$216,000+ in 17 grants since 1982
The Cooper Foundation has a special relationship with the Food Bank of Lincoln. In 1981, Cooper Foundation Program Officer Peg Huff visited Second Harvest in Phoenix, Arizona. Peg was inspired by their mission of the repurposing of large quantities of “waste” food, and upon her return, she discussed it with then-president Jack Thompson. Jack pulled together others in the community interested in launching a similar endeavor in Lincoln. The Foundation hired Bob Troyer to lead the effort, and he became the Food Bank’s first director in 1982. Peg later served as president of the board of the organization.
Since its inception, it has expanded its services to provide food and supplies through a variety of innovative channels. It now annually connects people to over 10 million meals, through collaboration with agency partners, a mobile pantry program that takes food into low-income neighborhoods and rural communities, the BackPack and Food Market programs that assist more than 4,500 families per week through local schools, and the SNAP Outreach program that helps low-income Nebraskans access much-needed food benefits.
$22,000 grant to support general operations
The Asian Community and Cultural Center provides programs and services to support and empower immigrant and refugee families in Lincoln who face economic and cultural barriers to success, giving them tools to become self-sufficient, culturally literate, and stable community members. The Center also hosts cultural festivals and celebrations that bring people together to learn about, recognize, and celebrate their unique cultural and ethnic origins.
Clients represent the largest and most rapidly growing immigrant and refugee populations in Lincoln, including Vietnamese, Karen (Burmese), and Sudanese families as well as others (15 languages are spoken at the Center). Programs and services include weekly women’s groups, senior computer classes, services and weekly groups for youth and seniors, translation and interpretation services, tax preparation assistance, and support regarding immigration documents. The Asian Center also provides support with health care issues, including assistance in making doctor’s appointments and visits, domestic violence counseling and guidance, and employment assistance.
$10,000 grant in support of the Economic Justice Program
The Economic Justice Program works to improve the financial security and quality of life for low-income working families, through access to education and skills training, enhanced job quality, expanded access to SNAP (food stamps), better student protections at for-profit educational institutions, and reform for the payday loan industry. They use a variety of strategies to create systemic change, including advocacy, coordination with community partners, and legal and policy analysis.