Frequently Asked Questions


We accept applications only from non-profit organizations that have contacted us, been asked to apply, are located in Nebraska and classified as tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) and public charities under section 509(a)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code. We also fund units of government, public universities, and K-12 schools.

We do not fund individuals; businesses; building construction or renovation; health organizations or issues; churches; religious organizations or issues; travel; memberships; endowments; non-501(c)(3) organizations; 509(a)(3) supporting organizations; fiscal agents; private foundations; operational deficits; general fund drives/annual appeals; event sponsorships.

Yes, you should speak with a program officer to confirm eligibility to apply and discuss the proposed project prior to submitting an application. Cooper Foundation does not accept unsolicited applications. Contact us at or 402-476-7571 with information about the organization, project, and its budget. If your request fits our funding priorities you’ll be invited to complete a Letter of Inquiry (LOI) form.

Funding Priorities

The Cooper Foundation considers proposals in the following Program Areas: Arts, Community Improvement, Education, the Environment, Human Services and the Humanities.

We accept applications for program and general operating support, and consider requests for technology, staff positions, advocacy, and capacity building.

The highest priority is for organizations based in and serving Lincoln and Lancaster County. Requests from outside this area must serve a regional or statewide area and meet the foundation’s funding priorities. We do not fund organizations outside Nebraska.

Application Process

We have a two-stage process in our online application – a Letter of Inquiry (LOI) form and a full Application Form. Applicants are notified shortly after the LOI deadline if their request has or has not moved forward for a full Application and will be notified of the Application deadline (typically 3-4 weeks after notification).

January 15March
April 1June
July 1September
October 1December

To learn more about the information required in the forms, and our funding considerations, click on the following PDFs to view and print.

We review applications with two overall questions in mind: (1) Are the programs, services, and mission important to the community? (2) Does the organization have the operational and governance capacity to fulfill its mission? Click here to view Funding Considerations.

Foundation staff review the application materials before sending them to our Board of Trustees, which makes grant decisions at quarterly meetings, (March, May, September and December).

No. Click here to view our current and past grant awards to see our typical grant types and amounts.

Grant amounts depend on many factors including the potential for impact, the budget, the level of secured and needed funding, the size of the request, past grants to similar projects, and the nature of the project/program.

If any information is missing from your application or if we have additional questions regarding your application, a program officer will call or email the person specified on your application. Applicants are encouraged to contact the foundation after the application is submitted if they have substantial updates or changes to their proposal.

We ask that you make the best effort possible to submit your application by the deadlines noted. If you cannot meet a deadline contact the foundation.

Yes. Staff and/or trustees may, at their discretion conduct a site visit to gain additional information about the program or project proposal.

There is no specific percentage of grants that we award to first time applicants, but we are always interested in strong proposals from new organizations, particularly those that have more limited access to resources.

We very rarely make multi-year commitments. Organizations may apply in consecutive years, but we are unable to provide ongoing funding for any organization or program. Consecutive annual requests are limited to two or three years, depending on the program and need.

Our Trustees can approve, decline, or defer a grant request. An application is deferred when additional information is required from the applicant in order to make a decision.

Organizations may only have one active grant at a time. (This restriction may be waived for organizations applying as part of a collaborative grant request.) Organizations may not reapply during the active grant term or prior to submission of a final report.

Applicants whose requests are denied must wait 12 months to reapply.

Once an organization is selected for funding, the terms of the grant agreement include meeting the stated objectives in your original proposal. Typical requirements include submitting a signed grant agreement and completing a final year-end report.

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