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Community Foundation Draws Record Statewide Attendance
Nebraska Ag Connection - 11/15/2017

Two hundred and sixty volunteers representing 41 communities, plus more than 20 community development organizations, and an additional 400 business leaders and individuals passionate about the future of Nebraska gathered in La Vista to celebrate the community-building successes of the Nebraska Community Foundation (NCF) network.

NCF's 2017 Annual Celebration which included training for its affiliated fund leaders, a community expo, and celebratory banquet drew record attendance representing communities as far as Scottsbluff, as close as Papillion, and dozens of communities in between. Centered on the theme "Together a Greater Nebraska," speakers and training sessions focused on the importance of building strong communities across the state.

"I believe strongly that to be an economically vibrant and attractive place for all of its citizens to live and work, Nebraska needs strong and progressive communities in every part of the state," said Doug Bereuter, former Nebraska Congressman and NCF board member, to a crowd of 600 at the Annual Celebration banquet.

NCF's Annual Celebration began with several pre-training peer gatherings including a bus and walking tour of South Omaha, an area known for its cultural diversity and rich immigrant history. Participants enjoyed conversations with local business owners and residents while they experienced the sights, sounds and tastes of the South Omaha neighborhood.

Last week, 260 community volunteers gathered for a full day of training facilitated by peers in the NCF network, subject matter experts from a variety of Nebraska organizations, and NCF staff members. Topics included community and economic development issues that are important to rural communities like local food in schools, early childhood development, workforce and leadership development, and youth engagement.

The Annual Celebration culminated with an expo highlighting the work and successes of communities across the NCF network and a banquet featuring remarks by community volunteers including high school senior Chloe Higgins of Nebraska City, as well as individuals hailing from Omaha, Lincoln, Norfolk, Ogallala, Byron, Albion, and former Congressman Doug Bereuter of Cedar Bluffs.

NCF's 2017 Annual Celebration was supported by Premier Sponsors First National Bank, Pinnacle Bank, and Union Bank & Trust, as well as Major Sponsors Bellevue University, Consolidated Companies, Cornerstone Bank, Great Plains Communications, Westwood Trust and dozens of Table and Board Sponsors from across the state.

NCF is heralded as a national model for rural development philanthropy, which uses charitable giving as a tool to unleash the energy, talents and assets of local citizens for strengthening rural economies and hometowns that attract young families.

As of June 30, 2017:

- NCF's 219 affiliated funds served 250 Nebraska communities in 80 counties

- $291.6 million was reinvested in Nebraska and its hometowns since 1994

- $128.6 million in the last five years

- Total assets increased to more than $130 million

- More than 39,000 contributions were made through Nebraska Community Foundation in the last five years

Headquartered in Lincoln, NCF is not a typical community foundation. All grantmaking decisions are made by local affiliated fund leaders in communities across the state. NCF supports 1,500 volunteer leaders through training, financial management, donor education and planning.

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