Our first virtual event, “Thrive Together,” ended yesterday. While we’re sad that we couldn’t get together in person, we still raised more than $100,000 to support our mission and celebrate the communities we serve.
Thrive Together isn’t just a fundraiser. It is our unofficial motto and our belief system, too.
Whereas we’re aware of inequalities throughout our nation, and our state, despite its many strengths, we refuse to let go of our vision: that everyone, families, children, and youth alike, all have the right to live up to their full potential, even during the pandemic. With your help, after this event, we’ve edged a little closer to restoring some of the damage that COVID-19 has done.
Mary Jo Pankoke, Nebraska Children and Families Foundation President and CEO made a striking observation in a similar vein.
“The pandemic has shined a light on glaring inequities that exist for our fellow Nebraskans and Americans,” she said.
That is not to say, however, that we here at Nebraska Children are without hope.
“I’m still encouraged,” said Mary Jo, “Because I see so many Nebraskans pulling together and supporting one another.”
Thanks to you, our donors, sponsors, businesses, bidders, and artists, who leveraged your time, supports, and talents for our fundraiser, you’re an indicator that when we all pool together our resources, we can still Thrive Together.
The funds raised from Thrive Together will go towards our ongoing COVID-relief efforts.
Your help, in whatever role you played, will help us continue to lead our statewide prevention effort, Bring Up Nebraska, whose community collaboratives provide support for those impacted by the pandemic.
Although there are too many impressive efforts for us to name, today we’ll highlight a few of the community collaboratives.
Bring Up Nebraska, administered by Nebraska Children, features a collaboration of organizations, state agencies, nonprofits, and businesses, who work together to prevent families’ problems from spiraling into a crisis.
First Lady Susanne Shore has been an ardent supporter of Bring Up Nebraska since its inception and its COVID relief efforts. We’re indebted to her and all the people and organizations behind this prevention system, which has recently received the Jim Casey Building Communities of Hope Award from Casey Family Programs, and national recognition as an exemplary, effective model.
First Lady Shore said of Bring Up Nebraska’s efforts, “I’ve watched so many partners including state agencies, nonprofits, and providers rally together to remove obstacles to providing relief to those who’ve been hit the hardest.”
Although our First Lady said that families’ struggles that have worsened during the pandemic aren’t new, that these trying conditions have worsened these issues.
From families being unable to access quality childcare to others going hungry, losing jobs, and enduring mental health struggles, although these issues are real and pronounced, so are Bring Up Nebraska’s efforts.
“I’m proud to say Nebraska has become a national model for community-led prevention,” said First Lady Shore.
We, too, are glad to lead the charge by example, despite and in response to these challenges.
Some of the community collaboratives also shared a few of their most impressive efforts to Bring Up Nebraska in response to some of these pandemic-related issues that families face.
Jake Owens, Executive Director of York County Health Coalition, shared that the coalition assisted many with COVID-related problems, including job loss.
“This year in 2020, despite all the challenges and all the excuses, our coalition was able to provide thousands of dollars in relief to people in our community for COVID-related problems, bills that needed to be paid, job loss, and staying in homes.”
Jake added, “We’re so proud of that work, and we’re so proud of our state, and of Nebraska for being a part of that,” he said.
Denise Zweiner, Executive Director at Buffalo County Community Partners, expressed her gratitude for Nebraska Children and her community’s achievements. “We are thriving together with Nebraska Children,” she said. “It’s been a challenging year and we’re really thankful for the partnership, the coaching, all of the supports that come from Nebraska Children.
One of Buffalo County Community Partners’ most noteworthy accomplishments included their efforts to send out weekly produce boxes and devise a farm-to-table program, so that families wouldn’t have to experience food insecurity.
Denise said that her community collaborative is also working to prevent eviction for families who, due to the pandemic, lost their jobs and are unable to pay bills and rent.
“We’re delighted to be thriving together with Nebraska Children,” she said.
When we look back at our achievements, we’re overwhelmed by the outpouring of kindness, innovation, and efficiency throughout our state, and the realization that we still have a long way to go. We can’t express our conviction better than First Lady Shore, who said, “We have to look at every child in need as a child of our own.”
We’re grateful to Platinum sponsor, Sunny Durham Family Foundation, for your sustained support. We’re also thankful to Gold sponsors, The Bill and Jodie Mackintosh Family Charitable Fund, Buffett Early Childhood Institute at the University of Nebraska, Tenaska, First National Bank of Omaha, TC Energy, Union Pacific Railroad, and everyone else who supports our common cause to thrive together through the pandemic.
If you haven’t had a chance, please watch the full event video at: https://www.screencast.com/t/awUBRePRzsWX.
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