Nebraska City’s family and community foundations were the topic at the September Hot Topics at Scooter’s Coffee Wednesday morning.
Representatives from the Nebraska City Community Foundation; the Nebraska City Ministerial Association; Friends of Faith; the Richard P. Kimmel and Laurene Kimmel Charitable Foundation; the Paul, John, Anton and Doris Wirth Foundation; the United Way; and the Jaycees provided background on what community organizations and projects benefit from their support.
“I don’t know of another town in Nebraska that has as many family foundations as Nebraska City,” said Doug Friedli.
Friedli, who represented the Nebraska City Community Foundation, said that the NCCF is unusual in that it is set up to both receive donations from the community and distribute money to community programs.
Programs that the NCCF supports include 35 community projects and organizations, a non-traditional scholarship program for adult learners, and a number of projects at the Morton-James Public Library.
Friedli said that 20 percent of annual distributions are decided by the Youth Advisory Council, which is made up of high school students.
In addition to learning about fundraising, Friedli said the students are learning to be philanthropic.
The unrestricted endowment of the NCCF has passed the $1 million mark, said Friedli, which allows it to distribute about $45,000 to the community.
The Nebraska City Ministerial Association, which was represented by the Rev. Sara Malone,  provides voucher assistance for rent, food, and gasoline, along with assistance with utility bills.
Funds to pay for the vouchers come from the United Way, Friends of Faith, CHI Health St. Mary’s and the offerings collected at the community Good Friday service, said Malone.
Beverly Hall represented the Friends of Faith Thrift Store. She provided a brief history of the store’s founding and said that, to date, $370,000 has been given back to the community via grants.
“It’s so important to us to have help from volunteers and donations,” she said.
Patricia Holmes spoke on behalf of the Kimmel Foundation. She said that the foundation provides donations to qualified tax-exempt organizations in Nebraska and Iowa, particularly those that are involved with agriculture, the arts, human services, and humanities.
The foundation has assisted CHI Health St. Mary’s, Arts Across Nebraska, the SENCA holiday giving program, the Keys for Kids musical instrument program, and scholarships to local high school students.
Other facilities supported by the foundation include the Kimmel Orchards, the Kimmel Education and Research Center, and the Kimmel-Harding-Nelson Center for the Arts, said Holmes.
It has also supported tunnel restoration at the Mayhew Cabin and John Brown’s Cave and the interactive kiosk at Wyuka Cemetery, said Holmes.
The Wirth Foundation tries to distribute its grants in and around Nebraska City, said Duane Smith, who represented the foundation at the meeting.
This goal lives up to the wishes of the founders of the organization, who believed if the money was earned in Nebraska City, it should be distributed in Nebraska City, said Smith.
Some of the projects supported by the Wirth Foundation include the downtown flower baskets on Central Avenue light poles, the Pioneer Field artificial turf at Nebraska City High School, and the addition at Lourdes Central Catholic School, said Smith.
The foundation has also provided assistance with ballfield improvements for the Nebraska City Parks and Recreation Department, the recently renovated fish pond at Arbor Lodge, and the Farm Safety Day Camp that took place for the first time this summer at the Kimmel Education and Research Center, said Smith.
Jaclyn Kreifels represented the United Way of Nebraska City, which provides annual grants to special agencies in the community, including the Veteran’s Van program, the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, 4-H, the Ministerial Association, and the Nebraska City Fire Department.
“We would not be where we are today without the support of the foundations,” said Nebraska City Fire Chief Alan Viox.
Kreifels said funds to support the United Way are donated by the community’s major employers, as well as contributions from employees themselves.
Laura Liesemeyer spoke on behalf of the Nebraska City Jaycees. She said that about 300 children took part in the ball program sponsored by the Jaycees this summer.
She added that about a dozen children took part in the Pitch, Hit and Run competition that the Jaycees sponsor in the spring.