycle totaling $77,500 to 6 diverse nonprofit organizations at its December meeting. Grant recipients are all located in Lincoln.

Approved for Funding by the Cooper Foundation, December 2022


Angels Theatre Company – $5,000
Toward the production of Predictor, a new play written by Jennifer Blackmer to premiere at the Johnny Carson Theatre February 10-18, 2023. The play is based on the real-world experiences of Margaret Crane, the graphic artist who designed and invented the first home pregnancy test, increasing women’s autonomy and access to informed healthcare.

Metropolitan Opera/Nebraska Auditions – $1,000
Support for the annual Nebraska District Auditions of the Metropolitan Opera. The Nebraska District has taken part in annual auditions for 60 years since 1962, where as many as 1,500 auditions take place nationwide across 36 districts and 11 regions.

Civic and Community Engagement

Lincoln Community Foundation – $10,000
Support for updates to Lincoln Vital Signs, a biennial report which provides an overview of the community’s well-being in various areas including economy, workforce, education, health, safety, and others, from data gathered from different local and national sources.


University of Nebraska Foundation, Nebraska Big Red Satellite – $20,000
Program funding to support the Big Red Satellite project.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln, E.N. Thompson Forum on World Issues – $22,699
Support from the Thompson Family Fund, established at the Cooper Foundation in 1999 by E.N. “Jack” and Katie Thompson to support the University of Nebraska programs with an emphasis on the E.N. Thompson Forum on World Issues.

Human Services

Mourning Hope Grief Center – $18,800
To support a bilingual grief counselor to provide counseling and bereavement support services to Spanish-speaking families in Lincoln.

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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