LifestyleBlack History Month


North Omaha organizations receive funding but some say, it's not enough

$192,000 was granted to 20 organizations
Posted at 10:12 PM, Feb 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-02 23:12:40-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — 20 organizations were awarded a piece of $192,000 dollars through the Nebraska Convention Center Facility Financing Assistance Act and turn back tax.

10 percent of the funds, received by the City of Omaha in "turn back tax" must be distributed to areas with a high concentration of poverty.

To be eligible, organizations and businesses must showcase historical aspects, assist with reduction of street and gang violence or assist with small businesses and entrepreneurship growth in North Omaha.

"The main point is to put some of that investment back in to strengthen those attractions so when people come from college world series, the Creighton game the baseball game the natural flow is you have an attraction there and stay downtown and eat you’ll be tempted to go into those communities and spend money," Douglas County Commissioner Chris Rodgers says.

Culxr House received $10,000 from the grant. They plan to use the money for a cultural economics program that will launch in the spring. They'll focus on artist sustainability and teaching creatives how to streamline revenue.

Marcey Yates, founder and director of Culxr House says he's grateful for the money but wishes there was more sustainable funding for smaller organizations, like his.

"We got an award for $10,000. These big organizations get hundreds of thousands. Kaneko, Omaha Performing Arts, they get big money," Yates says. "We’re grateful to get that but we still have to apply for more grants. $10,000 can support us specifically for a program. That’s the problem we have with organizations and nonprofits getting money. It has to be for something specific. You can’t get it to just operate and do the work. It has to be for this thing right here and has to be spent by this time. So for us as an organization, it doesn’t help to sustainability."

Yates says he wishes smaller grassroots organizations could be considered for the larger funded grants that bigger, often white-led organizations receive. He says as a director, who's Black, he and others like him need to stand up.

"People like myself who’s Black and an owner who leads a nonprofit, we have to speak up and we have to raise that conversation because only people like me are going to know that," Yates says.

Rodgers says more streamlined funding is in conversations. He says, for organizations like the ones in North Omaha, that have been neglected throughout history, you have to build the infrastructure back up, especially when things like the recession and then the pandemic keep affecting them.

Here is a list of the organizations chosen and how much they received.

  • African American Empowerment Network - $9,000
  • BeAmbi & Company - $5,000 
  • Black Men United - $5,000 
  • Black Votes Matter/ - $5,000
  • Center for Holistic Development - $10,000 
  • Completely KIDS - $5,000
  • Culxr House - $10,000
  • Elite Hustle Trucking Co. - $10,000
  • Freedomtainment - $20,000
  • Great Plains Black History Museum - $10,000
  • Johnny T’s Bar and Grill (Norma Ruth’s Restaurant) - $10,000
  • Juneteenth Nebraska - $5,000 
  • Metro Area Youth Services (MAYS) - $11,000 
  • Native Omaha Days Organizing Committee (Omaha Economic Development Corporation) - $22,000
  • Parker Youth Inc. - $10,000
  • Police Athletics for Community Engagement (PACE) – $5,000
  • RISE Academy - $5,000
  • Union for Contemporary Art - $15,000
  • UNTAMED - $10,000
  • 24th Street Corridor Alliance - $10,000