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Article - Husker mom one of many women helping Nebraska to WIN

Husker mom one of many women helping Nebraska to WIN

Women Investing in Nebraska ‘is more than just writing a check,' Ann Long says.

Posted: Wed, Oct 8, 2014

It's an eclectic mix of women, she says. They're intelligent. They're passionate. They're people who, by combining their resources, want to make a difference in this state.

They're members of WIN – Women Investing in Nebraska. 

And they'd like you to join them.

"It's more than just writing a check," says member Ann Long of Elkhorn, Neb. "It's an involvement, a mutual respect, women from different walks of life, different ages.

"The fact that women, together, are pooling their money to do projects that we do choose on our own – that is different than anything else I've worked with."

The University of Nebraska Foundation and its women in philanthropy committee began WIN four years ago to connect women and involve them in local philanthropy. WIN's goal is to support to Nebraska groups that are trying to address important community needs or that are trying to make a significant local or state impact.

Members pledge to make a gift each year for three years. They study each grant proposal. Then they vote on two – half of WIN's combined annual contributions goes to a Nebraska nonprofit organization and half goes to a University of Nebraska organization or group.

Long is a member of WIN's grants review committee. She's been able to visit sites across the state and the university as WIN members research groups seeking the grant money.

This year's two recipients were announced during a gathering of WIN members Sept. 25 at UNL:

  • Third City Community Clinic of Grand Island was awarded $75,950 to support its work in providing health care and dental care for low income people who have no insurance, government assistance or funds to seek care on their own.
  • HearU Nebraska, a statewide program with the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, was awarded $75,950 to help provide hearing aids for babies and children with hearing loss and help with cochlear implants for children whose parents' insurance doesn't cover the equipment.

Long has been connected to the University of Nebraska for decades. She graduated from UNMC in 1980 with a degree in medical technology. She has volunteered extensively, including time on the Elkhorn school board. Her husband, Doug, a neurosurgeon, is a UNL and UNMC graduate. She's raised four kids, who all attended the University of Nebraska: daughters Niki and Robyn and twin sons Spencer and Jake – who were former Husker football teammates. (Spencer and Jake came to UNL as Husker walk-ons, as did their dad.)

Niki received her master's from UNMC and is a physician's assistant in Falls City, Neb. Robyn, a UNO graduate, works as a special projects associate for UNO's new Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center. Jake is in his first year of medical school at UNMC, and Spencer – drafted this past spring – plays in the NFL for Washington.

But despite those extensive connections, she says, it wasn't until she became a member of WIN that she really became aware of the scope of work the University of Nebraska does around the state.

WIN, she says, has taught her a lot about the state and its people. She's more aware now of the extreme poverty of some people in the Panhandle. She's more aware of the need that is out there.

"WIN is an opportunity to make a difference," Long says. "And it doesn't take an arm and a leg to make a difference. With a small contribution of money and a contribution of time – as much time as you can give – you can be involved in something big.

"It's about bettering the world."

To learn more about WIN and its upcoming events, see womeninvestinginnebraska.org or contact the foundation's Lori Thomas or Sarah Gloden Carlson at 800-432-3216.

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