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ConneCting our Community

Spiritofomaha.Com

the DiVerSity iSSue 2020


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in this ISSUE

connecting our community

special diversity section

8

CODE commitment to opportunity, diversity and equity

28

featured stories

28

STRATEGICALLY ALIGNED omaha community foundation

connecting to our commitment

share omaha

32

connecting to our alliances

“FLY, KALI, FLY!” remembering kali baker

THE BIG connection

covid-19 special part 3 of 4

36

CARRYING ON IN OUR CRISIS area nonprofits need our support as they continue to support us

spotlighting our partners

34 35

CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL & MEDICAL CENTER

departments/columns

24

connecting to our covid response

BOYS TOWN

24

36

connecting to our character

GAME CHANGERS • CARMEN TAPIO presented by planitinc.

44

SHARE OMAHA lifting up do-gooders

46

OMAHA COMMUNITY FOUNDATION omaha giving

47

metroSPIRIT

8

with mary vandenack

48

VW LAW planning matters

49

SWARTZBAUGH, FARBER & ASSOC. your money

50

STEPHANIE VONDRAK impact!

connecting to our diversity

events

53

SCENE

connecting to our heroes

highlights from recent charity & cultural events

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CReDiTS

metromagazine is wholly owned and operated by the publisher and is not affiliated with any other publication, operating solely on subscription and advertising revenues and the good will of the agencies and charities we support; all of which are very important to the continuing growth and quality of this publication. Thank you to all who support this endeavor. OFFICE/SALES

402.932.3522 | sales@Spiritofomaha.com

THe DiVeRSiTY iSSUe 2020 • Vol. 32 no. 5 Press releases and other editorial information may be sent to: P.o. Box 241611, omaHa, ne 68124 or e-mailed to: editor@Spiritofomaha.com Publisher/Editor-in-Chief andrea l. “anDee” Hoig

Creative Collaboration elissa Joy Debra S. Kaplan

Editor/Creative Director Rob Killmer

ConneCT@Spiritofomaha.com

Special Thanks Printco graphics

MAKE THE CONNECTION!

“We have generations of individuals that have passion, and generations that have need. When those two meet, great relationships occur. metroMAGAZINE and The Giving Guide & Event Book consistently help connect and foster those relationships.” ~ NATE DODGE PReSiDenT, nP DoDge ComPanY

Contents of this magazine are copyrighted by alH Publications, inc. in their entirety. no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored, or transmitted in any form or by any means - electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise - without prior written consent of the publisher. ©Copyright 1990 – 2020 alH Publications, inc. all rights reserved.

omaha Community Foundation Jim Scholz Kara Schweiss

Community Engagement

MISSION STATEMENT alH Publications exists to inform, inspire and connect those who give back to the community through volunteerism and philanthropy, recognizing the ongoing efforts of area businesses, organizations and individuals who better our community.

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402.932.3522 • CONNECT@SpiritofOmaha.com

SHaRe omaha Swartzbaugh-Farber & associates Stephanie Vondrak D.D.S. VW law m

Create more with Gratitude in 2021!

ichael J. Weaver, J.D.

with ANDEE Hoig podcast

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words FROM MY HEART

mmagazine • LeTTeR fRom THe pUbLiSHeR

CREATING MORE WITH

gratitude

As the holiday season approaches it is often a time when we reflect on what has happened during the year. Well, this year has certainly been unlike any year before. 2019 was a really rough year for me. Both of my parents passed away. Letting go of both of them not physically being here was hard. I leaped into 2020 with new enthusiasm, a vision for what I wanted to create and accomplish both personally and professionally. Everything changed in March as our community started to feel the impact of COVID-19. Funny how I remember where I was when I first got wind of what was happening. On Friday, March 13th, I was leaving Whole Foods and someone I knew stopped me and said, “Did you hear? Ohio just shut down all of their restaurants.” I remember standing there in disbelief: What? How can that happen? What is going on? Well, by Monday, March 16th, the Omaha metro was pretty much shut down. And so a new way of life had begun. I think the first couple of weeks I was in shock. We all were. We were trying to understand what exactly COVID-19 is: What does it mean to our families, our friends, our businesses, our community and the world? This was the first time in my lifetime when something impacted the entire planet. It wasn’t isolated to a certain country or region; it had a global impact.

anDRea L. Hoig ahoig@Spiritofomaha.com

Once I got over the shock, I started to create. This pandemic was not going to take me down. I have experienced a lot of challenges in my life—nothing quite like this—but many where I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it out alive. I did, and I was determined this would be no different.

Back to creating… Gratitude creates a blank slate on which to create. That is where I live, and I AM excited for the future. Now is the time to create something new. Whether it be personally or professionally or both—now is the time. What are you grateful for?

I am grateful, so very grateful. Gratitude carries the day. Gratitude lifts you up. Gratitude creates so much more—so much more of everything!

With gratitude to all of you, ~ Andee

We are creators. We all are creating all the time. We are creating great things in our lives and not so great things by the choices we make. We create by choice. We choose what we think, what we do, what we watch on TV or listen to. We choose how we respond to what is going on around us and that creates the reality we live in. Creating from a space of gratitude changes everything. Is it possible to be grateful during a pandemic? Yes, it is. My life is forever changed. I see so much more beauty in the world. I see so much caring, so much compassion. I see so many possibilities!Living in a space of gratitude allows me to see those things. Being angry, afraid and resentful only allows me to see the darkness. Now, I am not saying that I have not experienced any of those things. Those emotions certainly come and go, but they are the exception.

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A Constant in a World of Change

2020 LFS RALLY FOR KIDS -SUSAN LEWIS, BOARD OF DIRECTORS LFS -BASKETBALL SHOT.JPG 2020 LFS RALLY FOR KIDS-ERICCROUCH WITH GUESTS.JPG 2020 LFS RALLY FOR KIDS -MAGGI THORNE, NINJA WARRIOR AND KRIS COVI, EMCEE.JPG 2020 LFS RALLY FOR KIDS - PANEL DISCUSSION WITH ALL 5 NE ATHLETES, WITH KRIS COVI EMCEE.JPG 2020 LFS RALLY FOR KIDS -TOMMIE FRAZIER, ERIC A BENEFIT FOR THE METHODIST JENNIE EDMUNDSON HOSPITAL CANCER CENTER CHARITABLE PATIENT CARE FUND. CROUCH, JOHNNY RODGERS, STACY MARTIN (CEO AND PRESIDENT LFS), BRENDA AND NIC SMITH, MIKE ROZIER, MAGGI THORNE.JPG 2020 LFS RALLY FOR KIDS CROWD PIC.JPG 2020 LFS RALLY FOR KIDS -BRENDA SMITH, CALLI HITE, TINA, AND NIC SMITH.JPG During Spirit of Courage 2020, $75,000 was raised! One hundred percent of those dollars have been donated 2020 LFS RALLY 4 KIDS- CHIP JAMES, JOHNNY RODGERS, to the Spirit of Courage Cancer Center Charitable Patient Care Fund, providing assistance to uninsured and TOMMIE FRAZIER, MIKE ROZIER, ERIC CROUCH.JPEG underinsured patients help covering expenses associated with diagnosis and treatment of cancer. 2020 RALLY 4 KIDS- CHIPwho JAMES need AND SIGNED This fund assists patients by paying for medications, treatments, and deductibles, as well as JERSEYS.JPEG

We Appreciate You!

everyday living expenses such as groceries, rent and gas. Honoring 6O Past Spirit of Courage Recipients

SILVER SPONSOR

Thankful to our Sponsors for their show of support

Appreciative of UIFcommitment from our Community

BRONZE SPONSORS

CRYSTAL SPONSORS

Thank You!

(712) 396-6040 jehfoundation.org


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code: THE RIGHT THING TO DO

greater omaha chamber ON JUNE 3, THE GREATER OMAHA CHAMBER HOSTED NEARLY 150

OMAHA ORGANIZATIONAL LEADERS WITH THE GOAL OF IDENTIFYING

COLLECTIVE ACTION FOR DIVERSE, EQUITABLE AND INCLUSIVE

WORKPLACES AND COMMUNITIES. THE DISCUSSION GENERATED THE

FOLLOWING STATEMENT ON THEIR COMMITMENT TO OPPORTUNITY, DIVERSITY AND EQUITY (CODE):

As part of our commitment to opportunity, diversity, and equity, CEOs for CODE stands united against racism. Together we commit to investing in substantive change in our organizations and communities to address racial inequities and social justice. We believe everyone in Omaha has the right to earn a living with equal access, opportunity and share of our regional economic prosperity.

We will support, lift up, collaborate with and fund nonprofit agencies who work tirelessly in marginalized communities. We will use our influence and position to amplify unheard voices and endorse policies that lead to racial justice.

We will improve the employment, training, advancement, support To propel the group forward, we’ve and success of people of color in identified the following actions as our workforces. our responsibility in leading equitable changes which will uplift We will continue the conversation the individuals in our community by engaging in ongoing CEOs for CODE meetings to collectively who have been left vulnerable by address the issues of racism, historic and systemic barriers. oppression and bias in our organizations and communities. We will educate ourselves and disseminate the history of systemic racism in Omaha and the Change is possible and we are barriers it continues to present capable, but it is going to take all today. of us. The following organizations are showing up to do our part. We will create opportunities to listen to those affected and marginalized by these barriers to We Don’t Coast. We listen. We care. We do better. learn how we can help.

CODE Commitment to Opportunity, Diversity and Equity greater omaha chamber • 8

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story by KARA SCHWEISS • photos courtesy of GREATER OMAHA CHAMBER and LEARNING COMMUNITIES OF DOUGLAS AND SARPY COUNTIES

• mmagazine

Through an ongoing initiative, omaha leaders are making a commitment to fostering change that will make workplaces and the community more diverse, inclusive and equitable.

Chamber President and CEO David favorable opinion of the City of Brown said. Omaha, or were five to six times less likely to share those sentiments.” “CODE is a direct response to the Omaha 2040 initiative that A follow-up survey identified described what Omaha’s success multiple concerns including lack of could be 20 years from now, and professional development and one of the key components is that training opportunities, lack of Omaha is recognized as one of the coaching and mentoring, work most inclusive communities in the environments that were not country,” he explained. “CODE is welcoming for minorities, lack of our vehicle to make that happen…I people of color in leadership wouldn’t say we were prescient, but “Our moral responsibility to treat positions, compensation not being we had recognized that it was an people with dignity and respect. commensurate with credentials, issue that needed to be dealt with That’s the most important reason and we were lucky that we had a lot and a general lack of diversity and why any person or organization inclusion within the work should engage; it’s the humanity of it in place already.” environment. all. We’ve heard about the business Thomas H. Warren, Sr., Urban case and it is true,” said Chamber League of Nebraska president and “The establishment of the CODE Senior Director of Community initiative provides the framework to CEO, said a recent study strongly Diversity and Inclusion Bianca Harley. “When you have diverse and showed a need for the community to assess our current environment and do better when it comes to diversity, to implement the changes that are inclusive company cultures, you’re equity and inclusion (DEI). going to see more engagement, necessary to assist our corporations higher employee satisfaction and diversify their workforce,” Warren retention rates, more innovation in “In 2017, the Urban League of said. Nebraska partnered with the products and services, better Omaha Chamber of Commerce to While disappointing feedback from decision-making and different administer a survey of young perspectives, and creativity. Yes, this and other studies doesn’t paint there are strong business outcomes professionals (YPs). It was as a Omaha in a particularly favorable associated with diversity, equity and result of the survey findings that light, it is galvanizing, Harley said. inclusion, but I think the single most the CODE initiative was established important thing is the humanity of it. and ultimately, Bianca Harley was hired as the director,” he said. “The “It’s not enough to have the data; we We have the opportunity to results of the survey revealed that, have to do something about it…we contribute to creating a more overall, 80 percent of the YPs would need to do something more equitable and inclusive society and recommend the city of Omaha as a intentional and more aggressive that is reason enough.” favorable place to live, work or play. about solving the issue.” Recent events simply accelerated the However, when we disaggregated a hard look The June conference wasn’t the the data by race, we discovered that urgency, she added. “There is and has always been a need for Chamber’s first look at opportunity, only 15 percent of the Africancontinued inclusion, diversity and equity, American respondents had a immediate action.”

It wasn’t an easy conversation, participants reported. But it was a timely one that included discussion of troubling recent events. And in the end, the most important outcome is a catalyst for taking action and creating resources to help workplaces and the community get there. Because, as so many of the participants said, “It’s the right thing to do.”

the right thing to do

CODE: COMMITMENT TO OPPORTUNITY, DIVERSITY AND EQUITY


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CODE: COMMITMENT TO OPPORTUNITY,

code: THE RIGHT THING TO DO

Opportunity, diversity, equity and inclusion are essential to an organization’s success. Diversity creates an environment that is inclusive of every individual’s differences and enables all associates to reach for the many opportunities available to them as they grow and develop in their career. The result is increased creativity and innovation, improved problem-solving, increased associate engagement and retention, and a better understanding of our customers and markets. ~ STEFANIE CHRISTENSEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF HUMAN RESOURCES, WERNER ENTERPRISES

Our future depends on how we come together to address longstanding disparities. In the Learning Community of Douglas and Sarpy Counties, steady progress comes from a twogeneration approach. That means we work as partners with families to improve educational outcomes. Why does that matter to local businesses? Our research tells us that a child’s success in school is impacted by a family’s economic security.

Profound inequities now impact classrooms in a majority of our school districts. In the Learning Community, we see positive trends in closing the opportunity gap, but it will take a communitywide effort. With better access to opportunity, more children and families will thrive in life, learning and work. The truth is, the strength of our future workforce and quality of life depends on it.

~ DR. BRADLEY EKWEREKWU, CEO, LEARNING COMMUNITY OF DOUGLAS AND SARPY COUNTIES

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DIVERSITY AND EQUITY

continued

• mmagazine

greater omaha chamber

ceos for code

what makes a company strong.” Bringing in a third-party facilitator to talk about DEI kept his company leadership on the same side of the “If the CEO-level is not supporting DEI “What we’re recognizing now is that process as everyone else in the organizations are no longer saying this organization, Maass said. “I would initiatives in a formal, measurable, is optional or this is extracurricular— recommend it to others. It was a accountable way, then it typically this is an imperative part of how we do positive introduction.” doesn’t catch on and start moving business,” Harley said. “Once you forward in your organization,” he explained, adding that it’s not enough know better, you do better.” The company has promoted from to simply say the company strives for within a chief diversity officer. In Signer Paul Maass, CEO of The DEI; accountability is key. “That addition, it has formed a voluntary doesn’t happen without leadership at Scoular Company, said change isn’t diversity and inclusion council made simple—or easy—for large the top saying this is going to be up of 10 employees across the company organizations. important enough to measure it… plus the diversity officer and executive CEOs for CODE has become a sponsors. remarkable group that wants to come “We have to intentionally focus to make together and learn from best practices sure our company culture makes it a and how they can lead that initiative in great place to work for everybody,” he “They have different experiences, are very passionate about it, and see the said. “If we’re not inclusive, we won’t their companies.” opportunity—and I’d say they are grow over time…Diversity can show really respected,” Maass said. “They itself in many, many different ways. CEOs for CODE employers pledge have a more powerful voice than I do.” Race, ethnicity and gender are often three basic actions: creating a more visible forms of diversity, and so comprehensive DEI strategy, hiring we certainly focus there, but we believe Not everyone embraces diversity someone to lead the work, and within a company, however. Some participating in an assessment. Brown embracing a broader definition of eventually come around, but others diversity including differences in and Harley said they’re seeing backgrounds and lived experiences is never do, he said. movement. Signing the CEOs for CODE statement “We had a goal of 100 CEOs over five is a good way to launch or invigorate a years signing the pledge. We are nearing 90,” Brown said. company initiative, Brown said.

continued

The University of Nebraska was founded on principles of access and opportunity, and we will not reach our full potential unless all voices are welcomed and heard. The same goes for the State of Nebraska. If we want to achieve our goals for growth, if we want to meet the urgent needs of our workforce and economy, we need to make sure everyone has an equitable opportunity to succeed, especially those who have been historically excluded or underrepresented. We have work ahead, but the results will be worthwhile.

All of our campuses are working hard to improve diversity among our student body and faculty ranks, and we are taking meaningful steps to open the doors of higher education to students from all backgrounds. For example, our new Nebraska Promise program, which covers full tuition for low- and middle-income Nebraskans, has exceeded our initial projections and is driving significant growth among first-generation students attending the University. We also plan regular training and system-wide surveys so that we’re in a mindset of continual assessment and improvement. We owe our 51,000 students nothing less.

~ TED CARTER, PRESIDENT, UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA SYSTEM

the right thing to do

CODE: COMMITMENT TO OPPORTUNITY, DIVERSITY AND EQUITY


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CODE: COMMITMENT TO OPPORTUNITY,

code: THE RIGHT THING TO DO

In order to collaborate, individuals need to feel included and have a voice and be heard. We provide all associates regular opportunities to connect with our executive team through roundtable conversations.

We continually look for ways to help our associates enhance their skills and build confidence. For example, based on our associates’ feedback, we developed a Career Advancement 101 program to ‘level the playing field’ to give opportunities to advance their careers. We also provide ongoing educational and awareness opportunities to not only celebrate but include perspectives related to race, gender, sexual orientation, age, disabilities, and our veterans.

WoodmenLife implemented an interactive four-part D&I learning series. It starts with our leaders, and then will be shared with all associates, to ensure we all have the same understanding of expectations around how we treat each other and how to address any issues that may arise. One session is focused on understanding unconscious bias, which we think is the foundation of building a truly inclusive organization.

~ PAT DEES, PRESIDENT & CEO, WOODMENLIFE

It’s time to bring about equitable opportunity for people, minorities and groups that have been historically disenfranchised and left behind. It’s time we really focus on providing equitable access allowing more people to have choice, influence and impact in our community and in our society. We must address inequities of the past and present, and people are really thinking about how to make meaningful change happen. They want to know the role they can play. A lot of the conversations in Omaha are now around listening, learning, understanding, and taking action. This is the time to accelerate the rate of change by being more equitable and inclusive in business by implementing supplier diversity programs and doing business with minority-owned businesses, being more inclusive and equitable in the C-suite and boards and throughout our society in education, healthcare, housing, et cetera.

My best advice is to understand that we all do not have the same experience and recognize how many of us experience life, opportunity and acceptance is sometimes based on the color of our skin. While we may have differences, we have a significant commonality and that is we are a part of one humanity. If we keep that in mind, treat others like we would like to be treated and put action behind our words and desire change can happen. It starts with each one of us and we must find ways as individuals, businesses, a community, organizations and government to do our part. ~ CARMEN TAPIO, PRESIDENT AND CEO, NORTH END TELESERVICES greater omaha chamber • 12

“They intentionally make changes or opt out and find another organization that’s a better fit. Frankly, from a philosophical perspective I’m okay with it,” he said. “It sounds kind of harsh, but I think there is more compassion in that kind of philosophy than people think.” Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) President and CEO Tim Burke said organizations should strive to look like the communities they serve. “My customers are diverse, and we want to reflect our customer base,” he said. “When you have an organization that is more diverse and more inclusive, it’s good for business. It’s better for employees. As we’ve begun to engage around this topic within our organization, we’ve seen our Best Places to Work survey results continually improve for the last five years. I really believe it has to do with some of the work we’re doing around diversity, equity and inclusion.” He added: “I think we have to work at this because of the long historical, institutional and systemic biases across the country that we live in. That necessarily isn’t our fault as a leadership team today, but we do have an accountability and responsibility to make a difference in that.” When Burke started at OPPD in 1997, the management team was made up exclusively of Caucasian males over 35. Now it’s a mix of men and women of varying backgrounds.

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DIVERSITY AND EQUITY “I can tell you that over that transition, most of that which occurred in the last five years, we have really seen a change in how we think and how we look at decisions and how we engage in changes around the organization,” he said. Burke participated in the company’s first “White men as full diversity partner” group last fall. The selfreflection was uncomfortable but enlightening for the participants, he said.

• mmagazine

Diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace are essential to building positive environments. We spend most of our day at work, so this is the space where culture is most frequently shared, reinforced and promoted. Naturally, this is also the best space for culture to be changed, which will in turn lead to spillover benefits for the community as a whole.

Sometimes people/organizations want to make a culture change but aren’t sure where to start. The CODE initiative is valuable because it provides a starting point for companies and individuals to make this shift within a network of support here in Omaha.

We firmly believe that diversity, equity and inclusion work is never done. And it’s important to recognize that. As individuals and as a society we are constantly evolving, and this reveals areas of silence and marginalization that require our support. ~ MAGGIE WOOD, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, INCLUSIVE COMMUNITIES

What does ‘doing better’ look like? ‘Doing better’ potentially can be continuing to foster a mindset of curiosity amongst the diverse populations. It can be for people to continue to become more comfortable with being uncomfortable—and not just for the person who’s had on rose-colored glasses and viewed the world from privilege, and all of a sudden poverty and race relations and gender discrimination is thrown in their face. It’s being comfortable saying, ‘I don’t know much about this, so I’m going to be curious and educate myself to gain a broader perspective.’

“Out of it has come some amazing experiences for individuals, to have them think about their role and their accountability and responsibility as a leader much differently than before,” he said. “It’s not a conversation that typically shows up with CEOs. We may talk about tech talent, we may talk about taxes in the business community, we may talk about services—but this is one that never gets the light of day. And we’re now having that conversation.” Some individuals have to face hard truths when examining their own biases and past behaviors, Burke said. “It becomes difficult for us to be vulnerable and share, and I think sometimes that’s met with resistance,” he said. “But this is about inclusion. We have to be respectful; we have to understand. We are going to treat people well in the OPPD family.”

continued

the right thing to do

continued

greater omaha chamber

It’s one thing to talk a big game; it’s another thing to actually do something with this information, to learn about different cultures and subset groups. I see a lot of the energy around diversity and inclusion being around this idea that we’re going to educate White people on the Black experience or the Latino experience and make sure they understand the nuances of the culture and such. I get it: we need to make sure we educate everyone, White folks particularly if they live in a bubble. However, I don’t see adequate conversation and action on the other side of the coin—it’s not just asking people to come down to the level of limited resources, limited education, limited experience; how do we provide those things to up-andcomers? You don’t have to lose your identity, but just like we’re asking people to stretch a little bit and to be more open-minded and to embrace diverse cultures, we need to be more intentional about establishing and increasing programs, initiatives, partnerships and mentorships educating on ‘mainstream’ American White male culture where young people or young professionals who don’t have that experience base don’t miss opportunities because of it.

~ ALBERT VARAS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, LATINO CENTER OF THE MIDLANDS

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CODE: COMMITMENT TO OPPORTUNITY,

code: THE RIGHT THING TO DO

Once you know better, you do better.

~ BIANCA HARLEY, SENIOR DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION, GREATER OMAHA CHAMBER

Engineering is a historically homogenous sector, said Lamp Rynearson CEO and President Nancy Pridal, so her company has strived for years to foster greater organizational diversity and inclusion. “The idea of diversity and inclusion aligns with our core values of employee development and integrity and advancing our profession. It’s not typically a diverse profession, and if we don’t have different perspectives at the table we’re not going to be innovative and creative,” she said. “We have to think of the community as a whole, and not only does that send a strong signal to our employees, it also makes us look inward and outward on what it is that we’re going to do to make this commitment to address diversity and inclusivity.” It’s easy to make the business case, she said. “If we’re open and welcoming in our organization, we’re going to attract the best talent. Being equitable really is about building talent and as a professional services organization, we are our talent.” While it’s important to understand the historical factors that makes an organization or community fall short when it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion, it’s more important to move forward, she said. “You have to start where you’re at. You can hope you’re in a different spot, but that doesn’t have real impact. It’s hard to really be honest about where you’re at. That takes personal reflection,” she said. Acknowledging that change takes time, her company nevertheless recognized the importance of moving forward in ways that are accessible, like changing the language of the employee manual to gender-neutral, fostering an internship program that deliberately recruits from diverse communities, and even doing “blind” selection (removing names) when reviewing job candidates, Pridal said. And they’re continuously assessing and asking questions, she added. “How can we bring

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greater omaha chamber

If not now, when? If not us, who?

~ TIM BURKE, PRESIDENT AND CEO, OPPD

diversity in and have immediate impact? And “However, we haven’t realized some of the outcomes we hoped to achieve, including how do we raise the awareness and raise the willingness to talk about it without any qualms?” developing a leadership team that better reflects the makeup of the customers and James Blackledge, Mutual of Omaha’s chairman communities we serve,” he said. “It’s easy to and CEO, said businesses must take a leadership have good intentions, but much harder to role in promoting equity and opportunity in the realize meaningful outcomes. That’s where we’re focusing our efforts.” community.

the right time

solve them as a community,” Harley said. “There’s no quick fix to this. And when I say that, it’s not an excuse to take your time. There are certainly immediate actions we can take and there is an urgency that is there around this critical moment.” Collaboration is key, she added.

“If you want to go fast, you go alone. If you “Businesses are in a unique position to wield want to go far, you go together,” she said. “I economic influence and it’s incumbent upon us The Chamber launched the CODE initiative encourage everyone to continue to engage or to use that influence to advance racial equity with the full confidence that a more diverse, to get started in engaging in this process of and social justice,” he said. “Not only is it the inclusive and equitable community is what we call reconciliation, healing and right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do. achievable, Brown said. ultimately changing what we’d like to see in Diverse perspectives and inclusive cultures lead the world and in Omaha.” to innovative and high-performing “Omaha is this very unique place that has a organizations.” remarkable willingness of leaders to stand up and make a difference…We’re of a size where Company leadership has to be willing to start we can do things that larger markets can’t the conversation even when it’s regarding fathom,” he explained. “The number in matters that can be divisive, he said. poverty, undereducated, underemployed and underserved: These are numbers that are not “In the past, companies often remained neutral as staggering as might be in a bigger on sensitive issues to avoid alienating employees metropolis. You can actually see that they are and customers. But I think there is a growing solvable; that’s something you can’t say about realization that if you’re not part of the solution, a lot of places.” you may be complicit in the problem,” he said. “We are offering our managers and associates “It’s the right time for the community,” Burke additional resources and training to help said. “It’s ‘If not now, when? If not us, who?’ support those conversations. It’s important to us The Chamber and the organizations that we don’t appear to condone the status quo partnering with the Chamber are doing by remaining silent.” amazing things. There is hope.” He added: “I’ve started by reaching out to “Like every community, Omaha has room to diverse groups and individuals, both inside and improve when it comes to creating equal outside our organization. By listening to and opportunity for all. CODE brings our learning from their valuable perspectives, I’ve business community together in an been able to look in the mirror, commit to unprecedented way to collaborate and become part of the solution, and begin working confront racism and engage in a coordinated with our leadership team and community effort to overcome the challenges that exist leaders to formulate new strategies and actions within our community,” Blackledge said. to address the issues.” “Together we can accomplish so much more than any one organization could on its own.” Mutual has had a strong diversity and inclusion program for years and Blackledge said he’s seen “We have the research now and light has been it build a better culture. shed on the disparities. Now is the time to the right thing to do

CODE: COMMITMENT TO OPPORTUNITY, DIVERSITY AND EQUITY

read the fuLL articLe onLine at metromagazine’s spiritofomaha.com


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CREATING JOBS • CHANGING LIVES • mmagazine

enterprising • EQUITY & DIVERSITY

NET’S PEOPLE-CENTRIC APPROACH FOCUSES ON EMPLOYEE WELL-BEING “IN EVERYTHING NORTH END TELESERVICES DOES,WE AIM TO CREATE AN ENVIRONMENT THAT IS INCLUSIVE AND DIVERSE, NO MATTER WHAT WALK OF LIFE A PERSON COMES FROM. THIS PHILOSOPHY HAS HELPED US FULFILL OUR MISSION OF CREATING JOBS AND CHANGING LIVES OVER THE PAST FIVE YEARS. NO MATTER YOUR RACE, GENDER EXPRESSION, LIFESTYLE, ETC., NORTH END HAS A PLACE FOR YOU.”

~ CHRIS PHILLIPS SENIOR DIRECTOR, BUSINESS OPERATIONS

NORTH END TELESERVICES LLC the culture of North end teleservices is informed by our mission: to create jobs and change lives. this people-centric approach inspires us to focus on the well-being of our employees. When they excel, our clients succeed, and our communities thrive. We embody this culture by getting to know every employee,

working to understand motivations, celebrating successes, and advocating for their continued growth through apprenticeship opportunities, upskilling, cross-training, internal promotions and comprehensive benefits. We seek and value people with diverse perspectives. a huge part of being inclusive is understanding everyone is different, and those differences make us better. many of our team members don’t come from “traditional” corporate work backgrounds. instead of trying to make them conform to an inflexible idea of what employees should be, we listen and work with them to create individual pathways for success. We view our people as our greatest asset. North end teleservices encourages all of our team members to not only excel and thrive at work but in their communities. from participating in the Greater omaha chamber’s commitment to opportunity diversity and

equity (code) employer coalition to partnering with organizations like avenue scholars, metropolitan community college, heartland 2050 and more, we continue and expand the inclusive conversation. it’s a commitment to not only our people, but also our community. diverse, equitable and inclusive companies have been proven to attract top talent, improve customer and employee satisfaction, stay innovative through times of change and continually improve their financial performance. there is a shift from dei being the “nice thing to do” to becoming more of a business imperative.

NoRTHENdTElESERvIcES.com • (402) 934-3624

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THE MOST • VALUABLE • ASSET

• mmagazine

enterprising • EQUITY & DIVERSITY

ALL MAKES PRIZES DIVERSITY AND CONTRIBUTIONS OF TEAM MEMBERS “WE BELIEVE THE COLLECTIVE SUM OF INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES, LIFE EXPERIENCES, KNOWLEDGE, INVENTIVENESS, INNOVATION AND SELF-EXPRESSION ARE A SIGNIFICANT PART OF COMPANY CULTURE, REPUTATION AND ACHIEVEMENT AND SHOULD BE CELEBRATED… SUPPORTING DIVERSITY, EQUALITY AND INCLUSION IS A NO-BRAINER. IT’S SIMPLY TREATING EVERYONE FAIRLY: YOUR TEAM MEMBERS, CLIENTS, AND THE PUBLIC.”

~ JEFF KAVICH PRESIDENT/CEO JEFF KAVICH AND AMEE ZETZMAN

ALL MAKES OFFICE EQUIPMENT all makes office equipmeNt is a 102-year-old family-owned and operated commercial furniture and technology business, headquartered at the corner of 25th and farnam; and has four branch locations: lincoln, columbus, kearney, and des moines, iowa. coowned by siblings Jeff kavich and amee Zetzman, the company employs more 75 individuals.

of the seven executive leaders in the company, four are women. all makes recently implemented policy which shows the company’s ongoing commitment to fostering, cultivating and preserving a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion—recognizing that all makes’ team members are the company’s most valuable asset. We believe the collective sum of individual differences, life experiences, knowledge, inventiveness, innovation and selfexpression are a significant part of company culture, reputation and achievement and should be celebrated. diversity, equity and inclusion are important topics both internally and externally. it’s changing the landscape of how companies interact with one another and is a differentiator when determining which organizations to do business with.

the company is committed to being a good community steward and doing the right thing. Just this summer, after many area school districts announced remote learning plans for students, all makes offered student desk and chair options starting at just $5. this helped many families who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to afford it. there were lines wrapped around the building. We were able to help more than 150 families in the omaha metro area. supporting diversity, equality and inclusion is a no-brainer. it’s simply treating everyone fairly: your team members, clients, and the public. at all makes, we pride ourselves on doing the right thing. supporting dei initiatives internally and externally is vital to the sustainability of any business; but for ours, doing the right thing is how all makes has made it four generations and 102 years and counting.

WWW.AllmAKES.com • 402-341-2413

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PEOPLE • COME • FIRST

• mmagazine

enterprising • EQUITY & DIVERSITY

MANDATING BEING INCLUSIVE, EMPATHETIC, AND ACCEPTING TO ALL PEOPLE

“FOLKS WANT TO WORK ON A TEAM WHERE THEIR VOICE IS HEARD, WHERE THEY HAVE OPPORTUNITIES TO BE THEMSELVES AND WHERE THEIR WORK MAKES A REAL IMPACT. AN ENGAGED AND TRUSTED TEAM WILL PERFORM BETTER IN TERMS OF COMPANY GROWTH AND PROFITABILITY, EMPLOYEE RETENTION AND RECRUITMENT AND IN CUSTOMER SATISFACTION.” ~ PAUL FRAYND, CEO

CEO PAUL FRAYND

SUN VALLEY LANDSCAPING “our first core value at sun valley landscaping is ‘people come first,’” ceo paul fraynd said. “this mindset applies to not only the way we want to operate our business, but also how we expect all our teammates to conduct themselves outside of work. Being inclusive, empathetic, and accepting to all people is mandatory at our company.

We believe we are not only leading great landscape professionals, but great people as well.” the sun valley team strives to lead others by example in giving back to the community, treating everyone with respect, and even helping neighbors who need a hand, fraynd said. “there are many stakeholders in our business, and it is important that we do everything we can to make each of their lives just a little better from our business,” he explained. “our team knows that they have a responsibility to bring our values to life, especially when no one is watching.”    the people of sun valley landscaping can make their little corner of the world a nicer place, fraynd said, even if they can’t solve the world’s problems. “By welcoming and encouraging a wide range of life experience, demographics and backgrounds, we are able to gain a better perspective on what others go through. these wide perspectives lead to more creativity, better

decision-making and improved business results,” he said. “folks want to work on a team where their voice is heard, where they have opportunities to be themselves and where their work makes a real impact. an engaged and trusted team will perform better in terms of company growth and profitability, employee retention and recruitment and in customer satisfaction. We believe that by taking good care of our team, they will provide our clients with the best possible experience.” finding long-term employees in the laborintensive landscape industry is challenging, so providing a welcoming, safe and inclusive environment is “not only the right thing to do, but is frankly good for business,” fraynd said. “if we can build a company that looks like the community we serve, and can bring this wide range of perspectives, we will set our company up for success to grow to be the best landscape employer in omaha.”

SuN vAllEy lANdScAPINg • 5601 HARRISoN ST. • SuNvAllEyomAHA.com • (402) 932-5704

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• EVERYONE • IS A PART

• mmagazine

enterprising • EQUITY & DIVERSITY

STORM CHASERS FAMILY IS ENGAGED IN THE COMMUNITY

“COMMUNITY IS AT THE FOREFRONT OF ALL WE DO AT THE OMAHA STORM CHASERS. TO HAVE A TRULY VIBRANT COMMUNITY IT MUST BE DIVERSE. WE WORK TO EXECUTE PROGRAMS AND EVENTS, BOTH AT WERNER PARK AND IN THE METRO AREA, THAT ARE BOTH ENGAGING AND INCLUSIVE. WE CAN’T WAIT FOR 2021 AS WE MOVE FORWARD TO THE NEXT DECADE.” ~ MARTIE CORDARO, PRESIDENT

OMAHA STORM CHASERS the omaha storm chasers are committed to supporting diversity, equity and inclusion in the omaha and minor league Baseball communities. through programs like our Jackie robinson scholarship, our copa nights celebrating the hispanic and latino communities and pride Night, we work to celebrate all of our fans,

players and staff members. staying engaged in the community—through partnerships like sponsoring a police activity for community engagement (pace) youth baseball team in south omaha, to participating in the Greater omaha chamber of commerce’s commitment to opportunity, diversity and equity (code) employer coalition, to educational programs through a partnership with the Negro leagues Baseball museum, to serving at a soul-food potluck at a local Ymca—helps foster a diverse and inclusive environment in the greater omaha metro area. storm chasers’ president martie cordaro was also a founding member of minor league Baseball’s diversity and inclusion committee and participates annually in the fostering inclusion through education and leadership development

(field) program, which combines educational and leadership development with skill-specific training for participants to excel in the sports industry. supporting diversity, equity and inclusion is crucial to fostering a fun and family-friendly environment at Werner park, where we want everyone—whether it be our gameday and fulltime staff members, fans, sponsors or players—to feel like they are truly a part of our chasers family.

omAHA SToRm cHASERS • 12356 BAllPARK WAy, PAPIllIoN, NE 68046 • (402) 738-5100 • mIlB.com/omAHA

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game CHANGERS

• prEsENTEd by

With a ‘say yes’ approach and a willingness to learn, Carmen Tapio has seized opportunity throughout an exceptional career that’s taken her all over the world. Today she helps others take advantage of opportunities and launch their own careers through her company, North End Teleservices.

CARMEN TAPIO 24

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sTory by KARA SCHWEISS | pHoTograpHy by JIM SCHOLZ

• mmagaziNE

IN august, North ENd tElEsErvicEs was aNNouNcEd to bE NumbEr 677 iN thE iNc. 5000 list of thE fastEst-growiNg privatE compaNiEs iN amErica. it’s aN admirablE accomplishmENt for aNy busiNEss, but amaziNg for a fivEyEar-old compaNy locatEd iN aN EcoNomically challENgEd part of thE city with oNE of thE arEa’s highEst uNEmploymENt ratEs. aNd prEsidENt aNd cEo carmEN tapio has aN EvEN biggEr visioN for thE compaNy: “NExt...thE iNc. 500!”

I APPROACH LIFE AS A journey, AND every day IS exciting TO ME.

~ CARMEN TAPIO

“my father taught me when i was in my 20s that it’s great to have a plan for your life, but it’s more important to keep a vision in your mind of what your life can be like,” she said. her company, North End teleservices, llc, of which she became sole owner in 2018, created a niche in the outsourced contact center industry and has become known for service excellence and a mission of creating jobs and changing lives. the company is not only bringing jobs to North omaha, it is creating opportunities for viable careers— meeting tapio’s vision for “improving the lives of individuals, their families and the community at large.”

visionary PRESENTS

game changers

• CARMEN TAPIO

CoNTiNUEd


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game CHANGERS

• prEsENTEd by

visionary “We consider ourselves to be a human resources company that is underscored and supported by process and technology,” she said. “Our culture is about a one-on-one relationship with our employees, knowing who they are, knowing what their lives are like to the extent that they’re willing to share that with us, and what their hopes and dreams are. And if they don’t have hopes and dreams, we want to help them develop that vision as my father taught me, and then we go about setting them on a pathway of achieving it.”

“Telecommunications Capital of the World.”

“I complied, for lack of a better term, for a while. Then I started to bring more of my own “That’s where my philosophy as a young person personality and individuality to how I showed up at the workplace. That’s when I really to say ‘yes’ to every opportunity began. If the opportunity did not present itself, I learned to started thinking about and feeling strongly ask for it,” she said. “It is a philosophy we teach about our ability to be our whole selves at work,” she said. “There was a time when the at North End Teleservices even today to encourage people to expand their knowledge dress code was a strictly-adhered-to policy and there wasn’t much individuality in the and experiences. You never know how the corporate world.” experience is going to enhance your toolbox and how it might benefit what you are doing in Her confidence continued to grow. the future.”

Saying yes to opportunity At First Data, Tapio seized the opportunity to As committed as Tapio is to Omaha, it’s learn a variety of skills and build her business surprising to find out her family—parents expertise in many disciplines. Harold and Ivy Baker have six daughters (Tapio is fifth)—is originally from the Virgin Islands. “At times, my first instinct was to think, ‘I don’t “We grew up as a military family. Guam was the know how to do this.’ My boss at the time really encouraged me and said, ‘You’re going to learn.’ last place we were stationed before being And I did learn,” she said. “I had some great stationed at SAC in Bellevue, Nebraska, in 1975,” she said. “My father retired here from the female mentors along the way. My mentors taught me about confidence and helped me Air Force.” build the foundations of my business knowledge and experience.” Tapio (then Baker) landed her first jobs as a teenager, working at Omaha’s Henry Doorly She was soon promoted. Zoo and then at a Village Inn restaurant. “I learned a lot from those early jobs including “I was very young, but I always took the work learning about service, how to interact with seriously and I have always enjoyed working people and how to sell.” with people,” she said. After graduating from high school, Tapio began her career at First Data Resources. It was during Global career Tapio said that early in her career, she a period when Omaha was home to several sometimes felt like she had to present the dozen call centers employing thousands and was becoming known as the expected professional image.

26

“There weren’t a lot of Black women in leadership in some of the organizations I worked for and often throughout my career I have been the only one,” she said. “At no point in my career did I feel like I couldn’t get through the ceiling. It was sometimes very much there but I always felt I didn’t want any ceiling that was there to be furthered by selfimposed limits.” Tapio’s career flourished. She held a variety of roles in diverse sectors developing what has become globally recognized expertise in contact center outsourcing. Tapio worked and traveled extensively throughout Europe and the United Kingdom, and also had responsibilities in Asia Pacific and Latin America. “Having a global perspective and working on a global team, you understand that Omaha, Nebraska, is not the epicenter of the world we sometimes like to think it is,” she said. “My global experiences are one of the first ways I

mmagaziNE • THE diVErsiTy issUE 2020


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• mmagaziNE

CARMEN TAPIO really saw the power of diversity and inclusion, and the benefit it brings; understanding that in our differences we really have a lot of commonalities. As we continue having conversations about diversity, equity and inclusion we have to acknowledge that we are one humanity, and I really saw it working on those global teams. It was beautiful.”

“I loved the work I was doing in that space and find it rewarding still today,” she said. In 2009, Tapio moved on. “I felt like it was time to take a break,” she said. She returned to consulting in 2010 with her Core Advantage Consulting business as a strategist for organizations from small to very large. In 2015, she was asked to help develop a business plan to bring jobs to Northeast Omaha. That project ultimately became North End Teleservices.

After years of travel, it was time to come home and “be on the ground for a while.”Tapio had maintained a house in Omaha and wanted to reconnect with friends and get back in touch “A call center made a lot of sense,” she said. “It is with her spirituality. “I had been very, very busy its own perfect ecosystems for entry-level for a long time.” positions, creating pathways into leadership and the functional disciplines it takes to run a Life is a journey business that are valuable in any industry.” She was a consultant to technology start-ups Tapio’s nephew, Chris Phillips, works alongside and at some point, a building at 120th and Blondo Streets caught Tapio’s eye as she drove her as North End Teleservices’ chief operating officer, but most of Tapio’s immediate family is by. “I said to myself, I’m going to work there in the Carolinas and the northeast U.S. now. someday,” she said. A year later she did start Tapio has become a champion of her adopted working for Carlson Hotels Worldwide with city. Her activities that support and extend the responsibility for reservation centers around efforts of North End Teleservices include the globe. She began diversity and inclusion serving on the boards and executive conversations within the hotel group which committees for the Greater Omaha Chamber eventually turned into a full-time job as the and Spark, a community development head of diversity for Carlson Hotels and then intermediary; and on the board of Lending Link, the head of responsible business for all of which combats predatory lending. She is Carlson Companies. That grew into a global council chair of the Chamber’s Commitment to strategy that included the areas of diversity, Opportunity, Diversity and Equity (CODE) ethics, community relations, and Council and co-chair of its CEOs for CODE environmental sustainability. initiative. (see article on page 8.)

“We have to see all of our communities and the lives of all people in our communities continue to improve. I am passionate about economic development and the direct impact success in business can bring to individuals, their families and the community. I believe success in business can contribute to the greater good and that a rising tide lifts all boats,” she said. “We cannot continue to leave entire groups of people and entire communities behind.” Four years ago, Tapio married for the first time; she met husband Bob Tapio through neighbors, and now has two grown stepchildren (Josh and Caity) she calls “wonderful young people.”The outdoorsy couple have two cocker spaniels and enjoy entertaining, cooking, and camping and other travels along with spending time in the garden oasis Tapio has cultivated over 20 years. “I approach life as a journey, and every day is exciting to me,” she said. Maybe it’s not according to her plans all the time, she added, but definitely with a vision for what is possible. “Looking back at life, you will have accomplished the things for which you have set and believed in a very clear vision. I can promise you that like my father promised me,” she said.

This special feature is sponsored by planitinc.

PRESENTS

game changers

• CARMEN TAPIO


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giving TRENDS

back to

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STORY bY KARA SCHWEISS | pHOTOgRapHY bY JIM SCHOLZ

back

partners in philanthropy

• mmagazine

A new partnership between two groups with a commitment to philanthropy—SHaRe Omaha and the Omaha Community Foundation—provides area supporters a convenient online source to find giving and volunteer opportunities, and makes it possible for each organization to focus on their strengths.

• OMAHA COMMUNITY FOUNDATION AND SHARE OMAHA

COnTinUeD


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giving TRENDS

strategically aligned THE Omaha COmmunity FOundatiOn (OCF) was founded in 1982 to “help good grow” and has worked with more than 2,000 fundholders since then to facilitate their philanthropic giving. Over time, donors have granted $1.8 billion to nonprofits and supported more than 3,000 local organizations. From 2013 to 2020, OCF also presented Omaha Gives, an annual one-day giving holiday that raised more than $58 million for area nonprofits. *EDITORS NOTE: See Kali Baker tribute page 32

ShaRE Omaha, a community engagement conduit launched in 2018, serves an eight-county region in nebraska and southwestern iowa, connecting community members to nonprofits so they can donate funds or material goods or volunteer for a nonprofit’s specific needs, or participate in fundraising events.

“the Omaha Community Foundation’s community initiatives have a daily expression on ShaRE Omaha: People being able to react in real time to a crisis, people being able to react in real time to a volunteer need or an issue bubbling up in the community; there’s something you can immediately do with ShaRE Omaha,” ShaRE Omaha Executive director marjorie maas said. “the Community Foundation has a finger on the pulse of issues and they are working at the macro level of what can be done to solve those communitywide issues. this partnership allows us to have that daily expression but also that pulse, and allows us to be able to focus on each other’s best strength.”

Year-round giving One big change is the end of Omaha Gives, which by all counts had an incredible run. Leaders from both nonprofits said they are confident that giving will continue to grow on the enhanced platform, with ShaRE Omaha’s focus on 365-day giving as well as giving and volunteering events including Giving tuesday on december 1 this year and do Good Week, which is concurrent with national Volunteer Week, april 18-24, in 2021.

the two philanthropy-focused organizations complement each other perfectly and their teams have always had a great working relationship and professional respect for each other. it makes sense that the Omaha Community Foundation and ShaRE Omaha have formed a partnership that will combine the yearround power and versatility of shareomaha.org with the far-reaching accessibility of Omaha Gives, allowing “For #Givingtuesday402 (Omaha metro area) and each group to continue to work together, yet focus on #Givingtuesday712 (southwestern iowa) campaigns what they do best. we have great partners in Core Bank on the Omaha side and tS Bank on the iowa side, and we are working “For ShaRE Omaha, it’s those 365 days of engaging the very closely with the business community,” maas said. community with nonprofits. For us, it’s going to allow Calling Giving tuesday a “fourth-quarter race to the us to focus more on our strategic initiative work that we finish line,” she added that ShaRE Omaha provides have started to do in different areas, our grantmaking, marketing messaging and other support tools for any our capacity-building, and even some of the most nonprofit that wants to be part of Giving tuesday, even recent things we’ve been doing with our public if they aren’t part of ShaRE Omaha. “We want to make partners,” Omaha Community Foundation CEO and sure that nonprofits feel like they are supported, heard President donna Kush said. “the timing of it worked out and excited by this campaign…we want to make well. as ShaRE Omaha has grown since its inception sure everybody feels invited to celebrate generosity in not that long ago, it’s really made a presence in the all its forms.” community that allows us to step aside and say, ‘this is a great opportunity for the community and nonprofits do Good Week will capitalize on the legacy of generosity because we’re going to move to one platform now and of Omaha Gives, maas said, along with the creativity inspired during the giving holiday’s eight years. maybe not have some confusion about where to go.’”

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“Omaha loves a spring giving season and we want that tradition to continue,” she said. “and we think that creativity is going to be seen in these other campaigns that ShaRE Omaha is going to power for the community.” although some nonprofits and community members expressed initial disappointment that Omaha Gives has ended, Kush said, people have been overwhelmingly supportive. “We prepared ourselves to have more negative responses than what we ended up hearing. We were pleasantly surprised by the reaction from people. i think they understood it, they ‘got it’ that strategically this makes a lot of sense for everybody involved,” she said. “Change is not easy, and we understand that. Even those people who were disappointed, when they understood what was happening and they’ve seen what marjorie and her team have done for the community, they understood it. it actually became an opportunity to tell them about the partnership and win them over even more.”

More options to engage ShaRE Omaha connects “everyday philanthropists” to local causes with a website platform that highlights opportunities to support local organizations in multiple ways. For example, during the floods of 2019 and during the pandemic that began in 2020, ShaRE Omaha engaged new volunteers (over 3,000 in 2020 alone) and allowed donors to provide needed material goods during critical times. ShaRE Omaha operates with the belief that every member of the Omaha/Council Bluffs metro has a gift to offer the community, each donor and volunteer is valued, and all are invited to give when, where and how they want to give, maas said. “it’s not so much what changes for the organization, it’s what changes for the people who want to support our community. it’s a shift. So rather than one large celebration on one day that’s cash-focused,

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• mmagazine

OMAHA COMMUNITY FOUNDATION AND SHARE OMAHA

“We get to see our nonprofits flex the muscle of our cash donation ability and we think that’s actually going to be able to give people more options to engage.”

WE WANT TO MAKE SURE everybody FEELS INVITED TO CELEBRATE GENEROSITY IN all ITS FORMS.

a single giving platform also simplifies the response mechanism for participating nonprofits and community members, she added.

ShaRE Omaha is able to leverage cash donations 365 days a year as well as any other way someone wants to impact a nonprofit in a way that they asked for,” maas said.

~ MARJORIE MAAS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, SHARE OMAHA

“We think that by concentrating that effort on one unified platform at shareomaha.org, that there’s less maintenance by nonprofits. they don’t have to maintain two or more profiles, and the public knows exactly where to go when there’s a flood or a fire or a human services crisis,” she explained.

Initiatives, partnerships and grants

“For the Omaha Community Foundation, it doesn’t so much change what we’re doing but allows us to have more resources focused now where we strategically want to put more resources, which is on our initiative work,” Kush said.

strategically THIS MAKES A LOT OF sense FOR everybody INVOLVED.

OCF will concentrate its efforts on larger, issuedriven initiatives like the Landscape, which incorporates publicly-available data, policy review, and insight gathered from direct engagement; community partnerships such as working with douglas County to distribute CaRES act funding and stimulus grants; and grant programs like the COVid19 Response Fund, resident-led Community interest Fund grants, and others.

~ DONNA KUSH CEO AND PRESIDENT, OMAHA COMMUNITY FOUNDATION

the partnership also allows for future opportunities for the philanthropic allies. “i think that’s what marjorie and i are most excited about,” Kush said. “the third element of this is there is so much opportunity for the Omaha Community Foundation and ShaRE Omaha to work together moving forward.”

partners in philanthropy

• OMAHA COMMUNITY FOUNDATION AND SHARE OMAHA


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a life well-lived

• REMEMBERING KALI BAKER

your giving AGENDA

Kali Baker’s colleagues, friends and family reflect on her successful career with the Omaha Community Foundation and her commitment to bettering the community, but also remember their loved one as a remarkable individual.

Kali BaKer was only 44 years old when she died of cancer on octoBer 2. But she left an impressive legacy in the community through her 13year career with the omaha community foundation (ocf), where she most recently served as vice president of community investment. among other accomplishments, Baker was the creator of a major community assessment and research project called thelandscapeomaha.org and the architect behind ocf’s signature annual event, omaha gives, a 24-hour online fundraising campaign that raised over $58 million for over 1,000 nonprofits in eight years. she was still working on the transition between omaha gives and a new platform with share omaha (see article on page 28) days before she died. Baker was a shining star in the local nonprofit community, former colleagues said. “over the course of many years we shared a lot of life lived together,” said former ocf executive sara Boyd, who hired Baker in 2007. “Kali was much more than an ‘employee.’ Kali was, more meaningfully and truly, a friend, colleague, and thought partner. we shared moments of deep vulnerability, big successes, personal struggles, and tremendous joy. while we did not always see eye-to-eye on every matter, i appreciated that Kali and i had the kind of relationship where we could push each other with generous intent to make the other better. engaging through difference, which Kali did successfully in so many areas of her life, only further strengthened our relationship over time.”

Baker also served the community through board and committee service with the union for contemporary art, nebraska friends of foster children, the spark community development intermediary, film streams and voice. in 2013 she was named as one of Jaycees’ ten outstanding young omahans.

Climbing high friends, family and colleagues recalled Baker’s smile, her spirit of fun, her charisma, her caring, and her love for the mountains. “we shared a happy place in the mountains as our sanctuary. Kali was fiercely independent, and the mountains called to her free spirit in a way she and i would often relate,” Boyd said. “i still have a picture of the mountains she shared with me last year when i left the foundation to remind me of the importance of tending to our spiritual selves with a handwritten note attached that reads, ‘the view from gray's peak, 14k. Because the mountains are always calling.’ that has always rung true for us, but speaks in even higher volume to me knowing life can be fleeting.” “her love of colorado and my love of colorado were so in sync. it was always so fun to hear about her adventures in colorado and i’d see her pictures on facebook and vice versa,” hoig said. “our love of the mountains and our love of hiking really connected us in a different way that was above and beyond our professional relationship.” Baker’s light shines on, her brother said.

“she was a colleague in this space who i respected more than probably anybody. i think the closest and most intense work we would do together would have been yet to come,” share omaha executive director marjorie maas said. “she left a legacy to us of continuing that great work on behalf of nonprofits and on behalf of causes that matter to the health of our community. she was a champion for the unsung, the diamonds in the rough and also the large nonprofits. i think that is something that i want to emulate and continue her passion that she had for individuals.”

“Kali was not only my sister, but she was my best friend. she was always there for me, and anyone that needed her. my most cherished moments with her are probably the time that she got to spend with my wife and daughter, whitney and mara. she loved spending time with children of friends and family, and always made time for kids when they were around, and mara was her favorite and most loved,” he said. “the loss of Kali goes beyond just our family. losing Kali was truly a loss for the entire community. the tremendous outpouring of support we have received from the “i just loved working with Kali at the omaha community foundation,” metroMAGAZINE community has been incredibly helpful in dealing with the grief from a life lost too publisher andee hoig said. “we would get together about once a year for an initial soon.” meeting and we’d brainstorm and come up with ideas. we’d talk about ‘what is possible?’” “i feel like the gift Kali gave our team at share omaha is that we feel even more emboldened to do this work with excellence and to keep that passion and that “she was an incredible person to be around and to get to know personally and underlying reason why we’re doing it at the forefront of our mind,” maas said. professionally,” ocf president and ceo donna Kush said. “there is a wide breadth of “Because that’s the kind of work she inspired.” work that had her touch on it but omaha gives was her baby. she had a vision after researching other communities and she implemented this initiative that will have a long-lasting impact.”

Amazing relationship builder

“Kali lived intensely, wore her heart on her sleeve, and had a fire within her visible to those that had the opportunity to know her. i am heartbroken, yet grateful to have had the time that i did to see her light shine,” Boyd said.

Baker’s brother Jared Baker said his sister’s work in the community is her legacy, but it “i’m going to miss her terribly,” hoig said. “she was an amazing woman and we’re all was also a reflection of her as a person. so blessed to have known her and to have had her in the community.” “i feel like, more than anything, Kali was distinguished for her compassion and ability “truly, we miss her terribly. and we always will,” Kush said. “the best way to honor her to make everyone around her feel better. she was an amazing relationship builder, vision and her legacy is to continue to carry out her vision with that same enthusiasm and even if you just met her, she made you feel like you were friends and also that and passion.” you were important. she never stopped working on herself, personally and professionally, and she had such a wide array of interests and connections,” he said. “i think Kali's work ethic and the fact that she turned her passion into a career are what The Kali Baker Memorial Fund has been established at the Omaha Community distinguished her professionally, and ultimately defined her legacy.” Foundation. To contribute or for more information, please visit omahafoundation.org. 32

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fly kali, fly! “

SHE WAS AN incredible PERSON TO BE AROUND AND TO GET TO know PERSONALLY AND PROFESSIONALLY.

~ DONNA KUSH CEO AND PRESIDENT, OMAHA COMMUNITY FOUNDATION

REMEMBERING KALI BAKER

SHE WAS A champion FOR THE unsung, THE DIAMONDS IN THE rough AND ALSO THE large NONPROFITS.

~ MARJORIE MAAS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, SHARE OMAHA

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spotlight on

• BOYS TOWN

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stand WITH boys town AND #TEACHLOVE boys town “It costs so little to teach a child to love, and so much to teach him to hate.” This simple but profound statement was made a century ago by Father Edward Flanagan, founder of Boys Town. From its inception, Boys Town welcomed every child regardless of race, religion or creed. At the time, many believed such integration was scandalous. There were threats and condemnation. But Father Flanagan was steadfast in rejecting all forms of discrimination, and he embraced every child who needed hope, a helping hand and a home. Today, Boys Town remains committed to the ideals of tolerance, respect, equality and fairness. Every day in our Family Homes, our foster homes, our schools and all our youth-serving programs, we teach children to choose love over hate, calm over rage and justice over vengeance. It’s a lesson that needs to be heard and taught in every home—now more than ever. When misunderstandings and suspicions cause us to fear those we consider “other” or “different,” it can lead to the kinds of tension and friction we have seen play out on the streets of America. This is the cost of hate. As people, we all must work to create a more just, peaceful and equitable society. We urge everyone to remember those moments of turmoil and pain from earlier this year and use them to look inside and see their part in this greater racial problem. Boys Town promises to continue to do the same.

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As parents and caregivers, let’s commit to investing in love by building solidarity in our families, not barriers, and by teaching and modeling compassion and kindness to our children rather than indifference and cruelty. The change we want to see in our world really does begin with us, with our families and in our homes.

SAVING CHILDREN. HEALING FAMILIES.

phone: 800-217-3700 email: helpkids@boystown.org social: facebook.com/boystownmission twitter.com/boystown instagram.com/boystown/

web: www.boystown.org address: 14100 crawford street – mod 1 boys town, ne 68010

We humbly ask you to join Boys Town to #TeachLove and make a commitment to promote tolerance, respect and equality. To stand with Boys Town and Teach Love, visit BoysTown.org/teach-love to learn how. With your help and support, we can amplify a message of love, inclusion and understanding so families and communities can find a renewed sense of hope and our country can begin to grow in new ways and heal.

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• CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL & MEDICAL CENTER

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BYLine HeRe

Chanda Chacón • a champion for children & families

spotlighting

CHANDA CHACÓN’S ENTIRE CAREER has been focused on improving children’s health. The new President & CEO of Children’s Hospital & Medical Center comes to Omaha from Arkansas Children’s, where she served as Executive Vice President and System Chief Operating Officer. Before that, Chanda led Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus, Houston’s first community hospital exclusively for children. Her passion for children’s health care was sparked by a personal experience. “Being in a serious car wreck as a preteen really changed the trajectory of my whole life,” explains Chacón. The fallout left her in chronic pain, wheelchair-bound at times. Countless doctors told her and her family there was nothing they could do for her pain. Then, finally, they met a surgeon who discovered two cracked discs in her lower spine. After a spinal fusion surgery, she was pain-free and a professional seed was planted. “I knew that I wanted to do something that could impact this very complex medical system that my family and I got caught in. What I always track back to, as I’m making decisions, developing process and infrastructure, is how does this impact patients and families?” Chacón joins Children’s team at an exciting, pivotal time of growth, as its Hubbard Center for Children—a state-of-the-art pediatric specialty care facility—opens in 2021. She describes it as a “community treasure” that will help ensure that the region’s children and families have access to the most advanced, highest quality pediatric specialty care for decades to come. The Hubbard Center has been possible thanks to generous community and regional support. “The community here is very active, very engaged and proud to have an independent, freestanding children’s hospital. Omaha really understands the value of that in improving child health. From my perspective, every child deserves to be treated and cared for in a children’s hospital.” To learn more about Children’s life-changing care, advocacy, research and education, visit ChildrensOmaha.org. 35

THE community HERE IS VERY active, VERY ENGAGED AND proud TO HAVE AN independent, FREESTANDING children’s HOSPITAL. ~ CHANDA CHACÓN PReSiDenT & CeO CHiLDRen’S HOSPiTaL & meDiCaL CenTeR

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covid-19 AWARE

carrying on

•••••••••••••••••

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• AS THEY ADAPT THEIR OWN SCRIPTS

local nonprofits keep filling in

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story by KARA SCHWEISS • photos provided courtesy of FEATURED NONPROFITS

• mmagazine

in our crisis

PART THREE OF FOUR

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THE covid-19 PANDEMIC, even as we enter the autumn months, has persisted for more than half a year. Our local nonprofits continue to persist as well, staying connected to the community and providing services and enriching lives through new channels despite increased demands on staff and resources.

••••••••••• OWN

The third segment of this four-part series features a variety of nonprofits that foster the arts, nurture community development and even provide care to wildlife. In a time where volunteer activity is limited and most fundraising events are virtual affairs instead of in-person gatherings, all have expressed that their greatest need is direct financial support from the community. However, there are many ways to help. Each organization’s website provides information on monetary gifts and other contributions: material donations, volunteering on-site or from home, attending fundraising events virtually or in person, promoting advocacy efforts and more.

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• Visit SpiritofOmaha.com for the most up-to-date information on nonprofit fundraising events and community activities. nonprofits:

CARRYING ON IN OUR CRISIS

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covid-19 AWARE

NONPROFITS: carrying on IN OUR CRISIS ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

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Omaha Performing Arts (O-pa) o-pa.org Creating a vibrant arts and entertainment experience in Omaha and the region Omaha Performing Arts (O-pa) presents the best touring Broadway, jazz, dance, popular entertainment, world music, speakers and more at the Orpheum Theater and Holland Performing Arts Center. O-pa also offers a broad range of education and community engagement activities reaching diverse audiences across Nebraska.

WE ARE confident WE WILL rebound. THE arts NEVER DIE.

~ NATASHA PARTRIDGE-BUTLER CEO/FOUNDER/ARTISTIC DIRECTOR, PEAR TREE PERFORMING ARTS

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Both venues closed in March and more than 400 performances and events were subsequently canceled, President Joan Squires said. A significant funding shortfall made it necessary to downsize staff, and performers are unemployed. O-pa’s online programming through Live on the Stream maintains a connection to audiences and provides work for some musicians. The organization also has offered extensive education programming including a virtual showcase for the Nebraska High School Theater Academy and “Jazz on YOUR Green,” a virtual version of the popular free summer concert series. “As we plan to reopen, the safety of our artists, patrons, staff and volunteers is our first priority,” Squires said. “As a ‘gathering place,’ it will take us time to fully re-open…When we can fully re-open, there will be a lot of performers eager to return. The changes we anticipate will include a much-more ‘touchless’ experience for patrons, from security scanners to mobile ticketing and cashless payments.”

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• THE ORPHEUM THEATER

Pear Tree Performing Arts peartreeomaha.org

Culture, confidence, community and creativity Pear Tree Performing Arts provides free and low-cost dance and dramatic arts classes to youth, but having to halt operations in March has meant missing out on numerous opportunities that students were looking forward to; the organization had to cancel partnerships in schools and art-school programs, CEO/Founder/Artistic Director Natasha PartridgeButler said. “That creates an arts void for hundreds of kids. In addition to not being able to offer classes, we lacked the resources and training to begin hosting our classes virtually. We are a team of volunteers, and we all had pressing issues in our families that prevented us from making the

HOLLAND PERFORMING ARTS CENTER

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covid-19 aware ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• Serving Our Arts & Culture transition to virtual,” she said. “We try to connect with other organizations to make sure our students and the students in our community are connected to resources and other dance experiences that are happening virtually. Partnerships are key!” Fundraising efforts and events have been curtailed, and donations are far below where they typically are this time of year, Partridge-Butler added. “We have to make that up because expenses still add up. Even when we are able to resume to full capacity, will we have the resources to do so?” she said. Nevertheless, “We are confident we will rebound. The arts never die.”

American Midwest Ballet amballet.org

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• COLLABORATING REMOTELY WITH AMERICAN MIDWEST BALLET

Sharing the joy of dance “American Midwest Ballet (AMB) is your resident professional dance company, bringing work beyond words to audiences in Nebraska, Iowa, and beyond. Performing at home and on tour, our mission is to provide cultural enrichment through dance programs of the highest quality: breathtaking performances, inspiring education, and uplifting community engagement,” Artistic Director and CEO Erika Overturff said. “At AMB, we live our commitment that dance is for everyone and inspire over 30,000 people each year through the joy of dance.” This includes special school matinee performances reaching more than 7,500 area students, with free busing and admission to Title I schools. AMB also provides over 1,000 complimentary tickets each year to people in need, and partners with more than 30 local social service agencies and hospital partners. American Midwest Ballet School, the official school of AMB, offers classes for all ages and all skill levels.

YOUNG DANCERS PARTICIPATE IN AN AMERICAN MIDWEST BALLET DANCE-AT-HOME CLASS

Responding to ongoing public health concerns, American Midwest Ballet [AMB] has canceled live stage productions for the remainder of 2020, Overturff said. “While we had a fantastic season planned, the pandemic has put us in a very difficult position.” AMB School classes will continue virtually and AMB has announced AMB Interactive, a new initiative (visit amballet.org for more details) featuring ongoing digital content. “Until we can return to the stage—and we will—AMB is devoted to keeping dance alive through digital performances, behind-the-scenes content, and working with schools and community engagement partners to provide dance-based curriculum,” Overturff said. “Dance has the power to inspire and connect us, which is needed now more than ever, and all of these offerings will be shared free of charge with our community.” nonprofits:

CARRYING ON IN OUR CRISIS

AMERICAN MIDWEST BALLET'S 'GOING SOLO' SERIES

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covid-19 special AWARE EDITION

NONPROFITS: carrying on IN OUR CRISIS Serving Our Communities ••••••••••••••••••••••••

carrying on

in

Immigrant Legal Center immigrantlc.org Welcoming immigrants into our communities Immigrant Legal Center (ILC) is Nebraska’s largest nonprofit immigration legal services organization, providing lifechanging and life-saving immigration legal services for low-income immigrants who otherwise would be unable to access legal counsel. ILC advocates for every immigrant to have access to quality legal representation in the immigration justice system and is a safe and caring place for immigrants and their families to ask for help. ILC staff have ensured that clients continue to receive high quality services, Executive Director Erik Omar said, and the organization is offering flexibility so staff is supported as well. “We are allowing staff to make the decision about working from home that is right for their family and circumstances. We plan to reevaluate this at the beginning of 2021, but want our staff to feel empowered to determine the work situation that works for them during this pandemic,” he said. “We have begun to open up for in-person meetings with clients and are following strict health and safety protocols to ensure the safety of our clients and staff.”

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

ABIDE IS working TO revitalize OUR INNER CITY, ONE neighborhood AT A time.

ABIDE abideomaha.org

~ CLAIRE DAMON DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR, ABIDE

•••••••••••••••••••••••••

A vision for a new inner-city “ABIDE is working to revitalize our inner city, one neighborhood at a time,” Development Coordinator Claire Damon said. “Since 1989, (founders) Ron and Twany Dotzler have lived in and served the North Omaha community. By focusing on safer neighborhoods, stronger families, and emerging leaders, we are building a community where every person can reach their full God-given potential.” Food support was not a service ABIDE provided before the pandemic, but over 17 weeks, volunteers and donors helped the organization distribute almost 100,000 meals to the community. When Omaha Public Schools made the decision to host remote classes at the beginning of the new school year, ABIDE pivoted project priorities and created a learning center in less than a month, Damon said. It opened in September and serves 40 students on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

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ABIDE’s team would like to see “people learn (and unlearn) about the vibrant community that is North Omaha; people to come to The Better Together Campus and serve as a mentor or volunteer; and funding to continue and grow our lighthouse presence, learning center, sports programs, and food distribution services,” Damon said. 40

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n our crisis

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• You Go Girl Omaha yggomaha.com Encouraging, empowering and inspiring girls and women You Go Girl President and Founder Rachel Fox describes You Go Girl as an organization “committed to encouraging, empowering and inspiring girls and women everywhere.” “We’re ending the cycle of self-doubt and low self-esteem by creating unique experiences that amplify our founding pillars of self-love, self-awareness, wellness, education, and leadership,” she said. “Some of these experiences include our annual You Go Girl Summit featuring community and business leaders, free code classes in partnership with Metropolitan Community College and (tech company) Flywheel, and free financial literacy workshops in partnership with Financial Beginnings Nebraska.”

••••

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The pandemic prompted a conversion of programming to online platforms, and You Go Girl is also allocating more resources to mental health and wellness. “We know that depression and anxiety are on the rise during these times,” Fox said. “We know folks are asking for more of these resources than ever before.”

••••

By getting creative with volunteer and partner opportunities, the organization added more ways for people to get involved and make a difference. “We are committed to the girls and women we serve,” Fox said. “And we will continue to learn, grow and adapt to meet their changing needs.” nonprofits:

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NONPROFITS: carrying on IN OUR CRISIS Serving Our Communities ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• ••• Aksarben Foundation aksarben.org Nebraska traditions, Nebraska opportunities Aksarben is a unified network of business and community leaders committed to preserving and expanding prosperity in heartland communities through advancements in education, workforce development and civic projects born from effective private, public and philanthropic partnerships. The Aksarben Ball has been a community mainstay since 1895 but has had to be canceled for 2020 due to the pandemic; the ball committee is looking forward to the event’s return in October 2021. This year, many of the foundation’s community grants have focused on COVID-19-related projects such as support for the CUES School System to fund connectivity for families who lack internet access, and for a local food initiative sponsored by the Latino Center of the Midlands to grow and distribute fresh produce for families in need of assistance. The Aksarben Foundation relies on the Aksarben Ball to raise funds to support post-secondary scholarships, President Sandra Reding said. “This year scholarships are more important than ever…we expect a dramatic increase in applications due to COVID,” she explained. The Foundation also focuses on workforce development. “Our education pipeline is critical in recruiting and retaining workers into high-skill, high-demand, high-wage jobs. It’s imperative that we increase enrollment in our post-secondary schools by retaining our own high school graduates,” Reding said. “People can make a difference by supporting programs such as our Aksarben scholarships. We need to continue educating ourselves and getting involved in efforts that will ‘move the needle.’”

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CHILD SAVING INSTITUTE

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covid-19 aware •••••••••••• ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• Serving Our Wildlife Nebraska Wildlife Rehab, Inc. nebraskawildliferehab.org Valuing and protecting wildlife and natural habitats Nebraska Wildlife Rehab (NWR) has a two-fold mission: To rescue, rehabilitate, and return to the wild native wildlife; and to educate people about the importance of Nebraska wildlife and wild spaces. “We rescue more than 7,000 wild animals annually and reach over 20,000 people with outreach and education. Our staff and volunteers handle more than 12,000 public inquiries each year and aid in wildlife rescues, nuisance issues, and other requests,” Executive Director Laura Stastny said. Education programs for schools transitioned to a virtual platform, and NWR has initiated contactless animal transfers during the pandemic. Ironically, with more people being home, more people are noticing wildlife in need and 2020 has been unusually busy for the organization. NWR had to add staffing to accommodate the increase, yet on-site volunteer hours and training have been limited during the pandemic, Stasny said. “This has put a large strain on our resources both in terms of staffing and funding.”

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

WE EXPECT higher DEMAND FOR OUR services WITH fewer RESOURCES UNTIL THIS HEALTH crisis IS resolved.

As demand for services increases, a capital campaign to renovate an existing facility in Omaha and open a new wildlife center and hospital continues, and hopes are still high for a spring 2021 opening, she added.

“We expect higher demand for our services with fewer resources until

~ LAURA STASTNY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NEBRASKA WILDLIFE REHAB, INC.

this health crisis is resolved, and we greatly appreciate the public’s support during this time.

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• nonprofits:

CARRYING ON IN OUR CRISIS


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Marjorie M. Maas, SHARE Omaha executive director

lifting up do-gooders

• share omaha

AREA senior agencies SERVED BY stars Who is a do-gooder? Either you are one, or you know a few. SHARE Omaha defines do-gooders as those who see a need and do good for others or the community; those who raise their hands to help when a crisis or challenge arises around them; and those who regularly prioritize this good work, even in the light of personal sacrifice. SHARE Omaha tells stories of volunteers, donors and general do-gooders regularly on our blog at SHAREomaha.org, and with this column we seek to act as a megaphone for those making our community and metro area better. Dogooders can be individuals, businesses, families or nonprofit organizations.

ENOA is one of Nebraska’s eight such senior-focused agencies, serving Dodge, Douglas, Sarpy, Cass and Washington Counties. A family member or the individual in need can reach out to connect someone to programs and services. ENOA sends someone to perform an assessment, which determines what marjorie m. maas services the senior may need such as home care, a bath aid, transportation or companionship. Parker says the organization provides those needed resources, and the team “looks at each person individually to help decide those needs specific to them.”

Mission: keeping seniors safely in their homes This month we spoke with two organizations focused on seniors in the metro area, Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging (ENOA) and Connections Area Agency on Aging (Connections AAA) in Iowa. Representatives from both articulated their main goal of having seniors stay safely in their homes, and praised the volunteers—many of them seniors themselves—who make the work possible.

Volunteers are greatly needed, Parker says, because they fill gaps in services for each program. Annually, 600 volunteers contribute 2,000 hours—valued at $4 million—to various programs. The agency gives people of all ages, especially older volunteers, an opportunity to serve. It provides physical, spiritual, emotional and social fulfillment, Parker said. “They are giving and receiving.”

Aubury Krueger-Kutchara, director of community engagement at Connections AAA, explained how these agencies work with family caregivers to provide care to their loved ones by providing nutrition, services and even respite for family members. She recalled one caregiver expressing gratitude for respite care for her husband, saying that being given time to take care of herself so she could take care of her loved one was “the biggest gift.”

Programs address the multifaceted nature of seniors’ needs and lives. For instance, ENOA’s ombudsman advocate program has volunteers serving as liaisons between staff and residents of long-term residential communities. With COVID-19 restrictions, these advocate volunteers are now handling weekly visits by phone and continuing to step up and take care of little and big challenges for these residents.

Krueger-Kutchara said her organization’s largest volunteer need is drivers for Meals on Wheels, which covers a 20-county service region. The agency utilizes community groups and individuals for this crucial program providing nutrition to homebound seniors. Volunteers provide their own vehicles, and their commitment does not have to be for a regular or set schedule; families and groups often do this as a tradition once per year.

Their SeniorHelp program works with volunteers of all ages to provide older adults with assistance that helps them remain in their homes and improves their quality of life, from everyday tasks like grocery delivery to one-time lifeenhancing needs. During a particularly dreary span of time during the COVID-19 crisis, Parker said, one isolated senior had a SeniorHelp volunteer turn her home’s garden patch from weeds to flowers so she could enjoy the transformation outside of her window; seeing a favorite rose bush thrive was a huge emotional boost.

One volunteer’s purpose: demystifying Medicare Another program Connections AAA offers is the Senior Health Insurance Information Program, or SHIIP. Kreuger-Kutchara called out a longtime volunteer for its Iowa-based program, George Gillespie. He has been a Medicare counselor with SHIIP for 13 years, ever since he retired from careers with insurance agencies and a state insurance department. Gillespie also serves on Connections AAA’s board of directors and regularly attends state and federal advocacy sessions to educate and lobby lawmakers on seniors’ needs, especially as it pertains to Medicare and Medicaid. Gillespie said he felt his experience and knowledge made him a “perfect fit” to “pay back and pay forward.” “I look at myself as a consumer advocate for the Medicare world,” he said, adding that he often speaks for community groups and that many people he counsels come back for further questions and future years’ plan changes. Every one, a star servant Mary Parker, division director of the volunteer services department for ENOA, commented on volunteers with Gillespie’s spirit that she encounters at her agency. “We would consider each and every one of our volunteers as a star,” she said. “Even during the pandemic, they’re reaching out and wanting to help. Each volunteer brings unique star qualities to ENOA, no matter what the task is. Whether it’s helping organize a closet or another task, every one of them are life-changing for someone.” 44

ENOA asks individuals 55 and over to consider opportunities such as the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, or RSVP. They help nonprofit organizations by enhancing services: stocking pantries, preparing meals, staffing blood drives, etc. ENOA has 55 different partnerships and approximately 400 RSVP individuals serving at this time. Many programs have been put on hold, but no-contact and distanced opportunities are persisting. Also, ENOA has a screening process, including reference checks, to safely serve its vulnerable adults. And the organization works to engage volunteers for lengthier commitments rather than episodic opportunities. Who are your do-gooders? We bet you can think of do-gooders like Gillespie and ENOA’s star volunteers: people who have been extremely moved by a cause close to their hearts and lives and do something to impact it. Tell us! Shoot an email to info@SHAREomaha.org or find us on social media. SHARE Omaha exists to be a conduit between nonprofit needs and the public doing good. The best ways, we think, to spur that action is to inspire through telling stories of do-gooder actions and emphasizing that tiny acts of goodness add up to a healthy and engaged community. Find your fit for volunteering and supporting the causes you care about at SHAREomaha.org mmagazine • THe DiVeRSiTY iSSUe 2020


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Donna Kush, President and CEO

omaha giving

• omaha Community Foundation

fostering AN EQUITABLE

COMMUNITY AND internal CULTURE At the Omaha Community Foundation, we’ve made it our mission to inspire philanthropy to create a thriving community for all. We do this by cultivating generosity, strengthening nonprofits, and engaging the community around priority issues. Our team has the ability to identify and understand these issues due to the knowledge, insight and elevation of lived experiences that come from our resident-led grant programs. For more than 10 years, these programs have addressed emerging and ongoing needs within the Omaha-Council Bluffs metro ranging from neighborhood development, increased BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) representation in positions of power, and access for LGTBQIA+ community members. This strategic partnership gives our team thoughtful understanding on how to best invest equitably in our community. Since their inception, the African American Unity Fund, Futuro Latino Fund, Equality Fund for LGBTQIA+, Omaha Neighborhood Grants, and Refugee Community Grant Programs have together awarded approximately $3.9 million to local nonprofits. Within our community and nationwide, we’ve seen a call for racial justice, more equitable public policy, and a diverse set of voices at the table and in positions of leadership. Our residentled grant programs address these gaps while bringing local voices and resident involvement into our philanthropic work. However, these programs aren’t where our equity journey ends: COVID-19 Response Fund - Our COVID-19 Impact Report, published earlier this fall, shows us that 53 percent of COVID-19 cases in Douglas County are people of color, but people of color make up only 29 percent of the population of the county. Therefore, we understand that minorities are at greater risk for contracting COVID-19, due in part to underlying economic systems and structural racism that have led to worse health outcomes for people of color. The COVID-19 Response Fund we launched in March strategically invests in organizations that have

46

deep roots in the community and strong experience working with residents without health insurance and/or access to sick days, people with limited English language proficiency, lowwage workers, and communities of color, among others. Fund for Omaha - The Fund for Omaha has recently restructured to amplify and care for the voices of BIPOC donna kush community members. Historically, the Fund has made strategic investments to support arts and culture, neighborhoods, economic opportunity, health, transportation and vibrant communities. While there has always been a focus on nonprofits working to ensure equitable access for residents, in response to recent events in our country and world, the Foundation decided to shift the Fund to explicitly include intersections of racial equity in our funding criteria. Internal Culture - In June 2018, the Omaha Community Foundation team, guided by the Center for Equity and Inclusion, began a journey to deepen our understanding of racial equity and our role in systems that may harm BIPOC community members. After more than a year of learning, we established an internal Equity Committee to continue the work of CEI. To date, the Equity Team has hosted various in-person and virtual learning opportunities for staff and developed an Equity Filter to ensure all decisions made at the Foundation consider the impact on community members of color. While each piece of this work is ongoing and evolving as we continue to learn and respond to community needs, we know that understanding and promoting equity will drive our work for the months and years to come. We invite anyone to join us in learning more about the work of the Omaha Community Foundation, by visiting omahafoundation.org or calling (402) 342-3458.

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mary e. VandenaCK Mary Vandenack, while a lawyer by profession, has studied extensively in mind/body areas of fitness and wellness. She is Yoga Alliance RYT-200, Power Pilates certified and ACE certified.

strategies FOR letting go In a year where a pandemic has altered our lives, fires and hurricanes have threatened our friends and politics have brought out the worst in many, you may find yourself struggling to sleep, focus, engage positively in relationships and turn it off. This article is to provide some strategies; however, what I have found is that I need to rethink, revise and change strategies as I go. • Try yoga, Pilates, walking, or any form of exercise. Try something new. Get outdoors. Buy some microspikes, a warm coat, a scarf, hat and gloves so you can stay outside as it gets cold. • Turn off the news. Sadly, news is not what it once was. Lately, “news” seems designed to incite rather than inform. Turn if off and take a break. When you turn it on, avoid the “entertainment news” and seek sources that provide information rather than drama. • Redo a space in your house into a “reprieve space.” Fill the space with items that calm you. Make time to spend in peaceful space daily. • Take movement breaks often during the day. Move every part of your body in every direction that it can move as many times as you can. • Learn to regulate emotions rather than vent. Venting is often going on a rant about something awful someone did to you. Find a safe person who can help you see the various possibilities of someone’s actions. They are often not what we conclude they are. When we see things differently, we are more open and more likely to find a way to talk about a relationship challenge in a way that preserves the relationship. • Spend an hour with your spouse, life partner, or a close friend talking about what you value from that person. Talk about how you can build on the relationship you have by communicating about how you treat each other and what matters.

• Refuse to send inflammatory emails or make similar social media posts. One of the reasons for divisiveness is that many have resorted to seeing posts on Facebook as communication. Most of the time, we post something in the absence of a conversation. We are also willing to attack people we don’t know, or if someone we don’t know attacks us, we attack back. Then, we wonder why our country has become polarized rather than having a sense of community. • Practice metta meditation, the loving kindness meditation. I have written about it often. First seek kindness towards those you know and love but more importantly, find ways to extend kindness to those that have angered you. • Acknowledge kindness. • Breathe deeply. Notice your breath. Practice mindfulness. • In any situation that troubles you, try to find something you are grateful for. • Find something to do that calms you. Get a massage. Call the friend you know accepts you wherever you are at a given moment. • Find ways to stay connected to humans other than social media. There are safe ways to connect even during a pandemic. Find them. Use them. • Know that life has changed but we are still living. I have heard people say, “I just need to be living but can’t do that until this is over.” My reply is: “You are living, just differently.” Be creative about how you can use this life moment to make your life path more positive, more fulfilling. I am doing a lot less traveling and using that time for family, friends, exercise and getting my house in order. As soon as I can, I will be on a plane; but in the meantime, I am finding meaningful ways to live my life—just differently.

ENVISION YOUR FUTURE: PREVENT DISEASE DISCOVER HEALTH! YOU DESERVE A BEAUTIFUL, HEALTHY SMILE!

Dr. Stephanie Vondrak • Dr. Ashley Rainbolt Vondrak Dental (402) 289-2313 info@drvondrak.com

THE CHOICE IS YOURS! 47

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planning matters

• with Vw law

THE tax checklist

Review income before year-end After the tax year of a business ends, it is too late to manage income. Review income and expenses prior to year-end. Manage the income. 2020 may be a tough year for some businesses impacted by COVID-19. For firms that are negatively impacted (or simply having an off year in 2020 for whatever reason), look for opportunities to accelerate income and defer expenses. For firms that have had a great year, look for opportunities to defer income and accelerate deductions. Review benefit plans If your business does not have a qualified retirement plan such as a 401(k), consider whether a plan should be adopted. In addition to creating opportunities to defer income, a tax credit currently exists for three years to allow firms to recover some of the costs of setup and administration. The CARES Act included provisions allowing employers to amend retirement plans to provide employees more access to retirement funds. Employers can amend plans any time prior to January 1, 2021, to allow business employees to take advantage of the CARES Act provisions. To use or not to use bonus depreciation Most business owners assume they should “take advantage” of the maximum amounts of Section 179 deductions and bonus depreciation. That isn’t always true. A flow-through entity that takes the maximum possible deduction in one year may have little or no income in that year and then significant income the following year. A five-year income analysis should be considered before making a decision about how to use Section 179 and bonus deprecation. Qualified improvement property deduction When the TCJA (Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017) was passed, one of the intentions of the Act was to expand the availability of bonus depreciation. As a result of a drafting issue in the TCJA, tenant improvements have not been eligible for bonus depreciation. The CARES Act corrected this technical error. A 15-year recovery period applies to tenant improvements, which makes such property eligible for bonus depreciation. The CARES Act allows the correction to be applied retroactively to any property that was placed in service in 2018 or thereafter. Review interest expense and plan ahead The TCJA imposed limitations on the deductibility of interest expenses. The CARES Act modified the limitation on deductibility of business interest. For 2019 and 2020, businesses can deduct business interest up to 50 percent of taxable income. Maximize expense reimbursements Many expenses of business owners can be deducted at the business level and reimbursed to business owners on a tax-free basis. As a generality, to minimize taxable income of the business owner, focus on reimbursing expenses that are deductible: consider equipment used at home that is primarily for business use, home office expense, travel, auto mileage (there are various ways to deduct auto expense; the best approach always requires that you do that math on the various alternatives), and marketing expenses. 48

Review applicable state income taxes If you operate in more than one state, you are likely subject to allocating income among states. Many states offer a variety of tax credits.

mary e. vandenack and michael j. weaver

Deductions related to remote workers The TCJA limited miscellaneous itemized deductions. This had a negative tax impact on employees who telecommute. In 2020, due to coronavirus, many employees who previously did not telecommute have been forced to do so. For many businesses, telecommuting of some employees will continue beyond 2020. In some cases, there are no cost savings to employers related to employees working at home. In other cases, there might be. Tax consiDeRaTions ResulTing FRoM coRonaviRus legislaTion: employee retention credit for employers subject to closure due to coviD-19 The CARES Act includes a refundable payroll tax credit for businesses that were subject to closure or significant loss of business due to COVID-19. Such credit is capped at $10,000 of compensation to each eligible employee. The credit is available with respect to wages paid or incurred from March 13, 2020, to December 31, 2020. This credit is only available to businesses that did not receive a small business loan under the CARES Act. Payroll Protection Program loans Many businesses received a loan under the Payroll Protection Program (PPP). Many such loans will have been forgiven all or in part. To the extent a loan under the PPP has been or will be forgiven, no income is recognized relative to the forgiveness; however, expenses paid with the funds may be nondeductible. Note that some businesses may have also received a grant under the Small Business Administration Hardship Distribution Loan program. To the extent such a grant was received, it will have been rolled into any PPP loan and any forgiveness will be calculated on an overall basis. net operating losses Prior to the TCJA, net operating loss (NOL) carrybacks were available to corporations. The TCJA eliminated such carrybacks and required that losses could only be carried forward. The CARES Act allows corporations to carry back NOLs arising in 2018, 2019 or 2020 to be carried back as much as five years. Businesses that have C-corporation tax status and unused losses arising in 2018, 2019 or 2020 may be able to amend prior-year returns. Possible tax changes Given the huge amount of funds poured into coronavirus issues in 2020, the general expectation is that taxes will go up. Consider whether you want to defer income to a potentially higher tax rate. Also consider using the current $11.4 million estate and gift tax exemption amount. mmagazine • THe DiVeRSiTY iSSUe 2020


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MUST COMPANIES require covid TESTING? IS IT ESSENTIAL that Companies Require Their

Employees to Pass a COVID-19 Test Before Returning to Work? As the country gradually begins to reopen, organizations loosen their teleworking mandates, and employees return to the office, it may be tempting for companies to pick up where they left off and consider COVID-19 a non-concern. But for HR teams, the workplace challenges presented by the coronavirus are just beginning. Health authorities have made it clear that the reopening of the country does not mean phasing out COVID-19 guidelines and protocols. If anything, employees returning to on-site work means HR teams need to take more precautions than ever to ensure the safety and well-being of their staff. As human resource professionals grapple with this, many have wondered: Can they require their employees to pass a COVID-19 test before they can return to the office? The Short Answer: Yes, But … On April 23, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) updated its guidelines to confirm that employers could institute mandatory COVID19 tests for their employees, so long as it is “job related and consistent with business necessity.” It’s also worth noting that the EEOC also recommends employers “still require—to the greatest extent possible—that employees observe infection control practices.” But just because the EEOC has given the green light to this practice doesn’t mean your company should, or even can, realistically implement it. Accurate, reliable COVID-19 testing is still difficult to come by, and may not be realistic for organizations with a large staff. Alternative Methods While mandatory employee tests may not be feasible for most organizations, there are several other precautions employers can take to prevent the spread of

49

• swartzbaugh-Farber & assoCiates, inC.

your money

COVID-19 in the workplace. One popular option is regular temperature checks. Like coronavirus tests, the EEOC has approved the use of mandatory temperature tests as a condition for returning to work. Temperature tests can be performed by the marsha anzalone employer, by a third party, or by the employees themselves. The only guideline the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gives is the “100.4degree threshold,” where an employer can turn away an employee with that temperature or higher. Employers can also enforce a waiting period before employees can return to work, in order to ensure they’re not experiencing any symptoms of COVID. The CDC currently recommends two weeks, though some organizations may wish to wait longer. Avoiding Discriminatory Testing No matter what precautions or policies your organization implements as its employees return to work, it’s important to remain compliant and ensure the testing is administered evenly, without discriminating against age, gender, race or ethnicity. The EEOC and CDC have emphasized that employers must remain especially alert to bias and discrimination in the workplace against Asian Americans or people of Asian descent during the coronavirus pandemic. For more information, please contact your trusted advisor at Swartzbaugh-Farber – ‘Client Centered – Client Advocates™’. Securities and Investment Advisory services offered through M Holdings Securities, Inc., a Registered Broker/Dealer and Investment Advisor, Member FINRA/SIPC. Swartzbaugh-Farber and Associates, Inc. is independently owned and operated.

mmagazine • THe DiVeRSiTY iSSUe 2020


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impact!

• with stephanie VondraK

embrace THE uncertainty: CHOOSE health! “It is how we embrace the uncertainty in our lives that leads to the greatest transformation of our souls.” ~ Brandon a. Trean, health educator

MY SPIN on the above quote would be this: If history has

taught us anything, it’s not to underestimate the potentials of man for good or for bad; it is their reactions to adversity that determine the future we will hold. Pretend it is September 10, 2001. What would you be doing and where are you headed on this particular day? Me, I would be driving—near or slightly over the speed limit—headed from Omaha to Lincoln and consumed by my senior year of dental school. I am stressed and nervous, determined to master my skills as graduation is quickly approaching. With assurance, I can say I am oblivious to the concept of pending war or the reality that thousands of innocent people will be killed at the hands of terrorists the following day. I am simply immersed in my routine, in my personal struggles, going through the motions…like I am guessing most of you were. Now, recall September 11, 2001. Is your answer quite different? Personally, I will never forget how eerily quiet the student lounge was that day. One by one we gathered around the television watching as the planes collided with the twin towers over and over again. The disbelief, grief, shock and fear could be felt collectively. Likewise, the details of my fourth-grade classroom are etched in my mind. A similar gathering around a small AV cart, sitting criss-cross applesauce on the floor. All eyes are glued to the small screen, excited to watch the Challenger blast off with the first-ever Teacher in Space teacher onboard. Then disaster, the explosion, the chaos follows. In September 2020 our world continues to feel heavy and uncertain. The pandemic lingers, requiring our children to wear masks in school (if they are allowed to attend “in-person” school), Nebraska football is canceled, travel to many parts of the world is banned, people are isolated and not permitted to touch one another—nothing seems normal. There is a palpable tension in the air as opinions flare and propaganda thickens in light of the upcoming presidential election. So how do we “embrace this uncertainty”? How do we use this point in time as a means to “transform our souls”? My opinion is this: Let history be our teacher and logic over fear be our guide. We experienced the grief of pure evil on September 11, 2001, but evil did not prevail. We faced great tragedy when the Challenger exploded, but scientists continued to learn and innovate improving designs and pushing forward. 2020 should be no different. My underlying philosophy is in life is the belief that the gratitude, compassion, and logical understanding are always the way. As controversy mounts around us, I believe in the power of logic to understand the science surrounding the coronavirus and compassionate realism to evaluate recommended behavior. I believe that fearbased decision making will only lead to chaos and exaggerated uncertainty. By following the recommendations that coincide with your core values, you can work towards transformation of your soul. 50

As a health-centered dentist and business owner, my approach is to wear a mask, as I always have, and sterilize my office to meet CDC and OSHA stephanie vondrak d.d.s. protocols, also as I always have. I will continue to provide an environment that is safe for my patients, my team, and myself. But on the flip side, I will also educate my patients on how to control the risk factors that are within their control, minimizing the threat of severe viral illness and promoting systemic health. For example: inflammation. According to Healthline, “Chronic inflammation refers to a response by your immune system that sticks around long after an infection, injury, or exposure to a toxin.” Translation: our bodies are consistently fighting toxins that we as a culture knowingly ingest into our systems daily. This overuse of our immune system fosters chronic inflammation which leads to health conditions like heart disease, continual upper respiratory infections, arthritis, diabetes, etc. Understanding that inflammation is present in all disease, viruses included, is paramount. By choosing to care for your dental health, you are giving your dentist the opportunity to identify inflammation in your mouth and formulate a treatment plan. Periodontal disease, gingivitis, untreated decay, and overall poor oral hygiene are sources of inflammation within the oral cavity. As a health-centered dentist, I will continue to teach individuals how to control inflammation in the mouth through improved homecare, professional dental cleanings and sound dentistry knowing they will receive a systemic benefit as well. Now, take this a step further. I will also logically and compassionately discuss the risk of processed food like fast food, energy drinks and soda as sources of toxins that increase inflammation in the body especially when consumed daily. I will praise the benefits of water, veggies, fruits, and plant-based protein. I will respect my patients as individuals, sharing personal stories and struggles that have helped me and my family live a healthier lifestyle. In addition, I will passionately discuss the benefits of healthy sleep, nasal breathing, and consistent exercise to further mitigate the risk of viral infection, COVID-19 included. By learning to control things within our control, we can eradicate fear-based behavior and live according to logic and compromise once again. Remember, history is an excellent teacher. As a nation, we have persevered through tragedy and evil. As Americans, we have made decisions based on our founding philosophies and values. In this crazy 2020, let’s unite, focused on logic, compassion and gratitude that tomorrow will come, this virus will end, and that our future will be better than it is today.

Dr. Stephanie Vondrak is board certified by the American Academy of Craniofacial Dental Sleep Medicine to treat patients suffering from sleep apnea with sleep apnea appliances.

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event galleries | charity support

local events! updated event info WHEN YOU SEE THE “BIG RED” LEARN MORE ABOUT THESE ORGANIZATIONS IN THE GIVING GUIDE 2020!

Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, many charitable events continue to be postponed or canceled. Many rescheduled events remain in an ongoing state of flux and readjustment. In the pages that follow we have partnered with participating nonprofits to provide the latest information available.

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,000 Raised: $165 dible Amount ng was incre oia Brown-Lo erful testimony mary: Cynt her pow the Event Sum dees to tears with fantastic and a part atten id event was was and moved first-ever hybr thanks everyone who of hope. The team en Wom Rejuvenating le evening. orab iduals of of this mem ration for indiv TIM DUNNING hope and resto IFF iding SHER Prov n. SUE AND Mission: exploitatio cking and n of human traffi the preventio d en assists in orme a trauma-inf venating Wom About: Reju trafficking by providing ery program while an recov future hum -term term housing and spiritual health. l short and long re physical, emotiona resto helping to : information venatingwomen.com For more .reju 0601, www (800) 402-

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st 15, 2020 When: Augu y counties las and Sarp to assist lowcommunity Where: Doug homes. need in our taining their e is a great Why: Ther homeowners with main ase safety and r senio e h allows ions that incre incom no-cost solut in safe at home, whic pairs rema By providing can h Up event seniors accessibility, place. The annual Brus g back to the in them to age are committed to givin qualify for this who who ners rs eow ntee ity in volu r hom the commun with senio community ce. This event connects thousands of lives cted free paint servi one and has impa than more ways ska, Diamond 31 years! Lozier, Tena Roofing, n, over the past datio e Mammel Foun White Castl Sponsors: 3M, TD Ameritrade, lon, TEAM: Vogel, Gavi VOLUNTEER EES CiShirts Runza, and OMAHA JAYC nteers : 435 Volu Attendance 075 is to provide Raised: $43, rks ewo unt Amo of Project Hous solutions that allow The mission eowners with Mission: ents by e senior hom in healthy environm e ed low-incom hom safely hous repairs and them to stay professional home free, delivering rks’ core ct Housewo Proje modifications. sent repre eowners to programs allows hom bing and About: Two e Repair Program Hom critical plum TEAM: services. Our es by providing free and replacements, VOLUNTEER EES irs hom tion. Our stay in their irs, roof and HVAC repa OMAHA JAYC ediate atten electrical repa vations requiring imm eowners with hom reno ram allows providing free tuband other Prog ion ificat es by s, flooring Home Mod in their hom bars, ramp to remain disabilities installing grab t disabled assis conversions, to-shower r modifications that y. safet othe mobility and repair and annual with at-home rated the 31st homeowners ther to st 15, we celebr teams coming toge Augu , rday ntee las and On Satu t with 30 volu rs across Doug Brush Up even 24 low-income senio incredible, and we s are es for paint hom transformation orted the event! TEAM: R The NTEE ties. VOLU Sarpy coun to everyone who supp S” that not only kful “CRAZY SOCK ity 40 than mun so TER are CHAP , but also t in our com CENTERSPHERE a pillar even homeowners we serve to that r Brush Up is fits the senio hoods and brings pride the greatly bene lies in alize neighbor 2,929 fami helps to revit Brush Up has served have applied to , rs area. To date Area, 83,174 voluntee t and primer have o Omaha metr 43,000 gallons of pain st 21, 2021, and we and is Augu munity. participate, ’s paint day es in our com . Next year been used revive even more hom to cannot wait eone you know at modifications. : If you or som eworks information please call Project Hous For more painted, e hom needs your 965-9201. CAPT) IONS (402 TEAM: VOLUNTEER SKA TENA e 2020 SOR iSSU Y RSiT E SPON THe DiVe CORPORAT

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2020 ember 10, When: Sept La Vista assy Suites en’s Where: Emb venating Wom s Gala is Reju support human s to Restored Wing Why: The fundraiser and it help ery home. The al largest annu iduals living at the recov ormed therapeutic indiv trauma-inf trafficked fund the 24/7 proceeds help services. and ty Sheriff programs Douglas Coun rary Chairs sts: Hono Special Gue ing Dunn sher Tim and Sue Media, Thra tts and s, Verizon Ricke Henry Davi Governor Pete aska Sponsors: Nebr Repair, Foundation nne Shore First Lady Susa BERS inc. IA TEAM MEM ner: planit VERIZON MED e) Event Plan dees onlin udes 60 atten : 539 (incl Attendance

AN, NA UNGERM ERMAN, KATI DON BACON AMIN UNG ODEN, BENJ IE AND CONGRESSMAN NS, DEREK PETER OWE SHRADER, ANG CAPTIONS N-LONG, JULIE CYNTOIA BROW

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CAROLE DEBU

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CAPTIONS CEO T HOSPITAL UD, METHODIS & TED MURRAY e 2020 Y iSSU JASON ABBO UD, JULIE DiVeRSiT e • THe JOSIE ABBO

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Photos courtesy Midlands Humane Society (MHS)

IN THE

Doghouse Midlands Humane Society (MHS) MHS Annual Gala

SIAMESE

WHISKEY

CAPTIONS

GALA HOSTS ANDEE HOIG AND DONNA DOSTAL

The Midlands Humane Society (MHS) is wrapping up our sixth year of operations serving as the first and only humane society in Council Bluffs and Pottawattamie County. We are thrilled to report over 12,000 animals have been adopted or reunited with owners since opening our doors in 2015. Although we work primarily with cats and dogs, we also adopt out small animals. We are located at 1020 Railroad Avenue (near Kanesville Blvd/Hwy 6) and are just a short drive off 1-80. You will find our beautiful facility nestled into the base of the Loess Hills surrounded by stately trees and a large green space. We are open to the public Monday to Friday 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.; on Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and on Sunday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Kevin Bills Memorial Dog Park, where dogs can run and play off leash, is located to our north. In response to COVID-19, we altered our operation to an appointment-only basis for a few months but remained open to facilitate adoptions and assist the public. With people spending lots of time at home, we experienced a surge in adoptions in 2020.

PEPPER

CAR SHOW

SUNSHINE WITH ANDEE HOIG

CAR SHOW

Fundraising efforts for the animals never end and we found ways to navigate these initiatives in our current landscape. Our MHS Annual Gala, ironically titled “2020 Vision,” was held virtually on September 18. We blended heartwarming animal success stories alongside current adoptable pets and offered silent and live auctions for a fantastic evening. With the help of our sponsors, our donors and all those who shopped the auctions, the Gala raised over $117,000, and we thank each and every supporter. Our third annual Wags & Wheels Car Show went off without a hitch on August 30 with many new car entries and returning favorites. Look for even more excitement during our 2021 events! Are you searching for ways to help the animals and families in our community? How about donating products off our Amazon wish list or directly from our website? We are always in need of pet food and supplies, along with office and cleaning products. We have also revamped our volunteer opportunities. Check out our website, midlandshumanesociety.org, for more details on how you can sign up. Are you wanting to contribute to MHS before the end of the year? If so, consider a gift during our “BARK FRIDAY” fundraising promotion. From the end of November to the end of December, donations (up to a pre-determined amount) will be matched by generous donors. So, your $10 gift becomes $20, $25 becomes $50, and $500 becomes $1000—It’s a win-win. If you would like to reach the staff at the Midlands Humane Society, please call us at (712) 396-2270.

CAPTIONS 54

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Photos courtesy Methodist Volunteers in Partnership (ViP)

CHARITY

Unmasked Methodist Volunteers In Partnership (VIP) 13th Annual Methodist Golf Classic

RICK KINGSBURY, ANNIE BREWER, MELISSA OKERLUND, MIKE MCDERMOTT

MELODEE THOMPSON (EVENT CHAIR), MARK ZEHNDER, CINDY & JOHN THOMSEN

Event Page: https://www.methodisthospitalfoundation.org/news-andevents/vip-golf-classic/ Where: Tiburon Golf Course, Omaha When: August 11, 2020 Teeing-off with friends from Methodist Health System, the Methodist Volunteers In Partnership (VIP), a group that provides volunteer support for Methodist Hospital and Methodist Women’s Hospital health care teams, invited supporters to participate in the 13th Annual Methodist Golf Classic.

DR. JEFF CARSON, DR. TOM WHITE, DR. PAUL & MARCY KOLKMAN

JOE WURTZ WITH STAN CLANTON All funds raised from this event will go toward the Methodist Hospital Acute Rehabilitation Center’s therapy gym, which is in need of vital upgrades. This is where patients go to receive physical, occupational and speech therapy following traumatic injury, debilitating disease, surgery and—now for some—COVID-19. It’s where they begin the road to restoring their strength and rebuilding their lives.

MIDWEST MEDICAL’S MEDAIR HELICOPTER DROPS GOLF BALLS FOR A “BALL DROP RAFFLE”

VOLUNTEERS BRITTNEY BOSTIC AND SARAH LINDAU

Those who showed up to offer their support will help upgrade the therapy equipment and improve the space, making it more efficient for the important work that takes place there every day.

We thank all participants who joined us in supporting patients, their families and staff by participating in the Methodist Golf Classic as a sponsor and/or golfer. The event was held on Tuesday, August 11, 2020 for a day of fun and fundraising. VOLUNTEERS CAROLE DEBUSE AND SNOOKY CAMPAGNA

WINNER OF BALL DROP WITH LUCKY #93 – DAVE NUTSCH

LARRY PEARSON MAKES A PUTT

JASON ABBOUD, METHODIST HOSPITAL CEO JOSIE ABBOUD, JULIE & TED MURRAY 55

CAPTIONS

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Photos courtesy Project Houseworks

A FRESH COAT OF

Caring

Project Houseworks 31st Annual Brush Up When: August 15, 2020 VOLUNTEER TEAM : CORPORATE SPONSOR 3M

VOLUNTEER TEAM: ST. PAUL’S UNITED METHODIST CHURCH

VOLUNTEER TEAM: AMERICAN EXPRESS

VOLUNTEER TEAM: OMAHA JAYCEES

Where: Douglas and Sarpy counties Why: There is a great need in our community to assist lowincome senior homeowners with maintaining their homes. By providing no-cost solutions that increase safety and accessibility, seniors can remain safe at home, which allows them to age in place. The annual Brush Up event pairs volunteers who are committed to giving back to the community with senior homeowners who qualify for this free paint service. This event connects the community in more ways than one and has impacted thousands of lives over the past 31 years! Sponsors: Mammel Foundation, Lozier, Tenaska, Diamond Vogel, Gavilon, 3M, TD Ameritrade, White Castle Roofing, Runza, and CiShirts Attendance: 435 Volunteers Amount Raised: $43,075 Mission: The mission of Project Houseworks is to provide low-income senior homeowners with solutions that allow them to stay safely housed in healthy environments by delivering free, professional home repairs and home modifications.

VOLUNTEER TEAM: AMERICAN EXPRESS

VOLUNTEER TEAM: OMAHA WESTSIDE LIONS CLUB

VOLUNTEER TEAM: OMAHA JAYCEES

VOLUNTEER TEAM: CENTERSPHERE CHAPTER 40 “CRAZY SOCKS”

About: Two programs represent Project Houseworks’ core services. Our Home Repair Program allows homeowners to stay in their homes by providing free critical plumbing and electrical repairs, roof and HVAC repairs and replacements, and other renovations requiring immediate attention. Our Home Modification Program allows homeowners with disabilities to remain in their homes by providing free tubto-shower conversions, installing grab bars, ramps, flooring repair and other modifications that assist disabled homeowners with at-home mobility and safety. On Saturday, August 15, we celebrated the 31st annual Brush Up event with 30 volunteer teams coming together to paint homes for 24 low-income seniors across Douglas and Sarpy counties. The transformations are incredible, and we are so thankful to everyone who supported the event! Brush Up is a pillar event in our community that not only greatly benefits the senior homeowners we serve, but also helps to revitalize neighborhoods and brings pride to that area. To date, Brush Up has served 2,929 families in the Omaha metro Area, 83,174 volunteers have applied to participate, and 43,000 gallons of paint and primer have been used. Next year’s paint day is August 21, 2021, and we cannot wait to revive even more homes in our community. modifications.

VOLUNTEER TEAM: CENTERSPHERE CHAPTER 40 “CRAZY SOCKS”

VOLUNTEER TEAM: CORPORATE SPONSOR TENASKA 56

For more information: If you or someone you know needs your home painted, please call Project Houseworks at CAPTIONS (402) 965-9201.

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Photos courtesy Rejuvenating Women and Debra S. Kaplan

RESTORING

Dignity

Rejuvenating Women Restored Wings “Beautifully Broken” Gala When: September 10, 2020 PETER OWENS, DEREK ODEN, BENJAMIN UNGERMAN, KATINA UNGERMAN, CAPTIONS CYNTOIA BROWN-LONG, JULIE SHRADER, ANGIE AND CONGRESSMAN DON BACON

Where: Embassy Suites La Vista Why: The Restored Wings Gala is Rejuvenating Women’s largest annual fundraiser and it helps to support human trafficked individuals living at the recovery home. The proceeds help fund the 24/7 trauma-informed therapeutic programs and services. Special Guests: Honorary Chairs Douglas County Sheriff Tim and Sue Dunning

TWO FRIENDS OF REJUVENATING WOMEN WITH ROBBIE AND MIKE FRANK AND KRAIG WILLIAMS

VERIZON MEDIA TEAM MEMBERS

Sponsors: Henry Davis, Verizon Media, Thrasher Foundation Repair, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts and First Lady Susanne Shore Event Planner: planit inc. Attendance: 539 (includes 60 attendees online) Amount Raised: $165,000

OMAHA MAYOR JEAN STOTHERT

SUE AND SHERIFF TIM DUNNING

Event Summary: Cyntoia Brown-Long was incredible and moved attendees to tears with her powerful testimony of hope. The first-ever hybrid event was fantastic and the Rejuvenating Women team thanks everyone who was a part of this memorable evening. Mission: Providing hope and restoration for individuals of human trafficking and exploitation. About: Rejuvenating Women assists in the prevention of future human trafficking by providing a trauma-informed short and long-term term housing recovery program while helping to restore physical, emotional and spiritual health. For more information: (800) 402-0601, www.rejuvenatingwomen.com

KEYNOTE SPEAKER CYNTOIA BROWN-LONG

THRASHER FOUNDATION REPAIR TEAM

CAPTIONS

JULIE SHRADER, JAIME AND CYNTOIA LONG AND JENNIFER SNOW 57

JULIE SHRADER AND SHERIFF TIM DUNNING AWARDED FOR OUTSTANDING SERVICE AGAINST HUMAN TRAFFICKING

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Photos courtesy Mid-america Council, Boy Scouts of america

EXEMPLARY

Citizenship Mid-America Council, Boy Scouts of America 2020 Citizen of the Year When: October 12, 2020 JOHNNY RODGERS WHITNEY M. YOUNG JR. SERVICE AWARD

NOAH AUSTIN, EAGLE SCOUT, TROOP 282

CINDY SMITH, REX TILLERSON, WALTER SCOTT, AMY SCOTT

REX TILLERSON

MIKE YANNEY, GAIL YANNEY, JOHNNY RODGERS, AYVEION NUNN, JOHN CHRISTENSEN

2020 WALTER SCOTT, JR. CITIZEN OF THE YEAR MIKE YANNEY, GAIL YANNEY

JOHNNY RODGERS, THOMAS WARREN

CHRIS MEHAFFEY, SHAWN OSWALD KETV: 2020 CORPORATE PARTNER OF THE YEAR

Where: Scott Conference Center Why: Due to COVID-19, the luncheon was broadcast virtually to the generous corporations and individuals who financially supported the event. Only 30 guests, comprised mainly of family, attended in person at the Scott Conference Center. Other individuals supporting the program: Steve Seline, event chairman; Sue Seline, emcee; Craig Irvin, Baritone vocalist; Sean Kelly, pianist; Bishop J. Scott Barker, invocation; Thomas Warren, presenter; Chanda Chacón, presenter; Noah Austin, Eagle Scout; David Scott, presenter; Fr. Daniel S. Hendrickson. Special Guests: Rex Tillerson, Wayne Perry, Chris Perry Sponsors: Burlington Capital, MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company, Seline Family Foundation, Valmont Industries, First National Bank, Lori & David Scott Foundation, Suzanne & Walter Scott Foundation, Baxter Auto Group, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Nebraska, Children’s Hospital, Goldenrod Companies, HDR Inc., Holland Basham Architects, JE Dunn, Kiewit Corporation, Lueder Construction Co., Union Pacific Foundation, Westin Foods, John K. & Lynne Boyer Family Foundation, Walnut Private Equity Partners, Access Bank, Aksarben Foundation, Baird Holm Law Offices, CIT Bank, Creighton University, Dan Hamann, Gary Gates, Susan Morris, John Wilson, Heider Family Foundation, Lockwood Development Inc., Metropolitan Community College, Owen Industries, Security National Bank, SilverStone Group, Singer Foundation, Smith Kroeger, UNO, UNMC Multimedia/Rentals by: Dog & Pony Productions, AV/video; Debra Kaplan, photography; Renze Display, backdrop; Alonso Castillo, graphic design; Barnhart Press, programs; STEMS Florist, centerpieces; The Crystal Forge, centerpieces Attendance: Limited to 30 in person with large 100+ virtual audience Amount Raised: $255,000 Event Summary: Rex Tillerson provided a keynote address to the virtual audience speaking on topics of citizenship, democracy and Scouting. Tillerson is best known as a past BSA national president, the former CEO of one of the world’s most powerful companies, ExxonMobil, and the 69th United States Secretary of State. He is also one of the world’s most respected experts on leadership and a tireless advocate of Scouting as a training ground for leaders of tomorrow.

STEVE AND SUE SELINE

CHRIS MEHAFFEY, JOHNNY RODGERS, STEVE SELINE 58

For more information: (402) 431-9272, mac-bsa.org CAPTIONS

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Photos courtesy Centro Latino of iowa

CELEBRATION OF

Heritage

Centro Latino of Iowa Virtual Latino Festival of Iowa

MEXICAN FOOD TRUCK

LATINO FESTIVAL PROCLAMATION BY THE CITY MAYOR

Since 2013, Centro Latino of Iowa has been organizing an annual cultural festival celebrating the Latino heritage of Southwest during the National Hispanic Heritage Month. This year was the first “virtual” festival respecting public health guidelines for not having large group gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic. When: October 10, 2020 Where: Virtual

GUACAMOLE TASTING

FOOD TRUCK OWNER

Why: Since 2013, the Centro Latino of Iowa has presented an annual cultural festival celebrating the Latino heritage of Southwest Iowans. The original intent has been to both celebrate the Latino/Hispanic heritage and Latino families living and working in Iowa and also to invite the broader community to come enjoy a day of Latino culture as well. We strive to build community cohesion and understanding, and this is one very fun way that we do it every year. Special Guests: Alexis Arai y Sus Caballeros Mariachi Trio, Danza Azteca Mexican Folkloric Group Sponsors: Veridian Credit Union, All Care Health Center, Iowa Total Care, Lund-Ross Company, FetchKids, Centris Federal Credit Union Attendance: 1,000

MARIACHI MUSICAL TRIO LEAD SINGER

MEXICAN FOLKLORIC DANCE GROUP

Amount Raised: $5,000 Mission: The mission of Centro Latino of Iowa is to educate and empower Hispanic/Latino individuals and families towards thriving, self-sufficient, and healthy lives. About: Centro Latino of Council Bluffs is the premier bilingual and bicultural Hispanic/Latino center in Council Bluffs. Some of our activities and services include family support, civic engagement, immigration legal assistance, economic development, adult education, and cultural education

MARIACHI MUSICAL TRIO MEMBER

CENTRO LATINO STAFF WITH MARIACHI MUSICAL TRIO

For more information: (712) 256-9590, sucentrolatino.com

CAPTIONS

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Photos courtesy FiTgirl, inc., Omaha Running Club and andrea Hoig

FIT FOR THE

Long Run FITGirl, Inc. Go Girl 5K Run/Walk When: September 7, 2020 CAPTIONS

CAPTIONS

Where: Peak Performance-The Running Store, 78th and Cass Streets Why: Benefit for FITGirl, Inc. Special Guests: Cheri Dickmeyer, FITGirl, Inc. Founder Sponsors: Heartland Audio, Hy-Vee, Lawlor’s Sporting Goods, Trader Joe’s, metroMAGAZINE Attendance: 96 Amount Raised: $1,000 Event Summary: Almost 100 participants turned out for the 23rd annual Go Girl 5K presented by the Omaha Running Club to benefit FITGirl, Inc. The organization encourages and motivates women and girls to maintain a healthy, active lifestyle through running. Girls who stay active are more likely to develop positive coping skills, increased self-worth and increased confidence. For more information: (402) 980-1701, www.omaharun.org

THIS EVENT WAS SPONSORED IN PART BY

CAPTIONS

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Photos courtesy Monika Sempek

PARTYING

Partners Chariots4Hope Shufflin’ Home 5th Annual Fundraiser When: October 17, 2020 CAPTIONS

CAPTIONS

Where: Omaha Quartermaster Depot Historic District Why: Heading into our sixth year as an organization, we finally secured a location that will allow us to centralize our services and programs under one roof. All funds raised will be applied towards renovating our new space and launching our new programs. So happy to reveal this beautiful new space to all our supporters and recipients!

CAPTIONS

CAPTIONS

Sponsors: “All Our Shufflin’” sponsors: Gina V Physical Therapy, Anderson Auto Group and Pinnacle Construction. “Footloose” sponsors: Wilhelm Mortgage, The Lathams, Kreativ Element. “Feel the Rhythm” sponsors: Owners Pride, US Property, Nebraska Realty, Inter Tech Collision Centers, Avenue Scholars, B Douglas Construction, Mr. Car Shipper, Legion Digital, The Tuckers, Jerry’s Chevrolet & Corvette Center. Event Planner: AZ + Co. Food/Drink Vendors: Take Em’ Catering, Carson’s Cooke Fix, E Creamery, Proof & Chesterman Co. Coca-Cola. Attendance: 380 Amount Raised: $65,000 and counting

CAPTIONS

CAPTIONS

Theme: Parking Lot Party! This one-of-a-kind event was family-friendly with several outdoor activities. We had food trucks, a car show, the "Quick 60” car event, soda pop shop, deejay, Car Shuffle dance and several other Pit Stops for guests to enjoy. It was such a beautiful fall day to share our vision for our new home and we were honored to hear from one of our amazing recipients, Lori, and how Chariots4Hope has impacted her life. For more information: (402) 516-8301, Chariots4Hope.org, info@chariots4hope.org

CAPTIONS

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CAPTIONS

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Photos courtesy Fashion arts Collective

MAKING AN

Impact!

Fashion Arts Collective Fashion Impact Awards

DEANNA BOSSELMAN

SHELLEY HOURIGAN, MINDY DUFF, HANNAH THOMAS, LORI FALTER AND DIANA FOSTER

The Fashion Arts Collective (Formerly Fashion Institute Midwest) Annual Gala, the Fashion Impact Awards, was presented by the Fashion Guild. The 7th annual gala honored individuals and organizations making an impact on the Midwest through the art of fashion design. Due to COVID-19, this season we had a virtual satellite gala. Our community hosted individual parties in homes, with hors d'oeuvres, cocktails, silent auction items and logoed masks made by designers to celebrate safely. This year’s event, held on October 10, 2020, recognized Deanna Bosselman as an award winner for her philanthropic impact on the fashion community. The evening was a big success, raising nearly $30,000.

SILENT AUCTION COMMISSIONED DESIGNER BUF REYNOLDS TO CREATE FASHION ILLUSTRATIONS OF EACH GUEST

CAPTIONS

This money will allow us to keep our doors open and provide support to our area designers. All funds raised will go towards Fashion Arts Collective’s designer education and workroom needs. The funding from our contributors and sponsors allow us to expand awareness and appreciation for the art of Fashion Design as exhibited through talent right here in the Midwest.

HEATHER AND JAMESON HOOTON

JUSTINE PETSCH, CHRISTINA SHEETS, JACQELLE LANE

TUNING IN FROM GONZAGA UNIVERSITY IN WASHINGTON, TREASURERS SUSIE AND BRIAN SHOEMAKER AND FRIENDS

MIRANDA TINGLEY, TERESA DILTS, ALYSSA DILTS

VIRTUAL FASHION SHOW VIA ZOOM

CANDI AND DAVE KIRKWOOD WEARING BORRIS POWELL’S “SIPPY” MASKS 66

For more information visit fashionartscollective.org. The new website highlights FAC’s purpose and supportive entities: The Fashion Guild (formerly Fashion Institute Guild), The Workroom (physical workspace open to the public), and Marketplace (new entity to employ local designers for production).

DAVE HOHMAN, MELISSA DAHIR, SAM HOHMAN

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Photos courtesy Omaha Symphony guild | Cynthia Kohll Photography

ARTISTIC

Virtual-osity” Omaha Symphony Guild Table Art 2020 - The Virtual Event When: The online auction kicked off June 23, 2020, with the Table Art event remaining on demand July 9-30, 2020 Where: www.omahasymphony.org/table-art-2020-the-virtual-event

CAPTIONS

CAPTIONS

Special Guests: Tom Brennan, Waterford Master Craftsman and Spokesperson; Diane Nelson, Former Nebraska First Lady and Honorary Chairman; Music provided by Anne Nagosky and Ben Rasmussen; Photography and Videography courtesy Cynthia Kohll Sponsors: Waterford, Borsheims, Diana and Robert Foster, Pinnacle Bank, Streck, Valmont, Baxter, Mary Ellen Wychulis, Diane Nelson, Cynthia Kohll, Mary Joy Anderson, Bou•quet and Julia Russell Interior Design Catered by: Happy Hollow Club Attendance: 430 Amount Raised: $45,000 For more information: (402) 661-8581 www.omahasymphony.org/omaha-symphony-guild

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Photos courtesy Heart Heroes, inc.

SUPER

Powered Heart Heroes, Inc. Superhero Heart Run Virtual When: September 20, 2020 Where: Virtual Why: Raise funds to support children and families affected by congenital heart defects. CAPTIONS

CAPTIONS

Attendance: 540 Amount Raised: $55,200 Mission: To provide support to children and families affected by Congenital Heart Defects (CHD) through the distribution of superhero capes, programs to offer hope and awareness initiatives to increase funding for CHD research. About: We were founded in Omaha, Nebraska. We empower our Heart Heroes and families with our custom Heart Heroes’ Cape and offer free family networking events. We provide family & grief support. We advocate educate, and increase awareness for CHD. For more information: (402) 960-9287, heartheroes.org

CAPTIONS

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Photos courtesy Make-a-Wish® nebraska

JUST A

Wish AWAY Make-A-Wish® Nebraska 2020 Blue Jean Ball- Mission: Possible When: August 8, 2020 Where: Virtual (Facebook and YouTube)

CAPTIONS

CAPTIONS

Why: For the health and safety of its patrons, staff, volunteers, and most importantly, its wish kids, MakeA-Wish Nebraska made the difficult decision to turn its annual Blue Jean Ball into a virtual event. Although the format was different, the mission remained the same: raise crucial funds to help grant the wishes of critically ill children right here in Nebraska. Thanks to all the generous sponsors and viewers, this event raised over $321,000, which will be used to grant the wishes of children battling critical illnesses right here in Nebraska. Special Guests: Actor and comedian Adam Devine Attendance: over 1.1K views Amount Raised: $321,000 Mission: Together, we create life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses.

CAPTIONS

CAPTIONS

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For more information: view the recorded program on Make-A-Wish Nebraska’s Facebook page and YouTube channel or at missionstillpossible.com.

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event galleries

Photos courtesy intercultural Senior Center

SINCERELY FOR

Seniority

Intercultural Senior Center BASH 2020 When: August 27, 2020 Where: Virtual

CAPTIONS

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR CAROLINA PADILLA

Why: At the same time COVID-19 caused ISC to suspend in-person programming and cancel our annual fundraising event, there was a sharp increase in the number of older adults seeking food assistance, meals and hygiene items. The BASH 2020 event captured all of the fun of our signature ISC World Bash while focusing on the acute needs of seniors during this pandemic and raising funds to assist them. Special Guests: Kirk and Teresa Kellner Sponsors: Weitz Family Foundation, American Machine Works, Kiewit, and more Multimedia/Rentals by: Digital Moxie Studio Amount Raised: over $64,000 Fore more information: (402) 444-6529, www.interculturalseniorcenter.org

TAQUITOS AND GUACAMOLE FROM MEXICO

NEW CARGO VAN FOR FOOD PANTRY DELIVERIES

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Photos courtesy Dreamweaver Foundation

CLOSING THE

Distance

Dreamweaver Foundation delivers Facebook Portals to Area Seniors With social distancing preventing seniors from being with families and friends, Dreamweaver Foundation has provided seniors more than 200 small videocalling devices called Facebook Portals, making it possible for them to virtually connect with loved ones who have Portals, smartphones or tablets. Due to ongoing demand, Dreamweaver started a fundraising campaign to purchase additional devices for seniors in southeast Nebraska and western Iowa. “Most seniors who receive a Portal are connecting with their loved ones with clear picture and sound for the first time in months,” Executive Director Cheri Mastny said. “The reactions range from tears of joy to an overwhelming sense of relief and independence.” Dreamweaver Foundation is dedicated to fulfilling the dreams of seniors in need who are terminally ill, making their lifelong dreams come true through incredible experiences they will never forget. For more information, to donate or nominate a senior to receive a Facebook Portal, visit Dreamweaver.org.

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event galleries

Photos courtesy Heartland Family Service

FORE! A GREAT

Cause

Heartland Family Service 27th Annual Safe Haven Golf Tourney When: August 28, 2020 Where: Eagle Hills Golf Course, Papillion Why: To raise funds for the Heartland Family Service Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault program, including the Safe Haven concealed emergency shelter to protect women, men, and children escaping violence.

CAPTIONS

Presenting Sponsors: Arby’s Panda, Inc. and Pinnacle Bank Caterer: Arby’s Panda, Inc. provided boxed lunches for all golfers Event Planner: Mitch McCartney Attendance: 105 golfers Amount Raised: $41,085 Mission: The mission of Heartland Family Service is to strengthen individuals and families in our community through education, counseling and support services. For more information: HeartlandFamilyService.org HONORARY CHAIR MATT SMITH

THE CORE BANK TEAM TOOK FIRST PLACE IN THE TOURNAMENT

PRESENTS Project Hope is a series of free virtual mental health support sessions for X first responders X essential workers X students

Starting online this November. Learn more at www.explorecrossroads.com/projecthope 72

Mental health experts will provide guidance on managing relationships, staying connected while socially distant, overcoming compassion fatigue, dealing with vicarious trauma, and taking ownership of your time right now when everything feels out of control.

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Photos courtesy Ronald McDonald House Charities in Omaha

LIGHTING A

Way

Ronald McDonald House Charities in Omaha Light Up The Night’ Virtual Gala

CAPTIONS

DES MOINES BASED PIANOPALOOZA

TOP SPONSORS HAD SWAG BAGS AND CHARCUTERIE BOARDS DELIVERED

LIGHT UP THE NIGHT EMCEES AND RMHC CEO

73

When: September 11, 2020 Where: Online Why: During the current pandemic, most RMHC fundraising events have been cancelled. We decided to host a virtual event to provide an entertaining evening program where guests could stay engaged with RMHC and our mission efforts, but also a way to fundraise to support the families we support. Special Guests: Co-Emcees - Scott Voorhees & Jonathan Leymaster Sponsors: Nebraska Medicine, CL Werner Foundation, WOWT 6 News, Silverhawk Aviation, Noddle Companies, The David Spence Cancer Foundation, Leonard Management, Valmont Catered by: Gather & Graze Multimediarentals by: Dundee Digital & Pianopalooza Attendance: 177 Amount Raised: $98,969 For more information: (402) 346-9377, www.rmhcomaha.org

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Press release courtesy Omaha Home for Boys

PLANNING

Ahead

Omaha Home for Boys Seeking Donations for Area Youth

CAPTIONS

Omaha Home for Boys (OHB) is holding its annual holiday gift and essentials drive, Project Christmas Joy, and is asking the public to help make the holidays special for area youth, young adults, children and families. Project Christmas Joy is taking place December 1 through 15 with a goal to provide every client at OHB with both necessities and a special gift at Christmas. Bailey Perry, Self Sufficiency Director at OHB, notes just how impactful the public’s support of Project Christmas Joy is, saying, “We try to give every youth in our programs a few gifts at Christmas, and the reality isCAPTIONS that for some, it’s the first time they’ve had the opportunity to experience this aspect of the holidays. They are truly grateful for everything they receive.”

“When we celebrate the holidays with our young people, it is often times the only Christmas celebration they get to have,” said Gustoff. “I can’t tell you how many times over the years I’ve encountered a young adult who literally cried over getting something as simple as a warm blanket or a set of hat and gloves. The gratitude that these kids show for the gifts that they receive continues to amaze me year after year.” Support of Project Christmas Joy that provides needy youth and families in our community with necessities and simple holiday gifts can be offered in a number of ways. Monetary gifts can be given online at OHB.org/joy or items can be purchased via the “Project Christmas Joy” Amazon Wish List and shipped directly to OHB.

Some of the most critically-needed items include hygiene items, cleaning products, laundry supplies, kitchen essentials, diapers and wipes. Some of the “wants” of OHB’s youth include gift cards (Wal-Mart, TJ MAXX, Kohls, McDonald’s, Quik Trip, Burger King, Uber, Auto Zone), body spray, lotion, nail polish, backpacks, wallets, purses, socks and blankets.

CAPTIONS H

Brandy Gustoff, Chief Programs Officer at OHB, spent many holidays with youth in OHB’s programs when she was the manager of the transitional living program. Gustoff knows firsthand how much having a specialCAPTIONS Christmas means to the young adults at OHB.

n: o n e e as s

the spirit of omaha EXTRAVAGANZA! 8 weeks of contribution…

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Photos courtesy Salvation army Women’s auxiliary (SaWa)

A TASTE OF

Charity

Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary (SAWA) Tastes & Treasures When: August 22-30, 2020 Where: Virtual CAPTIONS

CAPTIONS

Why: Tastes & Treasures raises funds for essential Salvation Army programs addressing hunger, homelessness, mental health, emergency assistance, youth programs and more. The need for these programs is greater than ever because of the pandemic. Special Guests: Terry and Hollye Peterson, honorary co-chairs Sponsors: Diamond Sponsors: Bridges Trust, Terry and Hollye Peterson Foundation; Emerald Sponsors: Access Bank, Friends of SAWA; Sapphire Sponsors: HUB International, Koley Jessen Attorneys, SB Communities LLC, U.S. Bank, Friends of SAWA Attendance: 177 Amount Raised: $117,301

CAPTIONS

CAPTIONS

For more information: (402) 898-7536, centralusa.salvationarmy.org/omaha/womensauxiliary-board/

IN FULL

Swing CHI Health Foundation Swing for Health Golf

CAPTIONS

75

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event galleries

Photos courtesy Omaha Performing arts

FUTURE

Focused Omaha Performing Arts Broadway Ball campaign

CAPTIONS

DISNEY MUSICALS IN SCHOOLS

CAPTIONS

NEBRASKA HIGH SCHOOL THEATER ACADEMY (NHSTA)

event galleries

Omaha Performing Arts (O-pa) has raised $200,000 for its education programs through its Broadway Ball fundraising campaign. The Broadway Ball is a biennial fundraiser hosted by O-pa’s volunteer guild, the Presenters Circle. This year’s campaign was led by chairs Paula and James Blackledge. “We are thankful to all those who donated to make this campaign such a tremendous success,” Sabrina Weiss, O-pa’s vice president of development, said. “These funds play a critical role in supporting O-pa’s arts education programs.” Last year, O-pa reached more than 100,000 students and community members, through a variety of engagement opportunities and learning activities, including two key programs, Disney Musicals in Schools and the Nebraska High School Theater Academy (NHSTA). Disney Musicals in Schools provides musical theater programs in underserved elementary schools. Reaching more than 1,300 students in grades 3-6, teachers bring students together to produce their very own school show. The NHSTA program celebrates high school musicals across Nebraska. It provides master classes, professional feedback on school performances and live Broadway theater experiences, reaching more than 8,000 students from 85 schools annually. O-pa will announce new educational programming opportunities soon. Support from the Broadway Ball ensures virtual and in person programs will continue keeping Nebraska youth connected to the arts.

WALKING

Together Susan G Komen More Than Pink Nebraska Walk

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Photos courtesy Children’s Hospital & Medical Center

ON THE

Greens Children’s Hospital & Medical Center Children’s Charity Golf Classic

NORTHWESTERN MUTUAL 1: BOB THOMPSON, ROB RANDELS, JOHN BAKER, TODD OMMEN

KIEWIT: CHAD WESTPHALEN, ALAN BRODIN, JOHN SIBLEY, DAVID CHRISTENSEN

HEIDER FAMILY FOUNDATION: BILL SWANSON, ERIN SWANSON RUSSELL, JOEL RUSSELL, RICK RUSSELL

HDR: KENDRA THOMPSON, ANDREW PORTIS, LISA LYONS, JEFF LARKA

77

The 30th Annual Children’s Charity Classic, held September 28 at Omaha Country Club, raised a recordbreaking $137,500 for Children’s Hospital & Medical Center. Funds raised will support the Hubbard Center for Children, an expansion project that will make highquality care available to thousands more children in Omaha and across the five-state region. Children’s Charity Classic, presented by HDR and Kiewit, drew 108 golfers to the sold-out event. Participants enjoyed beautiful weather, pre-assigned tee times, box lunches courtesy of The Heider Family Foundation and a cocktail reception sponsored by Northwestern Mutual. “With so many fundraising events canceled this year, we are pleased that Children’s Charity Classic could continue with some adjustments for everyone’s safety,” said Beth Greiner, Executive Director, Children’s Hospital & Medical Center Foundation. “For 30 years, our supporters have demonstrated their commitment to Children’s mission of improving the life of every child, and we are so grateful for their overwhelming generosity in 2020.”

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event galleries

Photos courtesy The 712 initiative

BIKER

Powered The 712 Initiative BIKEtober in the Bluffs When: October 3, 2020 Where: Council Bluffs

CYCLISTS TAKE OFF

BEFORE THE START

Why: A fun event to support the Pottawattamie County Trails Association and The 712 Initiative’s mission of social engagement and healthy lifestyles. Sponsors: Judd Knispel, State Farm Agent and Dickinson Investment Advisors Attendance: 181 cyclists Mission: The 712 Initiative is aimed at improving the economic vitality in redevelopment areas through investments in built environment, activating public spaces and delivering programs that increase social engagement and healthy lifestyles. For more information: (712) 396-2494, the712initiative.org

DURING THE START

event galleries

IN GOOD SPIRITS

Photos courtesy immigrant Legal Center

TRUCKING FOR

Freedom

Immigrant Legal Center Food Truck World Tour When: October 11, 2020 Where: Millwork Commons Why: Raise funds to support immigrant families in our community MARIA BONITA FOOD TRUCK

EVENT HOST COMMITTEE CO-CHAIRS: LAURA AND GREG CHAMBERS WITH DANA AND JOSH BARTEE

Sponsors: Omaha Steaks, Todd and Betiana Simon, Warren Distribution, Bob and Polina Schlott, Millwork Commons, Paul and Annette Smith, Weitz Family Foundation, Mike and Susan Lebens, Justice for Our Neighbors, Verizon Media, Mulhall’s, Noddle Companies Catered by: Omaha Steaks, Maria Bonita Mexican Cuisine, El Arepon Venezuelan Food, Okra African Grill, Wonton Jon’s, The Parthenon Event Planner: Vic Gutman & Associates Attendance: 405 Amount Raised: $200,659 For more information: (402) 898-1349, immigrantlc.org

HOBSON POWELL, DENISE POWELL, AND FAMILY

TOM SIMMS, MARY UMBERGER, NATALIE SIMMS 78

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Photos courtesy angels among Us

POWERING

Through

Surrender

Angels Among Us

Angels Among Us

Childhood Cancer Doesn’t Stop When a Pandemic Hits

CAPTIONS

CAPTIONS

NEVER Childhood Cancer Doesn’t Stop When a Pandemic Hits

Angels Among Us is supporting a record number of pediatric cancer families amid a global pandemic. 2020 has been a difficult year for all, and for the childhood cancer families living in and being treated in our state, this year has brought additional financial hardship,CAPTIONS fear, and many unknowns. Angels Among Us has already supported more than 115 families and given over $400,000 in support by paying rent, mortgage, utilities, car payments, medical bills, and other expenses—all to try and help keep families focused on what matters most: their sick child.

We ask the Omaha community to consider getting involved if you are able. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Angels Among Us will be left short of its budgeted goal, and in order to help keep its financial commitments to childhood cancer families, a $40,000 end-of-year goal has been set. Please consider giving amounts such as $500, which covers a rent/mortgage payment for the month; $300, which is the average car payment; or $100 to help pay utilities. In a year where Angels Among Us is needed most by pediatric cancer families, Angels Among Us needs the Omaha community the most.

Due to a child’s cancer diagnosis, one parent is often either forced to leave their job or loses their job, and during COVID-19 many of our families have experienced additional income loss. Angels Among Us has needed to provide additional emergency support to some families to keep them afloat during this difficult year, a year where Angels Among Us is experiencing a funding gap. Three in-person events were either canceled completely or moved to a virtual platform,CAPTIONS resulting in less income, and Angels Among Us needs you this holiday season.

Please consider giving generously at myangelsamongus.org, sending a check to Angels Among Us | 3858 Jones Street, Suite A | Omaha, NE 68105, or contacting Angels Among Us for more information at info@myangelsamongus.org. Another way to help cancer families during this holiday season is to check out the item wish list at shareomaha.org.

Photos courtesy The Kim Foundation

We believe there are angels among us. We need you to be one.

HOPEFUL

Healers The Kim Foundation A Time for Hope & Healing When: October 20, 2020 Where: Virtual

CAPTIONS

CAPTIONS

Why: A Time for Hope & Healing is our annual event which has the purpose to unite the community to further our mission. Special Guests: Scarlett & JT Lewis Sponsors: Platinum: Bridges Trust & Harrison Financial Services - Northwestern Mutual. Silver: American National Bank, CHI Health, ESU #3, Heider Family Foundation, Medical Solutions, Methodist, Schwarz & Associates LLC, Valmont & WoodmenLife plus an additional 15 organizations/companies who sponsored Watch Parties. Attendance: 400 Mission: The Kim Foundation is A Supportive Resource and Compassionate Voice for Lives Touched by Mental Illness and Suicide. For more information: (402) 891-6911, thekimfoundation.org

CAPTIONS

CAPTIONS 79

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Photos courtesy Heartland Family Service

Give to H elp

Vulnerab le Familie s in South west Iow DONAT a!

E NOW! TEXT:

RAD TO

Todd & Ma ry Family Fou Heistand ndation

RADICAL

Givers

Heartland Family Service Text-To-Give Campaign

2437

ice. amilyServ HeartlandF

org

Community supporters and donors joined in an effort, led by Heartland Family Service, to raise more than $46,000 to improve the lives of vulnerable individuals, children, and families in southwest Iowa.

25

Thank Yo u to Our 2020 “S trike a Ch ord” Spon sors!

CAPTIONS

CAPTIONS

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s Heartland Family Service “Strike a Chord” Gala was canceled. Thanks to generous event sponsors, $41,300 was raised prior to the cancellation. In addition, a textto-give event was created in September to supplement the funds already raised. Another $5,390 was secured from donors who participated in the text-to-give campaign, for a total of $46,690 in funds raised to support Heartland Family Service programs in southwest Iowa. The 2020 “Strike a Chord” Text-to-Give Event sponsors were the Todd & Mary Heistand Family Foundation, American National Bank, Lockton Companies, Kiewit Corporation, Pinnacle Bank, Warren Distribution, TS Bank, Black Hills Energy, and First National Bank.

CAPTIONS

CAPTIONS

Photos courtesy Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals

event galleries

Donations are still being accepted for the “Strike a Chord” campaign online at HeartlandFamilyService.org/donate-now/

MILES

Ahead Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals Omaha Campus Miles for Madonna When: October 3, 2020 Where: Virtual CAPTIONS

JASMINE ALEXANDER IN FRONT OF TITLE SPONSOR SCHEELS

Why: To raise funds for world-class rehabilitation at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals. Sponsors: Scheels, Cox Business, Omaha Media Group, Mobility Motoring, Hy-Vee, Cunningham’s, Pitch, Regal Printing, Aloft Omaha West, Fleet Feet Attendance: 276 representing 12 states and 49 cities Amount Raised: Exceeded goal About: Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals offers world-class rehabilitation for patients who are rebuilding their lives from brain trauma, spinal cord injuries, stroke, cancer, neurological diseases and complex pulmonary conditions. For more information: (402) 401-5052

CAPTIONS BRAD NIETFELDT WITH OMAHA MEDIA GROUP TEAM

LORI CAMPBELL AND MICHELLE ROONEY 80

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ADAPTING TO MEET YOUR NEEDS!

RESERVE YOUR SPACE EARLY & SAVE!

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anniversary EDITION

receive priority promotion in our

SaVe the Date and SCene departments in every issue of

metromagaZine prior to and following your important events receive priority promotion on our

SoCial meDia sites such as our faCeBooK page receive priority promotion for your run/walk events with our

m.a.D. 25 partnership option register your events FREE on

Spiritofomaha.Com’S re-imagineD neW feature-paCKeD Community CalenDar and update or revise it 365/24/7 promote your agenda in our

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Look for more information via email, mobile and other virtual resources as we ADAPT to meet your needs in 2020/21 AND BEYOND!


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metroMAGAZINE: The DIVERSITY Issue 2020  

metroMAGAZINE presents The DIVERSITY Issue 2020 online now! metroMAGAZINE is published quarterly by ALH Publications, serving the Omaha/Linc...

metroMAGAZINE: The DIVERSITY Issue 2020  

metroMAGAZINE presents The DIVERSITY Issue 2020 online now! metroMAGAZINE is published quarterly by ALH Publications, serving the Omaha/Linc...

Profile for metmago