2 WIN grants to assist grandparents, UNL students

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Women Investing in Nebraska (WIN) has awarded two $93,000 grants to assist a pilot program making mental health counselors more accessible at University of Nebraska–Lincoln residence halls and helping the Nebraska Children’s Home Society expand its support network for grandparents who are raising their grandchildren.

WIN announced the grants at its annual awards celebration in Lincoln on Oct. 16, 2019. With these grants, the 190-member organization’s cumulative grants benefitting University of Nebraska and Nebraska community projects total more than $1.2 million since 2012.

Each year members’ contributions are split between a University of Nebraska project and a Nebraska nonprofit project based on a proposal review process. WIN members live across Nebraska and in several other states.

WIN Chair Candy Henning of Lincoln said the 2019 projects receiving grant support target Nebraskans who are at different stages in their lives but who are experiencing major transitions.

“Navigating the move to university life and returning to a child-rearing role are very different experiences for people, but both can be exhilarating and stressful,” Henning said. “The two programs WIN is supporting this year are reaching out in meaningful and personal ways to people who need support.

“WIN seeks out projects that apply bold solutions and delivery models for issues that impact many Nebraskans. We learned about many worthy projects this year, but these two struck a chord with our members.”

WIN Grants Committee Chair Linda Hoegemeyer of Lincoln said 67 grant seekers submitted letters of inquiry to WIN in January, and 15 of them were invited to submit full proposals. Through proposal review and select site visits, the committee narrowed the field to four projects to be placed before all WIN members for a vote.

“The process is educational for the committee members,” Hoegemeyer said. “Each year we are so impressed with the way Nebraska nonprofits and University of Nebraska faculty seek out solutions to important issues in our state. It is exciting to think about what these two grant recipients will achieve.”

Counselor-in-Residence addresses growing anxiety, promotes resilience

The Counselor-in-Residence program is a partnership between UNL’s Student Affairs, University Housing, Counseling and Psychological Services and the College of Education and Human Sciences. Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Laurie Bellows said co-locating counselors where students naturally gather—in the residence halls— not only gives students immediate access to services when they need them but also reduces potential barriers for students who otherwise might not seek help.

“By expanding support services to the residence halls, we’re able to address student concerns before they escalate into crises,” Bellows said. “This approach moves resources and services upstream and has shown to have a longer-term, positive impact on students’ resiliency and academic success.

“The funding provided through the Women Investing in Nebraska grant allows us to expand the program by placing additional counselors in at least two residence halls. We believe this grant will ultimately impact student retention at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Students who are supported in their health and well-being are more likely to persist and complete their education. And, that’s a goal we want all our students to achieve.”

Raising Your Grandchildren links services, resources, peers

The Nebraska Children’s Home Society’s Raising Your Grandchildren program provides a six-week psychoeducation series and support group for grandparents who are raising their grandchildren. The grant allows the program to expand its offerings to grandparents, including referrals for services for all family members and providing a supportive network for the grandparents who lovingly redirect their plans and priorities as family needs arise.

“We’re grateful to Women Investing in Nebraska for investing in our Raising Your Grandchildren program,” said Nebraska Children’s Home Society CEO Lana Temple-Plotz. “In Nebraska, there is a growing number of grandparents taking on the responsibility of parenting their grandchildren. With the support of WIN, we are now able to begin providing support in Lancaster County through our Lincoln office and continue to serve grandparents in Omaha and surrounding areas.”

About Women Investing in Nebraska

WIN engages, educates and empowers philanthropists by collectively awarding annual grants to bold University of Nebraska and nonprofit initiatives addressing important issues in Nebraska.  It operates in partnership with the University of Nebraska Foundation and the UNF Charitable Gift Fund to support women philanthropists. Each year, members’ gifts are pooled and divided equally between a Nebraska nonprofit organization and a University of Nebraska program or organization. To learn more visit womeninvestinginnebraska.org.

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