(May 13, 2020 | Columbus, Neb.) Columbus Area Future Fund has been awarded a $20,000 matching grant by an anonymous donor and the Alice DeVoe Donor-Advised Fund, an affiliated fund of Nebraska Community Foundation, to help Columbus Public Schools and Lakeview Community Schools narrow the growing homework gap as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Both schools are to receive $20,000.

Funding will allow Columbus Public Schools fund increased transportation costs for their growing summer lunch program, serving approximately 1,500 students and approximately 400 students from Lakeview Community Schools. The funding will also support partial cost of 337 seats for certified staff to do professional development on trauma-informed practices for K-12. Lastly, the funding will allow for 20 more iPads to connect approximately 162 pre-school students with their teachers and support staff.

The funding will allow Lakeview Community Schools to boost their summer school offerings to the students impacted by disruption in classes. Funds will also help solve transportation issues that limit the ability to offer in-person summer school, staffing expenses, increased summer school offerings, additional remote summer school and the back to school jump start program, impacting conservatively 90 students. Lastly, the funding allows for 60 devices to be shared among all students K-12 to ensure students have technology access for summer school and upcoming school years.

The funding opportunity was offered exclusively to Nebraska Community Foundation (NCF) affiliated funds across the state and required a 1:1 local funding match. The match will be met due to the generosity of several local philanthropic entities: $7,500 from Community & Family Partnership, $5,000 from Columbus Area Future Fund, $5,000 from Columbus Area United Way COVID-19 Response Fund, $1,250 from Lakeview Education Foundation Fund and $1,250 from Columbus Public Schools Foundation.

“The homework gap has long existed, but COVID-19 has exacerbated the divide between Nebraska students,” said Jeff Yost, president & CEO of Nebraska Community Foundation. “We are in awe of the ways NCF affiliated funds are responding and bringing their communities together to both meet essential needs and solve complex and complicated challenges.”

In total, more than $263,000 were granted to NCF affiliated funds and will benefit 31 schools statewide. “We are so grateful to the anonymous donor and the Alice DeVoe Donor-Advised Fund for their generosity and vision,” said Yost. “This is going to make a tremendous difference in the lives of many, many Greater Nebraskans.”

Sarah Papa from Community & Family Partnership said this about contributing toward the local match: “We are committed to community collaboration and helping to build a system of prevention while utilizing local resources. This grant will give the local school districts a greater opportunity to provide more connection and educational opportunities for their students and faculty in the long term.”

“This matching grant opportunity will allow Columbus Public Schools to expand its summer lunch program sites from one to three,” said Nicole Anderson, Director of the CPS Foundation & Marketing and Communications of CPS. “The opportunity for professional development that will help our staff better support our students’ social emotional will be invaluable as well as the ability to begin bridging the technology gap with our preschool students.  The ability for Columbus organizations to collaborate in order to help the students of the Columbus area is truly unmatched.  Thank you to the Columbus Area Future Fund for being the catalyst to bring us all together.”

“These funds will ensure our gaps in technology and summer school between students are closed as it will provide additional devices and reduce barriers to summer school,” said Aaron Plas, Superintendent of Lakeview Community Schools.  “We can’t thank the Columbus Area Future Fund and Nebraska Community Foundation enough for their investment and generosity to the local school districts.”

About the Columbus Area Future Fund

The mission of the Columbus Area Future Fund is to financially empower the Columbus area to enhance its own quality of life by encouraging charitable donations that establish and ensure lasting legacies. CAFF helps to ensure future generations the opportunity to promote entrepreneurship, develop leadership skills, retain and recruit youth, and enhance economic development activities. Visit columbusareafuturefund.org for more information.

About Nebraska Community Foundation

Nebraska Community Foundation unleashes abundant assets, inspires charitable giving and connects ambitious people to build stronger communities and a Greater Nebraska.

Headquartered in Lincoln, the Foundation serves communities, donors and organizations by providing financial management, strategic development, education and training to a statewide network of 1,500 volunteers serving 260 communities.

In the last five years, 44,476 contributions have been made to Nebraska Community Foundation and its affiliated funds. Since 1994, Nebraska Community Foundation has reinvested $355 million in Nebraska’s people and places. For information, visit NebraskaHometown.org.