This all began as a straightforward idea: A modern and robust democracy does not create itself. It takes Nebraskans young and old equipped with the skills and prepared to get involved in their community. A democracy is not responsive if it is not representative, and that’s why the right to vote stands above all others — and if the right to cast a ballot is not protected, our democracy has limited legitimacy.
That idea led to a vision, that vision became a plan, and in 2008 that plan became a reality. That’s when we added our voices to a burgeoning movement to make our democratic institutions more open and accountable. Today we proudly continue our mission as the state’s flagship leader in uniquely Nebraskan civic leadership programs and voting rights.
We have put our innovative spirit to work by bolstering democracy from the ground up. In schools and clubs, our youth initiatives build the next generation of leaders. On our streets, we strengthen the state’s civic fabric. It all adds up to a more modern and robust democracy for all Nebraskans.
As our mission has grown so have our successes, many of which are featured here, in Civic Nebraska’s 2018 Annual Report. (See PDF version)
-> Our Youth Civic Leadership programs served more students than ever. That means more Nebraskans with essential civic leadership, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills.
-> Our data-based Civic Health Program increasingly linked communities and Nebraskans of all ages to strengthen social connectedness, confidence in institutions, community engagement, and political participation. At a time when our civic society is seen as strained, Civic Nebraska is sought after for civic education, civil discourse, media literacy, and understanding our government.
-> Collective Impact Lincoln, a Civic Nebraska-led initiative creating resident-led investment and change in Lincoln neighborhoods, completed its first year. Through our canvassing, events, and Community Builder Workshops, neighborhoods are examining their natural strengths and are taking up new ways to improve.
-> Our Voting Rights team trained and deployed over 100 nonpartisan election observers to ensure 2018 elections were fair, modern, and accessible. At the Legislature, we defeated voter ID legislation and stopped other harmful bills.
Reflecting upon our first ten years, it is clear that Civic Nebraska was a good idea — and the right idea. But we knew this task would be a long undertaking. Ultimately, Civic Nebraska will be measured by whether it endures as a hub for statewide commitment to democracy. There is much work still to be done.
We appreciate your support as we continue this essential charge, and we are honored to count you as partners in this calling. We are Civic Nebraska. We can’t wait to see what ideas come to life in our next decade.
David C. Solheim, JD
Chair, Board of Directors
Adam Morfeld, JD
Executive Director and Founder