We are in uncharted territory.

A national emergency declaration in response to a pandemic virus is new to all of us, and we want to be both sensitive and responsive to the unique situation of every single student, every alumnus, every friend of the University of Nebraska.

With economic uncertainty a reality for many, we ask for financial support with prudence. At the same time, some in our university family have reached out to ask how they can help, and some student support organizations have reached out to seek assistance.

We’ve highlighted some funds on our website that allow you to help our students, patients and communities during this public health crisis.

Whether you’re able to give at this time or not, we extend our wishes for your health and safety.

Sincerely,

Walter “Ted” Carter Jr.
President, University of Nebraska

Ronnie D. Green, Ph.D.
Chancellor, University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D.
Chancellor, University of Nebraska Medical Center and University of Nebraska at Omaha

Douglas Kristensen, J.D.
Chancellor, University of Nebraska at Kearney

Brian F. Hastings
President and CEO, University of Nebraska Foundation

Last updated April 1, 2020

This is information about how the University of Nebraska Foundation is responding to the COVID-19 public health crisis as we continue our commitment to serving the University of Nebraska and its valued stakeholders.

Given the challenges our state, country and world face now, the foundation remains more committed than ever to our extremely relevant mission to grow relationships and resources that enable the University of Nebraska to change lives and save lives.

How you can help during this uncertain time

We are in uncharted territory.

A national emergency declaration in response to a pandemic virus is new to all of us, and we want to be both sensitive and responsive to the unique situation of every student,  alumnus and friend of the University of Nebraska.

With economic uncertainty a reality for many, we ask for financial support with prudence. At the same time, some in our university family have reached out to ask how they can help, and some student support organizations have reached out for assistance.

Here are opportunities that allow you to help our students, patients, world-leading research and communities during this public health crisis.

From all of us at the foundation, our thoughts are with those around the world who are affected by the coronavirus and the challenges it brings. We encourage you to please take precautions to be safe, and, as always, thank you for all that you do for the University of Nebraska.

How we continue our operations

Our top priority is the health, safety and well-being of our team members, supporters, alumni and friends.

While most foundation employees have been directed to work remotely, our offices — located in Kearney, Lincoln and Omaha — remain open.

As we continue to receive and acknowledge all gifts made through the mail or online here at nufoundation.org, our commitment to our mission has become more important than ever.

For the safety of all involved, the foundation has suspended all travel by our team members outside Nebraska and has canceled or postponed gatherings and events, including those held in partnership with the University of Nebraska. In addition, meetings and direct interactions with donors, alumni, university personnel or other stakeholders will be held via video or phone or postponed to a later date.

The NU Foundation is monitoring the latest public health advisements and following updates from the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control, local health departments and our own experts at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and Nebraska Medicine. We will continue to closely monitor the situation and evaluate additional measures as needs arise.

Each campus — UNL, UNMC, UNO and UNK — has information available for students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends to help navigate this situation as best as possible. We’re especially proud of the important role that the University of Nebraska Medical Center and its clinical partner, Nebraska Medicine, are taking in the battle against the coronavirus.

The University of Nebraska continues to be an information resource for the news media, including Esquire, CNN, Time, The New York Times, CBS “60 Minutes,” News Channel Nebraska and others.

“We are a team, and in times like this, teams rally,” said Brian Hastings, president and CEO. “I have every confidence that we will come through this situation as a stronger organization and with an even greater commitment and appreciation for our mission.”

Here for you

We remain available to help and serve you. If you need information or assistance, please use any of these ways to reach us:

University of Nebraska at Kearney alumnus Dr. Alan L. Smith feels he was never able to fully participate in his college experience. While studying at UNK, then called Kearney State College, he was juggling a job while concentrating on his studies in biology and plant science during the early 1960s.

To assist future generations of UNK students and enable them to participate more fully in all the university has to offer, Smith and his wife, Irene Smith, have established a permanently endowed scholarship fund at the University of Nebraska Foundation.

The Alan and Irene Smith Biology and Plant Science Endowed Scholarship Fund will provide two annual scholarships to students studying in the Department of Biology within the College of Arts and Sciences. Scholarships will be awarded by the department’s scholarship committee to juniors or seniors majoring in biology who have an interest in plant science.

“Endowing this scholarship gives us the opportunity to not only give back to the college—which gave me a start—but to provide opportunities to students from smaller schools in Nebraska,” Alan Smith said. “Technology in the plant sciences continues to grow, so there should be opportunities for well trained and educated graduates. Hopefully, this scholarship will give selected students the opportunity to contribute to their field.”

The Smiths, who reside in Fredericksburg, Texas, near Austin, created the scholarship to especially aid graduates of the Southwest Public Schools in Bartley, Nebraska, who meet the scholarship’s award qualifications. Students who graduated from other rural areas of Nebraska may also be considered if qualified candidates are not identified who attended the Southwest Public Schools system.

Dr. Julie Shaffer, chair of UNK’s Department of Biology, said scholarships geared toward students from rural areas of the state are especially valuable to UNK because the campus is known for providing rich opportunities to rural and first-generation students. She said scholarships such as the one created by the Smiths make it so financial hardships don’t stop students from being successful.

“In the sciences and the biology department, students need that support to meet their goals,” Shaffer said. “Our rural students are interested in pursuing career paths in plants and agriculture; this scholarship will help them do that.”

The first Alan and Irene Smith Biology and Plant Science Endowed Scholarship will be awarded this spring for the 2020-2021 school year. In future years, the scholarship fund will provide two scholarship awards annually.

As a native of Bartley, Nebraska, Alan Smith hopes the scholarship fund will help many students from rural areas flourish through the years. Though he had to work hard to put himself through UNK, he said he is fond of his time on campus and the education he received.

“I cannot say enough about the quality of science education I received at UNK,” Smith said. “The breadth of science coursework required to get a degree in biology laid the foundation for my advanced degrees. It also gave me the tools to attack problems encountered during my professional career. The courses were taught by professors who were engaged in educating young people.”

Alan Smith graduated from UNK in 1964 and then received a master’s degree at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and a doctorate in plant ecology at Texas A&M University. Now retired, he enjoyed a successful career as an environmental consultant and was owner of Global Environments located in Houston, Texas, for 20 years. Alan and Irene Smith are graduates of the Bartley High School class of 1959.

Patricia Hoehner and her family have long enjoyed supporting the University of Nebraska at Kearney in many ways.

A UNK alumna, professor of educational administration and Kearney resident, Hoehner and her family’s contributions have benefited the athletics department and multiple facilities and programs on campus. Yet the family’s most recent contribution to the University of Nebraska Foundation, Hoehner says, represents their most significant gift to date and supports the College of Education.

The College of Education celebrated the dedication of the Hoehner Family Conference Room on Feb. 28, 2020. With the Hoehners’ gift, the college was able to redevelop the frequently used conference space, giving it new flooring, furnishings, lighting and a multimedia upgrade that includes an 82-inch television monitor and the latest video conferencing capabilities.

These enhancements enable UNK students, faculty and staff to connect with others across Nebraska and the world, including with prospective students and other students and faculty within the University of Nebraska system. It will also help foster intercampus connections.

Grace Mims, interim dean of the College of Education, said the improvements allow the campus to do the work that is so important for UNK, the college and the state.

“In a world where people are not always able to travel across the state or internationally to meet, we can now do that thanks to the Hoehner Family Conference Room,” Mims said.

SEE MORE PHOTOS FROM THE EVENT

The Hoehner family has a long-standing tradition of graduating from UNK. Nineteen family members received their undergraduate, graduate or both degrees at the university, with nearly 30 degrees conferred to them in all.

“The legacy of the Hoehner family at UNK for the number of family members who have received their education at UNK and the College of Education and who have gone on to be educators is so far-reaching,” Mims said. “We’re so grateful for their dedication to teaching children, for being involved in education throughout the state and for continuing to be advocates for the UNK College of Education.”

Patricia Hoehner believes her Loper pride, coupled with her vested interest in the university, is why she continues to give back. She hopes that with the Hoehner Family Conference Room that her children, grandchildren and even her great-grandchildren will see the value of supporting something they believe in.

“When life has been good, you need to give back,” Hoehner said. “And I think you need to walk the talk. UNK has been beneficial to my family, so my hope is that this contribution will benefit future generations. My forever mantra is, Go Lopers!”

Husker fans and supporters from across the United States and three continents demonstrated their pride for the University of Nebraska‒Lincoln during the second annual Glow Big Red – 24 Hours of Husker Giving on Feb.13-14.

The event concluded at noon on Feb. 14 with more than 2,300 gifts made and more than $175,000 in charitable support for all areas of the university.

“The generosity and involvement of Husker alumni, friends and fans during this annual event demonstrates their pride for what the university accomplishes in Nebraska and around the world, and it’s exciting to see this event continue to grow in participation each year,” said Brian Hastings, president and CEO of the University of Nebraska Foundation.

PHOTO STORY: Glow Big Red 2020

With its theme Light It, Fly It, Wear It, Give It, Glow Big Red – 24 Hours of Husker Giving enables alumni, friends and fans to show their university pride however they choose. It was launched last year in recognition of the 150th anniversary of the university’s founding.

Huskers helped blow past the original goal to receive 1,869 gifts in recognition of the year the university was chartered in 1869. Last year, more than 1,500 contributions were made during the event.

The event focused on a wide range of opportunities to support students. More than 70 campus-based student organizations and groups participated. There were also opportunities to support students in each of the college’s as well as to support the museums, arts organizations and many other university organizations and affiliates.

Murtaza Nalwala, president of the UNL Indian Students Association, which helps provide a home away from home for students from India, said Glow Big Red was a great event and that his organization enjoyed participating.

“You have no idea how much happiness you all have spread across the world,” said Nalwala, about the more than 100 people who gave to the association during the event. “My office is celebrating!”

Largely driven by social media engagement around the world, Glow Big Red experienced more than 100,000 mentions and posts. Using the hashtag #GlowBigRed, people and organizations painted the social media landscape in Husker red, with posts that included campus buildings glowing in red, people wearing Husker apparel on top of snowy mountains, pets sporting Husker gear and much more.

Cynthia Highland, co-founder and past president of the UNL Disability Club, said they were happy with the support their campus organization received during Glow Big Red to support students with disabilities.

“Our little club is so happy,” Highland said. “Thank you so much.”

For more information about results, including a leaderboard of information about the support provided to various areas of the university, go to glowbigred.unl.edu.

Join University of Nebraska‒Lincoln alumni and friends across the country and around the world for the second annual Glow Big Red ― 24 Hours of Husker Giving at glowbigred.unl.edu with #glowbigred.

Starting at noon Feb. 13 and concluding at noon Feb. 14, Husker fans near and far will celebrate pride for the university by lighting up their homes, flying Nebraska flags and wearing their favorite Nebraska gear.

They’ll also show how much Nebraska means to them by making a gift in support of students and to campus programs that are most meaningful to them.

LIGHT IT — UNL Memorial Stadium and many other university and company buildings will be glowing red Feb. 12-14. Make your home or business glow red, too. Use #glowbigred to share your pictures.

FLY IT — Let your Husker flags fly like it’s game day. Use #glowbigred to share your pictures.

WEAR IT — Put on your favorite Husker gear. Own your look. Use #glowbigred to share your pictures.

GIVE IT — Those who care deeply for the university may show their pride by making a gift during the 24 Hours of Husker Giving at glowbigred.unl.edu. Those who contribute $60 or more will receive a special Glow Big Red stocking hat. Hats will be mailed three to five weeks after the event.

Gifts may be made toward Glow Big Red now through noon Feb. 14.

“I can’t begin to tell you how powerful philanthropy is for our university,” said UNL Chancellor Ronnie Green. “It enables our students ― both present and in the future ― to come here and for our faculty and staff to do big things here. I invite you as we celebrate our 151st anniversary of the University of Nebraska, to light it, fly it, wear it and give it.”

Campus events planned

University students, faculty and staff are invited to attend Glow Big Red kick off events. The student events are on Feb. 13 from 12-2 p.m. at the Nebraska Unions on City Campus and East Campus. The faculty and staff events are on Feb. 13 from 10-11 a.m. at the Adele Coryell Hall Learning Commons on City Campus and at the Nebraska Union on East Campus.

Last year was a success

This is the second year for Glow Big Red, which has become another honored Husker tradition. During this event, Huskers near and far will celebrate UNL.

Last year’s inaugural Glow Big Red event encouraged more than 1,500 alumni, friends and university fans to come together to contribute more than $164,000. Gifts came from all 50 U.S. states and three continents.

This year, the university is striving to receive 1,869 gifts in recognition of the year 1869 when the University of Nebraska was founded.

Join in on social media

Join Husker Nation from noon Feb. 13 to noon Feb. 14 for the second annual Glow Big Red ― 24 Hours of Husker Giving at glowbigred.unl.edu. Help continue the excitement online by using #glowbigred and follow along at these channels:

Twitter
twitter.com/NebraskaNFund
twitter.com/UNLincoln
twitter.com/NebraskaAlumni

Facebook
facebook.com/NebraskaNFund
facebook.com/UNLincoln
facebook.com/UNLalumni

Instagram
instagram.com/NebraskaNFund
instagram.com/UNLincoln
instagram.com/NebraskaAlumni

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Glow Big Red FAQs

What is Glow Big Red ― 24 Hours of Husker Giving?
This special 24-hour event Feb. 13 and 14 marks the growing tradition of celebrating the University of Nebraska–Lincoln by encouraging those near and far, to:

When is Glow Big Red ― 24 Hours of Husker Giving?
This second annual event begins at noon Feb. 13 and concludes at noon Feb. 14. Contribute and track the excitement at glowbigred.unl.edu.

Is there a minimum gift amount?
Yes. The minimum gift amount is $5. We have credit card processing fees and administrative costs to cover, but we’ve kept it as low as we can so everyone can participate. Gifts of any amount make a difference and will be counted toward our 24 Hours of Husker Giving total.

What if my favorite fund isn’t listed as a giving option?
Well, that’s a bummer. We’ve chosen an inclusive group of funds to highlight for 24 Hours of Husker Giving, and we hope you can find something that resonates with you.

Is my gift tax deductible?
Yes, all gifts to the University of Nebraska made through GiveGab and the University of Nebraska Foundation are tax deductible.

Do other universities have annual spirit and giving days
Yes. In fact, most of the University of Nebraska’s peers already have annual spirit and giving days or are planning them now. They have become an important tradition on many campuses across the country. The University of Nebraska at Omaha will launch its first ever giving day this fall, and eventually every campus of the University of Nebraska system will have a designated celebration day.

Will my gift help students? How?
Your gift will most definitely help students — the how is up to you. You can choose to support student scholarships, the college you graduated from or one of the other areas we’ve highlighted as choices for 24 Hours of Husker Giving. It’s your call. All contributions will expand opportunities for students and create an even better Husker student experience.

Can I participate even though I didn’t graduate from UNL?
Yes you may, and please do! Parents, community members, friends and fans are all encouraged to support Nebraska during 24 Hours of Husker Giving. The gifts from many will be combined to advance the Nebraska experience for every student on campus and the university’s impact across the state and world.

What if I’ve already made a gift to UNL this year?
Thank you for your gift! We think you’re the cat’s pajamas. Another gift will help us reach our goal for 24 Hours of Giving, and we encourage you to participate in Glow Big Red in other ways, too: Light it. Fly it. Wear it. You can also help us spread the word! (#glowbigred)

How do the challenges work during the giving day?
We think a little competition makes things more fun, and who doesn’t love to put a costume on their pet? You might have your gift matched or even earn bonus money for your area of interest. Keep an eye on the Leaderboards page for a complete list of challenges, the rules and the winners. Don’t miss a thing! Spread the word with #glowbigred and connect with us @NebraskaNFUND on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for challenge announcements.

Can I make a gift by mail?
Yes. We encourage you to support the University of Nebraska–Lincoln by mail at any time, but we must receive your gift by Feb. 14 if it’s designated for the 24 Hours of Husker Giving for it to count toward the day’s totals. Don’t forget to let us know what fund it’s for (i.e., how you want your gift to help the university).

 What is GiveGab?
GiveGab is the online giving platform that we’re using to facilitate the giving day. It helps nonprofits raise gifts and engage donors, allowing organizations to function in a more streamlined manner. The University of Nebraska Foundation has chosen GiveGab to facilitate 24 Hours of Husker Giving.

Is it safe to make a gift online?
Yes. Please don’t worry; online gifts made through GiveGab are safe and secure. GiveGab will not receive your credit card information, and your information will never be shared or sold to a third party.

Whom do I contact if I have a question?
We’re here to help! Please start with Kristen Rock at info@nufoundation.org or 402-458-1222. If she can’t help you, she’ll connect you with someone who can.

Nebraska nonprofit organizations and University of Nebraska programs addressing issues important to the state may now submit funding ideas to Women Investing in Nebraska (WIN) for the group’s 2020 grant awards.

Potential grant seekers must submit a letter of inquiry by Feb. 18, 2020. Letter requirements are provided on the WIN website, womeninvestinginnebraska.org. Based on these inquiries, WIN will invite 12 to 16 organizations to submit formal grant proposals in April.
Each year, WIN members split their donations into a grant for a University of Nebraska project and a grant for a Nebraska nonprofit project based on a proposal review process.

Cassie Kohl of Omaha chairs the WIN Grants Committee for 2020.

“WIN members seek out bold projects where a grant can make a significant impact,” Kohl said. “We look for projects addressing important issues in Nebraska with innovative ideas.”

In 2019, WIN awarded two grants of $93,000 each, including one to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and one to the Nebraska Children’s Home Society.

Since 2011, WIN has awarded more than $1.2 million in grants split equally between eight Nebraska nonprofit organizations and eight University of Nebraska programs. The 2020 grant amounts that will be announced in the fall will be determined by the gifts WIN members provide through June 30, 2020.

WIN Chair Candy Henning of Lincoln said WIN’s nearly 200 members live across Nebraska and in several other states.

“It is always humbling and gratifying to see the innovation and passion Nebraskans have for addressing important issues in our state. As a collective giving group, WIN gets to help them accomplish big things,” Henning said.

Grant seekers may contact Lori Shriner at 402-458-1209 or 800-432-3216.

For membership information, contact Carly Wegner at 402-504-3327 or 800-432-3216, or visit womeninvestinginnebraska.org.

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. Visit womeninvestinginnebraska.org for more information.

It took Lt. Col. Dennis Meredith courage and strength to serve in the Vietnam war in 1969 and 1970 with the 7th and 8th artillery units. But to have a 28-year career serving in Vietnam, Germany and at Fort Sill in Oklahoma — that took good ol’ Nebraska grit.

He was a man of the military, a trained engineer, an ROTC instructor and a student.

He spent his undergraduate years at the University of Nebraska at Omaha as a part of the bootstrap program after serving in Vietnam. His wife, Laurell Meredith, said UNO seemed to really care about his education.

“When he was writing the standard letter to get accepted into the program, the other schools were perfunctory, but UNO plotted out a whole curriculum for him,” Laurell said. “Denny said, ‘That’s where we’re going, that’s for sure.’

“As a teacher, I was impressed that there was total individual attention.”

Although neither Laurell nor Dennis were Nebraska natives, Laurell said the state evokes special memories for them. While there, her husband was challenged by his studies but thoroughly enjoyed them, she said.

“The whole community of Omaha really did welcome the veterans,” she said. “We had such happy memories there, and Denny really wanted to honor the group that he was with in Vietnam.”

In 2001, Laurell and Dennis established the Meredith B/7-8 FA Scholarship Fund through their estate plans to assist students interested in higher education at a military-friendly school.

Following Dennis’ death in 2013, Laurell wanted to see the scholarship benefit students during her lifetime. In 2015, she created an endowed fund at the University of Nebraska Foundation, so the Meredith B/7-8 FA Scholarship could be awarded while she was still living.

“I thought, I want to see some action here,” Laurell said. “Even if it begins as a smaller amount, maybe it will grow.”

At a recent reunion of the battalion, she read aloud the letter from the latest recipient of the scholarship.

Laurell described the recipient as having the ideal situation for the scholarship. He was in a bind and was so close to graduating but didn’t have the GI benefits and financial help he needed. The Meredith B/7-8 FA Scholarship enabled him to succeed.

“It was really nice to know that we helped somebody achieve a goal,” she said.
During his career in the military, Laurel said, her husband was always helping others. She described him as a people-oriented person who looked out for the troops.

Dennis died March 26, 2013, living 14 years after suffering an aortic aneurysm. Laurell said the scholarship fund is an important way for her husband’s legacy to live on while serving as a tribute to the people who served their country so faithfully and so well.

“I’m glad I have this sort of memorial to him, and you know I still miss him. He’s still a part of my life,” she said. “I just feel like this is a legacy he would’ve been proud of.”

Bill Jackman has zip lined over the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. He’s gone scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef and cage diving with sharks in South Africa. He’s navigated the Nile, run with the bulls in Pamplona, parasailed, parachuted, climbed mountains and bungee jumped off mountains. He’s done it all or, nearly, all.

Jackman has dived headfirst into life. In his 50-odd years, he’s traveled to 110 countries. That’s extensive for someone who started out in a place far less exotic. Jackman grew up in Grant, Nebraska, an ideal community with its own hospital, three grocery stores, two department stores, a bank and the best skating rink in the area. The town gave him his start, rooting him in a culture that shaped him and connecting him to a university that brought life-changing opportunities. But even though Grant was small, Jackman’s parents never thought small.

Bill Jackman

“My parents always encouraged us to go see the world,” he said. “Go see it! Why wouldn’t you go see it?”

Every summer, Jackman and his parents and brothers piled into a station wagon and set off on a road trip to someplace new. Jackman’s father was a lawyer, but he would take a month off work so he could travel with his kids and see the country.

“Those are some of the fondest memories I have,” Jackman said, “all the adventures we had.”

Jackman’s parents also valued education and worked hard to instill a lifelong appreciation for it in their sons. His mother was a teacher with a graduate degree in early childhood education. She and Jackman’s father met at the University of Nebraska while they were undergrads. His father later attended law school; Jackman’s grandmother and two aunts and an uncle attended Nebraska, too.

“Nebraska was a big part of our family,” he said.

Sports were also a big part of the family. Grant has a long history of producing great coaches and great athletes, and Jackman ended up as one of its star exports. As a student at Perkins County High School, Jackman was part of three state football championships. He also led the team to two state basketball championships and scored 214 points, a Nebraska high school boys tournament record that has only been surpassed three times since. Later, after a year at Duke University, Jackman played basketball for the Huskers from 1985 to 1987.

Playing for the team and studying at the university were foundational experiences for Jackman. He built lifelong friendships, earned a degree in finance at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Business and loved his experience as a student at Nebraska, he said.
After graduation, Jackman spent three years working in Texas and then went on to play professional basketball overseas. He played in Venezuela, New Zealand, Mexico and Colombia and for teams in the U.S. (18 teams in total). That’s when his love of travel and exploration truly took hold.

While his parents encouraged him to travel and explore, Bill credits the university for giving him the courage to travel as widely as he has. “That was part of the education,” he said, “giving us the confidence to go forth and conquer, to go see what’s out there and take advantage of it.”

Bill earned an M.B.A. at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and then spent the next two decades working in financial services, rising to vice president at Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley and now senior vice president at UBS. For the past 19 years, he has served as a University of Nebraska Foundation trustee, devoting his time and treasure to investing in education and giving back to the university. In October, he became chair of the foundation’s board of directors.

Recently, Bill made a gift commitment to the University of Nebraska in his will, adding himself to the prestigious list of Burnett Society members. Bill said he wants to give back to a place that has shaped him, given him opportunities and experiences and introduced him to the people in his life he values. He hopes his gift can be an example to others and encourages them to follow his lead.

“We’re standing on the shoulders of a lot of other people who have given to the university,” he said. “We love this school, and it’s done amazing things for us and our families. This is a small way that we can help out, really help the next generation of people, help them do great things.”

Bill has done great things in his life. And he’s not done yet. In addition to helping the next generation at the University of Nebraska, in Grant and at the University of Chicago, where he has also pledged support, he’s working to pass on the confidence and love of learning he gained from his parents and university to his own children, who have, so far, visited more than 60 countries. He wants them to forge their own paths but also to take advantage of every opportunity and experience that the world has to offer — to dive into life, just as he has.

Not only do brothers Joe and Matt Brugger share the same birthday, but the twins also share a passion for entrepreneurship in agriculture.

While studying at the University of Nebraska‒Lincoln, the 2019 graduates were part of the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program, which prepares and encourages students to use our country’s strength in agriculture to develop new products, services, businesses and more.

With what Joe and Matt learned, they were able to start a business, Upstream Farms, while they were in college. It’s located at their family’s original homestead near Albion, Nebraska. Their dream is to find new ways to best steward this land and to share what they learn with young ag entrepreneurs.

The brothers say they’re grateful for the support they received for their education from the N Fund. The N Fund benefits many students while providing a convenient and meaningful way for anyone to give back to the university.

“Thank you for supporting the N Fund and students like us,” Matt said. “Without that (support), we would never have had the opportunity to pursue the passions we have found in our lives.”

Joe and Matt Brugger believe that everyone who supports Nebraska through the N Fund is ultimately investing in the lives of students. And to demonstrate their appreciation, the Bruggers plan to work hard and grow their business in the state.

“Saying thank you isn’t enough,” Joe said. “I think the only way we can show our appreciation is by doing something with it, staying in Nebraska and giving back in any possible way we can.”

Matt added, “We want to be a good investment for them.”

The N Fund represents a unified family of funds that enable one to make a difference at Nebraska. You choose to support what’s most important to you.

Visit nfund.org to learn more about the N Fund family and view the various ways to help.