Lincoln Community Foundation Awards $135,000 to Support Veterans & Families

Council on Foundations Idea Lab Grant $17,500 December 2010
The Lincoln Community Foundation was awarded a grant to develop a model for community foundation intervention to address immediate needs and do develop a network of public and private organizations with the capacity to serve those who served our nation in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. The participating community foundations on this project included: California Community Foundation, Community Foundation in Jacksonville, Dade Community Foundation, Dallas Foundation, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Lincoln Community foundation and San Antonio Area Foundation.

Center for Rural Affairs $15,000/2010; $3,500/2011
This Nebraska based organization works to establish strong rural communities, social and economic justice, environmental stewardship, and genuine opportunity for all while engaging people in decisions that affect the quality of their lives and the future of their communities. They are currently working closely with the national Farmer Veteran Coalition to support veterans who want to become farmers and ranchers, by providing resources, training, technical assistance and access to land – all barriers to getting into farming.

CenterPointe, Inc. $10,000 February 2011
This is a facility for treatment, rehabilitation, and housing for women, men and teens overcoming homelessness, mental illness and addiction. They launched a new program in partnership with the Veterans Administration to provide 10 men who are veterans, homeless and mentally ill with transitional housing, life-skills education and counseling services.

The Bryan LGH Independence Center $40,000 February 2012
Bryan LGH is constructing a new facility. The current facility serves those seeking substance abuse treatment and mental health treatment for Lincoln, Nebraska and the surrounding region. Referrals from Fort Riley and Offutt Air Force Base continue to increase, last year 87 active military patients were treated at Bryan LGH, many for prescription drug addiction, posttraumatic stress disorder and depression. Bryan LGH Behavioral Health is unique as it is one of the few facilities in the country able to effectively treat people with co-occurring illness; patients with both mental health and substance abuse needs.

Survivor Outreach Services $12,000 February 2012
Host a retreat for thirty Nebraska Gold Star Families, specifically those who have lost loved ones in military service to the United States. This would mark the 1st annual retreat for Survivors of military deaths from all branches and components of the military and is intended to honor and remember the military members who have died while serving. This retreat will demonstrate continued support to the Gold Star Families in Lincoln, Nebraska and the surrounding area, by providing tools and skills to increase their resiliency.

Interchurch Ministries/Association of Ministries $15,000 November 2011
The faith community plays a critical role in the area of human services in Lincoln. The Lincoln Interfaith Council dissolved several years ago and this created a void in the Lincoln Community in the area of communication and networking within faith-based organizations. The Interchurch Ministries is creating a new Association of Ministries that will re-establish this critical organization within our community. This council will be an important factor in assisting and serving our returning veterans. Leaders of faith communities are in a unique position to help identify issues that effect this special population and can help facilitate solutions. The establishment of a strong Association of Ministries will strengthen the community’s efforts to help our returning veterans and their families as they return to civilian life.

Veterans Freedom Music Festival $5,000 June 2012 2012
The Veterans' Advisory Council has decided to partner with the VA Transition Clinics (the multidisciplinary clinics set up specifically to meet the needs of veterans returning from Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan) and hold the celebration in conjunction with a state wide "Welcome Home Event". Because the Welcome Home events can draw 500 - 1000 veterans and family members, we expect the event to be much bigger (and better) than last year. Several members of the Veterans' Advisory Council have set up a separate, but collaborative group called the Veterans' Freedom Music Festival Committee in order to better plan for and hold the 2012 Veterans Freedom Music Festival on June 23, 2012.

Veterans Memorial Garden $1,000 2012
This grant is in support of a cast stone brick holder which will hold placement of veterans’ nameplates. This marker will enhance the Garden, is lower maintenance and will last for a longer period of time than the current concrete holders presently in use. This beautiful garden memorializes those who gave their lives for their country, creates an environment of gratitude for all living veterans and enlightens the public of the men and women in the military who serve all of us.

Brain Injury Association of Nebraska $2,000 September 2012
Funding for workshops entitled “Responding to the Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Needs of Veterans Returning from Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation New Dawn.” As service members and veterans transition to their homes, schools and civilian jobs there is a need for families, colleges and employers to have a better understanding of the challenges they face. These workshops are for medical professionals, educators, clergy, employers, and family and community members.

Project Homeless Connect Lincoln $1,000 October 2012
This is a one-day, one-stop event where individuals and families who are homeless are able to receive a wide variety of immediate, on-site services and support for unmet needs. All factions of the community came together to address the needs of individuals and families who are homeless. The Department of Veterans Affairs held a Stand Down for homeless Veterans in conjunction with Project Homeless Connect. The VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System staff provided to Veterans who are eligible for VA health care benefits, services on the day that include health screening, foot care and eye care.

Veteran Food Assistance Program $3,000 February 2013
There are an estimated 2,000 low-income veterans in Lancaster County and many are struggling with hunger. The Food Bank of Lincoln will start monthly food pantries at the Department of Veterans Affairs Campus to provide assistance for these veterans and their families.

Nebraska Student Life $10,000 February 2013
A summer camp experience for children of military families that includes programs, activities and education to facilitate growth; intellectually, emotionally, culturally, spiritually and physically. The focus of this camp is to create a supportive environment that will equip students with the ability to bounce back from challenges, manage stress and make a positive contribution to their family and community. Lancaster County military families have 1031 youth between the ages of 6-18.

Community Collaboration Related to Veterans Issues

Veteran Support Fund (Established in 2011; $16,243.85 fund balance)
The Lincoln Community Foundation established a Veteran Support Fund to provide assistance to veterans returning to our community. The purpose of the Veteran Support Fund is to support areas of unmet need for our military personal (active duty, Reserve, National Guard, and veteran service members) and/or their families, including but not limited to counseling, emergency assistance, recovery programs for the families of those killed in action, physical and mental health services, employment and education.

Veteran Pretrial Diversion Program 2011-2012
The Lancaster County Attorney is expanding the existing Pretrial Diversion program to include opportunities for certain veterans to enter the program and thereby, avoid a criminal conviction. Veterans or current members in the armed forces, who are diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury sustained in the military, will be eligible if there is a connection between the crimes and the mental health issues. A lack of a criminal record prior to overseas deployment is strong evidence that the criminal behavior is related to the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or Traumatic Brain Injury. In each case, we would ask the VA to draft a treatment plan for the PTSD or TBI and for any addictions. We would use that treatment plan as the center of a Veterans Pretrial Diversion plan. Community Corrections, our Veterans Pretrial Diversion hearing officer and the attorneys would try to add some structure and support to the plan to ensure a success. The team would work together to move the participant forward. Participants who do not follow the plan are terminated from Veterans Pretrial Diversion and prosecuted for the original crime. Participants who comply with the orders are successfully discharged after a year or so.

Community Connections 2011
Lincoln Community Foundation hosted a presentation and panel discussion for donors discussing community support for our returning Military Service Members. Panel members included Roger Lempke, Retired Adjutant General of Nebraska National Guard; Juan Franco, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, UNL; Cathy Lang, Commissioner of Labor; Joe Kelly, Lancaster County Attorney. Hiring Our Heroes Job Fair 2012 U. S. Chamber of Commerce initiative to help wounded, ill, and injured veterans find meaningful employment by establishing strategic partnerships with organizations in both the public and private sectors. “Hiring our Heroes” helps veterans start or grow a small business through getting proper certification, licenses, and specialized training for veterans and their spouses as well as enhance the availability of mentors within the business community.

Hiring Our Heroes Job Fair 2013
After a successful event in 2012, the Lincoln Community Foundation once again partnered with the U. S. Chamber of Commerce, Nebraska Department of Labor, the National Guard & Reserve and the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce to help veterans and military spouses find meaningful employment. This collaboration with strategic partners from the public, private, and non-profit sectors creates a powerful and effective platform for

Community Task Force
Regularly convene colleagues, government officials, nonprofit leaders and community members to identify concrete ways to support veterans and their families: 

  • Behavioral Health
  • Education
  • Employment & Labor
  • Faith Community
  • Health & Human Services

Legal Community Lincoln Community Foundation Veteran Work in the National Sector

Council on Foundations 2011 Annual Conference May 2011
The Lincoln Community Foundation planned and implemented a panel discussion presentation at the 2011 COL Fall Conference in San Francisco. The discussion focused on best practices for community support of returning military service members and ways in which Community Foundations can facilitate this effort.

Community Outreach Panel Discussion for Wounded Warriors/Veterans December 1, 2011
Barbara Bartle was invited to present at a forum held at the Pentagon in Washington D.C., hosted by Mrs. Dempsey, the spouse to the current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Invites to the conference were to the spouses of the Combatant Commanders, Service Chiefs, Secretary of Defense, Deputy Secretary of Defense, and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (approximately 20-25 attendees). This was a great opportunity to explain to these very important spouses how community based solutions are assisting the Veterans, their Families and the Families of the Fallen. The objective is to ensure they understand how Community Action Teams are making a difference.

Center for New American Security Task Force December 6, 2011
Barbara Bartle was invited to attend the task force meeting in Washing D.C hosted by the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). The task force explored the impact of military service on service members, veterans and their families; their deployment-related needs; and the ways in which the country can best support them. Nancy Berglass, CNAS Senior Fellow and Dr. Margaret Harrell, Director of the Military Veterans and Society Program, developed a report with concrete recommendations for how federal, state and local government agencies and community-based organizations can work together to ensure that veterans receive the care and services they need to reintegrate into civilian life. Lincoln Community Foundation is referenced on page 26 of the report found at

Council on Foundations Veterans Funders Meeting June 1, 2012
Barbara Bartle was invited to attend a meeting at the Pew Trusts Conference Center in Washington D.C. This meeting was hosted by the Council on Foundations and the Blue Shield of California Foundation to discuss how philanthropy can help those individuals rejoin their communities. A small group of foundations were invited to share their experiences with several key government officials from the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Pentagon and the White House Task Forces on Veterans and Military Families who can share information regarding the many policy intersections across the federal government related to veterans and service member community supports, and where the gaps and policy deficiencies are occurring. The agenda included a morning discussion sessions with government staff presentations by community foundations, and discussion focused on shaping the Council’s veteran funders’ national agenda.

Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff/Lincoln Community Foundation visit August 14, 2012
Lieutenant Colonel Anthony M. Henderson, Assistant to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff U.S. Army General Martin E. Dempsey, visited the Lincoln Community Foundation to learn how the foundation is building robust support of returning veterans and their families. LCF convened a group of community leaders who informed Col. Henderson of the work they are doing to insure a successful reintegration into our community.

Council on Foundations 2012 Fall Conference September 11, 2012
Barbara Bartle served on a panel discussion at the Council on Foundations Fall Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. This discussion focused on creating a framework in the philanthropic sector to meet the needs of service member’s physical and mental health and tap into the extraordinary training and civic engagement these returning veterans have to offer our communities.

Nebraska Hires Veterans Recruitment Video October 2012
Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman released a new recruitment video, Nebraska Hires Veterans, produced by the Nebraska Department of Labor, to draw job-seeking veterans to Nebraska. The video features veterans from various parts of the country, and a wide array of occupations, discussing why Nebraska truly is The Good Life when you’re transitioning from military service. Following active duty deployments, many servicemen and women are looking for employment and a place to call home. The veterans in this video provide just a few examples of the job opportunities and quality of life veterans can find here. The video is being distributed to and by veterans, their friends and family, veteran support organizations and many others. Links to the video can be found on and

The New York Times (James Dao, columnist) November 8, 2012
The Lincoln Community Foundation was recognized in a New York Times article as one of the more effective Community-based alliances that tailor services to local needs of returning veterans rather than creating overlapping organizations. The plethora of private organizations has brought comfort and vital services to thousands, filling gaps left by overwhelmed government agencies. Though giving to military and veterans groups has increased — a survey by the Foundation Center suggests it has more than tripled since 2001 — many veterans advocates say donations have not kept pace with the growing needs of new veterans.

Army OneSource February 2013
This Secretary of the Army Initiative provides comprehensive community support and service delivery for Soldiers and their Families. AOS is raising awareness and generating support among the private sector to effectively connect military members to the best resources available wherever they may be. The Lancaster County Pretrial Diversion program was featured in a video produced by Army OneSource and is displayed on the AOS website.

Council on Foundations Annual Conference April 7, 2013
Sarah Peetz served on a panel discussion at the Council on Foundations Annual Conference in Chicago, Illinois. This session, From Battlefields to Communities: Collaborations for Veterans Philanthropy, explored how funders are joining public sector and business partners all over the nation to help the new generation of veterans and military families make a successful transition back into their communities. The time is right to harness our great American community spirit toward a more comprehensive, holistic “welcome back” to those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Panelists discuss how foundations have connected with Veterans Administration programs, what lessons they have learned, and how your foundation can be part of this effort.

Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff/Lincoln Community Foundation visit May 6, 2013
Lt. Colonel Chris Ford, Regional Director-West; Warrior and Family Support, office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Staff, is meeting with the Lincoln Community Foundation. His goal is to learn about the work we are doing in Lincoln to help veterans and military families make a successful transition back into their communities.

Nebraska National Guard Adjutant General, Major General Daryl L. Bohac September 17, 2013, met with former Adjutant General of the Nebraska National Guard, Roger Lempke, and Lincoln Community Foundation staff to discuss the role of communities in supporting veterans and their families. The Lincoln Community Foundation is committed to continuing the partnership we have with the Nebraska National Guard to link our military members with community resources as they reintegrate into civilian life.