In extraordinary times, our values are our guide

Our core values are fundamental to our mission, our outlook, and the individuals who make up our organization. And in these perplexing times, they are a reassuring focal point for us as we continue to serve our state.


Things are moving fast. Eight days ago, the morning started with Nebraskans planning to travel to Lincoln for the boys’ state basketball tournament. By the end of the day, the event had been limited to friends and family. In Washington, the president had banned travel. The NBA suspended its season. Celebrities and athletes announced they had contracted COVID-19. Governments began to respond dramatically. Ever since, the world has been on fast-forward.

But things also are slowing down. This self-imposed pause has allowed us to consider the very measure of time and space, which we all can misgauge in the daily race of “normal” life and work. Whether it’s been by opening a book, taking walks around our quiet neighborhoods, or perfecting the art of extended conversation, many of us are reconnecting to a more intentional, deliberative, and reflective reality.

We’ve been working toward this intentionality for some time at Civic Nebraska. One of the last tasks our staff completed before our offices closed in response to the virus was to put our organization’s core values down on paper. This began Jan. 3 with our friends Janell Walther and Bryan Seck, who deftly guided a staff discussion about our “official” values.

At the time, COVID-19’s arrival in our country was still several weeks away. Over the next two months, and as the crisis drew steadily closer, we continued to hone the results of that spirited January discussion until we arrived at five core themes that embody who we are and why we do what we do. 

Several were self-evident; others, more nuanced. All five, though, are fundamental to our mission, our outlook, and the individuals who make up Civic Nebraska. And in these extraordinary, perplexing times, they are a powerful focal point for us as we continue to serve our state.


is built on trust and engagement.

Community is at the heart of everything we do, and we’re better when we work together. A community thrives when people trust each other, and we show up for one another.


leads to continuous improvement and greater impact.

We embrace new ideas and put them into action. We learn together today so we can implement change tomorrow.


creates pathways to participation and progress.

We are driven to advance learning as an act of civic engagement. Learning in all its forms strengthens us and our community.


is inherent in every person.

We connect people to power and believe that power should be shared. Anyone can lead change in their community.


is a driving force for change.

We believe that our work matters and expect to make an impact. We’re optimistic about our democracy, and we’re hopeful for Nebraska’s future.

Coronavirus is rapidly affecting how we all perceive and approach the world. Given how fast things are moving, we won’t venture to predict what permanent changes in perspectives, institutions, and processes might emerge from this crisis. We are assured, however, that our guiding values will continue to be essential guides as we navigate this time together with you.

Yours in community, innovation, learning, power, and optimism, 


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