OPSF Awarded “Investor in America” Award

Omaha Public Schools Foundation Recognized with National Award

Partners for Livable Communities honors the leaders and communities that shape a livable, sustainable and equitable America

WASHINGTON and OMAHA, NEB.—Omaha Public Schools Foundation (OPSF) will be recognized on Nov. 12, 2018, with the Investor in America Award, presented by Partners for Livable Communities (Partners), a Washington-based nonprofit.

“The Investor in America Award acknowledges groups and individuals that use enterprise, vision and creative public and private partnerships to bring new civic assets to our nation’s cities,” said Robert McNulty, president and founder of Partners. “We salute OPSF for its extraordinary commitment to creating more livable communities for Omaha’s public school children and families.”

OPSF will be recognized as part of Partners’ “Celebrating Champions of Livability” awards program, which honors 23 individuals, four organizations and two communities for their role in shaping a more livable, sustainable and equitable America. Partners will host all honorees and their guests for a luncheon and awards presentation at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 12. The event will be emceed by Peter Harkness, founder and publisher emeritus of Governing magazine, and the Honorable Glenda E. Hood, who served as Florida Secretary of State and was the first female mayor of Orlando.

“Omaha Public Schools Foundation is all about the kids, period.” said OPSF Board President Steven Kinkead. “Together, the board and staff work to ensure that every student is prepared for success every day. Through a long tradition of excellence between the executive director and the board president, OPSF continues to enrich the lives of 53,000 students by funding learning experiences that inspire hope, open doors and help students to achieve their dreams.”

Since being established in 1984, the OPSF executive and board leadership have creatively leveraged $1,555 in initial start-up funding, which was gifted by Omaha Public Schools (OPS) teachers and staff, to create a multi-million dollar public education foundation that serves the students and teachers in Nebraska’s largest school district. For the last four years, OPSF has ranked in the top 10 on the Caruthers Institute’s “Nation’s Top K-12 Education Foundations” list.

“The foundation is an exceptional partner for the staff, students and families of the Omaha Public Schools,” said OPS Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Logan. “They are unsung heroes who provide tremendous support for special projects and programs. We’re fortunate to have them as our partners and commend them for their dedication, and for receiving this coveted national recognition.”

OPSF’s unique model of social entrepreneurship provides enriching early education programs and much-needed, before and after school care for working families and their elementary-aged children. The success of these parent-paid programs, combined with a loyal philanthropic community that cares about the OPS district, have eliminated all administrative costs for the foundation so that 100 percent of the $150 million dollars raised in the last 13 years has funded innovative, educational experiences that level the playing field for over 53,000 students enrolled annually in the OPS district.

Current Board President Steve Kinkead and Executive Director Toba Cohen-Dunning continue an example of excellence and success with a strong president-director relationship that supports the mission of the foundation and the OPS district. With 76.5 percent of the student population on free or reduced lunch, 120 distinct languages spoken, and 3,000 refugees from 15 different countries, there is a great need for OPSF programs.

OPSF invests the revenues from its early childhood education and before and after school care programs into scholarships for high school seniors, teacher innovation and classroom grants, and community partnership projects. The sole purpose is to enhance the classroom experience by providing students educational opportunities they may not receive anywhere else.

“Celebrating Champions of Livability” recognizes those national leaders who have embodied the time-tested elements that Partners has woven together to define livability since its founding in 1977. Those elements include: concern for older individuals; equal opportunity for all; amenities, arts and culture as assets; innovative economic development strategies; and bold municipal leadership.

For 40 years, Partners has celebrated the leadership of people, institutions and partnerships that have discovered unique assets that communities can build upon to become a more livable place.

Celebrating Champions of Livability:
Honoring the Leaders and Communities that Shape a Livable, Sustainable and Equitable America
Hosted by Partners for Livable Communities
National Press Club
Washington, D.C.
Monday, November 12, noon – 3 p.m.

To learn more about Partners for Livable Communities, click here.

OPSF Wins Swag Awards at the NSFA in Nashville

Newly elected NSFA Board President, and our very own Executive Director, Toba Cohen-Dunning, attended and presented at the NSFA Conference in Nashville. Accompanying her was Board President, Steven Kinkead. Their topic was “Developing a Partnership.” They detailed the steps of building relationships within a foundation board and harnessing the power of each member to engage  through an in depth exploration and evaluation of the OPSF’s own mission, values, and vision.

The OPSF team spent nearly 9 months in discovery and rebranding of the Omaha Public Schools Foundation. Out of this has emerged not only new insights into who we are but a new logo, new brochure and information materials, new Social Media Cover Photos, a new Teacher Ambassador program, as well as a new website.

NSFA 2018 Conference

The NSFA presentation was warmly received and to the delight of Toba and Steve. The Foundation was presented with SWAG Awards for Outstanding Website developed by Kathy David and Outstanding Foundation Brochure created by Esther Mejia and Kate Revollo of eCreative Inc, a real validation of all the work that went into OPSF’s transformation.

Thanks to all the team, our Executive Director and fearless leader, Toba Cohen-Dunning, Steven Kinkead, Board President,  the OPSF Board Members, the OPSF staff, Joe Craig of SourceBurst, Esther Meija and Kate Revollo of eCreative and Kathy David of JBKDesigns.

The Foundation also teamed up with SkillsUSA students from the career center who created a promotional video for the Foundation. The opportunity to involve these bright, talented OPS students in the creative process and the foundation rebranding only serves to validate our confidence that the OPS motto rings true,  “Every Student, Every Day, Prepared for SUCCESS!”

OPS SkillsUSA Video Crew



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