OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — On Friday, Gov. Pete Ricketts and First Lady Shore announced the formation of the Nebraska Impact COVID-19 Relief Fund, a partnership between the Office of the Governor, Nebraska Impact and the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation (NCFF).
The fund will provide direct aid to communities and organizations working to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak across Nebraska.
“As our response to COVID-19 continues to unfold, I am confident Nebraska will emerge from this emergency as strong as ever," Ricketts said. "Something we do really well here in Nebraska is work together. We have a deeply ingrained culture of generosity, which is evident in the support Nebraskans are giving to their local businesses and neighbors affected by the pandemic.”
Money donated to the Nebraska Impact COVID-19 Relief Fund will be directed through statewide Community Collaboratives that are part of Bring Up Nebraska, a program administered by NCFF.
Funds will help individual communities meet their needs, depending upon their particular circumstances, which may include assistance for rent, mortgages and utilities as well as to supplement food pantries and provide school supplies to students from low-income families now studying from home.
"Nebraska Impact is proud to be able to play a role in helping our fellow Nebraskans in their time of need," Shore, President of Nebraska Impact, said. "Utilizing the Community Collaboratives assures that funds are used in a targeted, strategic way to meet the specific needs of each individual community. Nebraska’s Community Collaboratives have been a proven resource for our state, successfully tackling a variety of complicated tasks. From improving outcomes for children and families by providing focused prevention and support services to providing leadership and coordination during the 2019 floods, the Collaboratives have provided the kind of local leadership that is critical to overcoming any emergency.”
The collaborations bring together community leaders, service providers, educators, health care professionals, law enforcement, businesses, elected officials and government officials, who work toward the end goal of improving well-being.
With the assistance and support of NCFF and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, each Community Collaborative is said to have an intimate understanding of its community's needs, challenges and strengths and is best situated to help solve the problems of its citizens.
President and CEO of NCFF, Mary Jo Pankoke, said that with last year's flooding, the collaborations were able to help bring people together to solve problems through the Bring Up Nebraska program.
"Nebraska Children is proud to support these on-the-ground efforts; we will continue to be the channel between the needs being voiced by communities and the policymakers, state agencies and other leaders who make policy and funding decisions," Pankhole said. "We are deeply grateful to Gov. Ricketts, First Lady Shore, Nebraska Impact and many other generous Nebraskans for supporting community-based solutions for those being impacted by this crisis.”
Nebraska Impact and NCFF are also working with the Nebraska Department of Education and the Nebraska Educations Service Units to identify technology needs for students from low-income families who are now studying from home.
Motherboard, a Nebraska-based electronics recycling and computer refurbishing social enterprise, is partnering with Nebraska Impact to procure laptops and tablets to refurbish for students in need. Motherboard’s workforce is comprised of adults on the autism spectrum.
“How fitting that this announcement is released on World Autism Awareness Day, April 2, 2020," Stephen Toller, Motherboard Owner, said. "I commend Gov. Ricketts and First Lady Shore for utilizing the strengths of our neuro-diverse staff to provide needed technology for disadvantaged Nebraska students during this time."
Toller went on to say the project fit perfectly with Motherboard’s mission to address the digital divide.
"We also thank the numerous organizations who have already contributed surplus laptops and tablets, as well as those who, because of this announcement, will contribute their surplus inventory so that students’ education can continue across our state.”
Donations made to the Nebraska Impact COVID19 Relief Fund are tax deductible. To make a donation, visit www.neimpact.org.
More information about Bring Up Nebraska and NCFF can be found at www.bringupnebraska.org and www.nebraskachildren.org. More information about Motherboard and be found at www.motherboardrecycling.org.