Strengthening Democracy: Nebraska Community Foundation

The Nebraska Community Foundation is our 2018 Outstanding Community Partner for its work in establishing the Rural Civic Action Project in McCook.


Each year, Civic Nebraska’s Strengthening Democracy Awards recognize Nebraskans whose work embodies the spirit of a modern, robust democracy. Among our 2018 honorees are educators, administrators, students and everyday Nebraskans. We officially honor the winners April 12, but before then, here’s a chance to learn a bit more about what makes them special.

Outstanding Community Partner

Civic Nebraska honors the Nebraska Community Foundation as its 2018 Outstanding Community Partner for its work to establish the Rural Civic Action Project in McCook.

Karl Shaddock

This past year, Karl Shaddock, NCF’s assistant director of community development philanthropy; and the foundation’s president and CEO, Jeff Yost, partnered closely with Civic Nebraska to establish the Rural Civic Action Project in McCook. The foundation dedicated time and resources to aid Civic Nebraska in cultivating connections, building a network of support, and providing resources for an RCAP pilot program at McCook’s community college.

As a result, high school and college students in McCook embarked upon a semester-long effort to identify a pressing community issue, design a service-learning project to address that issue, and implement the solution.

Jeff Yost

“This tremendous organization has a strong record of supporting youth engagement efforts and civic health initiatives in all kinds of Nebraska communities,” said Amanda Barker, deputy director of Civic Nebraska.

The Rural Civic Action Program engages rural high school students in critical thinking about community strengths and areas of improvement, and then take action through a service learning project to address needs in their community.

College undergraduates collaborate as peer mentors, facilitating the high school students in identifying community needs and crafting substantive projects to address those needs. Civic Nebraska connects the undergraduates to its network of rural-area teachers and ensures that the projects fulfill service learning and state education standards.

The partnership also provides interesting opportunities to research community engagement among students in rural communities. The project provides insight on student perceptions of efficacy, of the accessibility of higher education, and investment in rural communities.

Meet representatives from the Nebraska Community Foundation and their fellow honorees at this year’s Strengthening Democracy Awards on April 12 at Chez Hay in Lincoln. Get your tickets here.

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