Jane Renner Hood Retires from the Cooper Foundation Board

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Lincoln, Neb. — The trustees of the Cooper Foundation have announced the retirement of long-time board member Jane Renner Hood. Jane served for 25 years, having been elected to the board in 1994. Jane was the third woman elected to the Cooper board, and the first board member who was a nonprofit executive. Jane’s perspective was important and helped the Cooper Foundation understand and become more responsive to nonprofits and their needs. With her influence we added support for organizational operational costs and important capacity building activities, and adapted our grantmaking process to provide more assistance and build closer relationships with our grantees.

Jane Hood was the Executive Director of the Nebraska Humanities Council when she joined the Cooper board and she led the organization for 23 years until 2010. In that time she tripled the organization’s budget, joined in partnership with the Smithsonian Institute to bring exhibitions to rural Nebraska, secured state appropriations for the organization, launched the Governor’s Lecture in the Humanities, revitalized the Nebraska Foundation for the Humanities, and brought the award winning Prime Time Family Reading Time program to Nebraska that has served thousands of families throughout the state. Jane was awarded the Sower Award in the Humanities in 2013.

Jane was instrumental in the creation of the Nebraska Cultural Endowment in 1998, the nation’s first and only state endowment fund that supports both arts and humanities councils. Now the private and public funds equal $21 million, and proceeds from the endowment provide about 20% of the program budgets of both Humanities Nebraska and the Nebraska Arts Council.

It is impossible to list all Jane’s contributions to our community, but a few highlights include serving on the board for the national Federation of State Humanities Councils, the boards of Doane University, Lincoln Literacy, and the Foundation for Lincoln City Libraries. She volunteers for many organizations and continues as a tireless advocate for the humanities and for the people of Nebraska.

Grants totaling $10,000 were made by the Cooper board to honor Jane’s service: $2,500 each to Doane University, Humanities Nebraska, Lincoln Literacy, and the Nebraska Cultural Endowment.

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