2022 Impact Report

Forging Our Path Towards a Brighter Tomorrow

Wherever we come from, whatever our hopes and dreams, we’re all on the same path — toward tomorrow. As residents of the greater Grand Island area, we are companions on that journey, and the quality of life we find there depends on us. All of us.

The Greater Grand Island Community Foundation serves as a force to pull us together toward the common destination of a brighter tomorrow — for everyone. Sometimes, the signposts are tangible, like a new building or a sculpture on a street corner. Other times, they’re more ethereal, like safety for our fellow humans or health for our companion animals.

Keep scrolling to see how our Foundation serves as a catalyst, turning the passions of individuals into purpose and powering our communities down the path toward tomorrow.

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2022 By The Numbers

  • $2,533,398
    in gifts received
  • $26,301,211
    in total assets
  • 16 Funds
  • $2,825,503
    awarded in grants
  • $266,550
    in scholarships

New building provides bigger, better space for foundation

The Foundation moved into a home all its own in May after renovating their new building on the corner of 2nd and Madison, purchased in August 2021. The building was partially funded through the "commUNITY Campaign," an appeal to current and former board members, with a lead gift from Van Wolbach and a matching challenge from the Peter Kiewit Foundation.

The building's community room provides space for committee and board meetings and programs such as the Youth Philanthropy Board and the Nonprofit Excellence Institute. The community room, which seats 50, is also available free of charge for use by nonprofit organizations.

Worthwhile projects depend on Donors

A brighter tomorrow is only a pipe dream unless we put our ideas into action. Our donors answer the call and help move projects from the realm of potential into reality. Whether it’s training the leaders of tomorrow or beautifying our community today, donors make it happen.

Youth board builds Philanthropic
leaders of tomorrow

For a donor interested in supporting a community program, the Youth Philanthropy Board delivers a long-term impact few causes can match. In this two-year program, high school juniors and seniors learn about the art, science and business of community philanthropy.

They develop into the giving leaders of tomorrow by studying the Three Pillars of Philanthropy:

  1. Creating Community Impact
  2. Vitalizing Donor Engagement
  3. Building Strategic Volunteerism

"The Youth Philanthropy Board is giving area youth a taste of the real world of philanthropy. It teaches important life skills while building a connection back to the community, something that Hornady values deeply. It also forces them out of their comfort zones interacting with adults they don’t know."

Jason Hornady, Vice President
Hornady Manufacturing

"YPB supports young leaders and cultivates a strong philanthropic culture. Our hope is that YPB empowers the next generation of leaders, builds connection to community and helps them see a future for themselves in Nebraska."

Paul Ternes, Community Investment Officer
Peter Kiewit Foundation

Together Toward a more artful railside

Just as tomorrow remains to be seen, a stroll around downtown Grand Island may be full of surprises, thanks to donors who support Sculpture Walk Railside. The Foundation serves as fiscal sponsor for the revolving art display, and donors offset the cost of moving the art, installation, program administration and a $1,000 stipend to each artist.

The program places curated sculptures around the Railside district each May for a one-year stay. Ten pieces were selected for the first year of Sculpture Walk Railside, while 12 were chosen this year. The sculptures are available for sale with a 25% commission going to the sculpture walk fund. Grand Island participates in Sculpture Walk Across Nebraska with Norfolk and Valentine.

The Foundation sponsored the Carmen Marimba sculpture (right), one of ten sculptures included in the 2022 Sculpture Walk Railside.

Fund Holdersleave a legacy for the future

Establishing a fund with the Foundation is all about having an impact on the community — during your lifetime and beyond. Fund holders create a legacy that benefits the areas of the community that matter the most to them, bringing their passion together with purpose.

Stelk Scholarship helps build brighter tomorrows

One of many scholarship funds administered through the Foundation, the new Mark and Wanda Stelk Family Scholarship has been established for students with a financial need. It is available to graduating seniors from Grand Island Senior High or a nontraditional student who has graduated in the past three years. Recipients must attend a four-year college or university, community college or trade school, full time.

Lillian Miller (top left) and Emma Tennant (bottom left) were the first recipients of the Stelk Scholarship. Wanda and Mark Stelk pictured above.
New fund puts sick animals on a path to health

The Foundation and Voice for Companion Animals collaborated to keep people and their pets together with the new Happy Tails Fund. The fund helps pet owners with financial needs pay for medical care for their sick or injured animals. An anonymous donor designated $25,000 to form the fund, and VCA’s Robyn Mays worked with the Foundation to create guidelines and a distribution process.

“Voice for Companion Animals is so grateful to be able to work with the Foundation to make Happy Tails a reality. It has always been our mission to help keep pets in their homes, and this new program fits right in with who we are.”
Robyn Mays
Voice for Companion Animals
STOP Fund marks five years of community impact

Since its beginning five years ago, the STOP Fund has granted $55,546 to Stop Trafficking On the Plains. Founded by Cyndi and Dale Wieseman and Susan and Travis Hageman, the STOP Fund’s grants have provided direct services to trafficking survivors and training for those who work with survivors or work to prevent human trafficking. Grant recipients have included enCourage Advocacy Center, First Light Child Advocacy Center, the Grand Island Police Department, Salvation Army, Set Me Free Project and Willow Rising.

Through banquets, online events and participation in Go Big Give, the group has also raised a $200,000 endowment to help continue its work. The STOP Fund also helped found the Grand Island Area Coalition on Trafficking and continues to participate in the organization.

Partnering with Nonprofits
for a brighter tomorrow

Better tomorrows don't just happen, even with a variety of nonprofits in place in a community. Organizations need sustainability and leadership to make good on their goals. That's why the Foundation offers training to nonprofit leaders and supports a new effort to turn immigrants into advocates.

NEI continues
to build sustainability for nonprofits

Area organizations build their capacity for doing good in their communities through participation in the Foundation’s Nonprofit Excellence Institute.

NEI sets nonprofit leaders up for success and makes their organizations more sustainable. It assists with identifying each group’s most critical need and developing a solution for it, while fostering a sense of collaboration between nonprofits. Those that complete NEI receive a $5,000 grant to assist their organization with further capacity building.

"NEI provided several things Directors rarely get, including: time and space away from the day to day to look at the big picture, confidential and supportive space with others who understand the challenges of the role, and education and accountability for implementation. I loved having board members participate as well and getting to learn alongside each other. Because of NEI, we’re a stronger, more sustainable organization."
Jo Bair, Executive Director
enCourage Advocacy Center
"NEI was a great experience for YWCA Grand Island.It provided needed time for myself and Board members to develop a stronger relationship. It also provided tools to ensure we were building a stronger, sustainable organization moving into the future."
Amy Bennett, Executive Director
YWCA Grand Island

Newcomers move together toward leadership

The Foundation granted $20,000 over two years for a new program called Elevate Grand Island, which seeks to equip immigrants for leadership roles in their new community. The discretionary grant came from the Francis Cronin Impact Fund. Leadership Unlimited developed Elevate Grand Island in partnership with the Heartland United Way, Multicultural Coalition and Central Community College Adult Education to discover leadership potential, connect newcomers with community opportunities and make Grand Island a more welcoming place. Participants should walk away feeling empowered to engage in the community and advocate for their needs.

Jessica Hendricks, Executive Director
Leadership Unlimited

"Elevate Grand Island is the newest program meeting the Leadership Unlimited mission. Through this program, new Americans learn ways to become involved in our community, navigate American systems and customs, and discover their own leadership potential. We’re very excited for the impact this program will have on our community!

Learn more about the program
Hear directly from program participants

Participants will attend seven three-hour sessions with five primary objectives:
  • Educate new Americans about Grand Island.
  • Develop professional and leadership skills.
  • Prepare participants for the next step in their career or vocation.
  • Understand cultural differences.
  • Connect with organizations, businesses and agencies.

Serving the Communities
that bring us together

As a Foundation, we never forget the importance of the word "community" in our name. We support projects that bring neighbors together to celebrate their heritage, donate to nonprofit causes and commemorate those who left us too soon. We facilitate the programs that move us Together Toward Tomorrow.

Foundation supports free admission to sesquicentennial kickoff

Thanks to support from the Foundation, 1,115 people came through the gates for Stuhr Museum's annual Independence Day celebration, the kickoff to Grand Island's sesquicentennial. The Greater Grand Island Community Foundation was the lead supporter in providing free admission to the museum that day as a celebration of not only July 4th but also the city's 150th birthday, with a year's worth of community activities to follow.

A speech by Mayor Roger Steele was added to annual features such as a parade, cherry-pie-eating contest and German-language church service. Many of those in attendance said they hadn't been to the museum in years or were making their first visit, thanks to the free admission. The museum also sold six new memberships that day.

Doniphan Community Remembers Teen Through Scholarship

The Carley Johnson Memorial Scholarship was established under the Doniphan-Trumbull Education Foundation, an affiliate of the Greater Grand Island Community Foundation. Carley, a 17-year-old Doniphan-Trumbull High School senior, died in a traffic accident in 2021. In honor of Carley's love and dedication to her community, Doniphan-Trumbull seniors who have volunteered or participated in extracurricular activities and plan to seek post-secondary education can apply for the scholarship.

"Receiving the Carley Johnson Memorial Scholarship meant a lot to me personally. Having that scholarship was very helpful to getting into the school of my dreams. I just know that she looks down on me, and I think about some life advice she gave me all the time. I'm just hoping I made her proud."
Dylan Hasset
Scholarship Recipient

Go Big Give sets new record in 24 hours

Record-breaking generosity rocked Go Big GIVE, the 24-hour online giving event, with $1.47 million in donations to 151 participating nonprofits in Hall, Hamilton, Howard and Merrick counties. Organized by the Foundation and the Heartland United Way, Go Big GIVE brings together causes as disparate as arts and culture, armed forces and veterans, environment and parks, for the chance to gather donations outside their normal fundraising channels.

Matching funds and prize money are made available to amplify charitable donations. Nonprofits receive the donations gifted to their organization, as well as a proportional share of the Challenge Match Pool, making brighter tomorrows possible for many in the four-county area. The winner of the $10,000 Greater Grand Island Community Foundation Endowment Prize was Aurora Adopt a Pet.

5,272 donations
to 152 organizations