What We Fund

Program GrantsFund a specific program within your organization and are restricted funds, meaning they can only be spent on the program for which you submitted the grant.
Operating GrantsFund your organization’s work broadly and are unrestricted, meaning the grant funds can be used to pay for expenditures that support your mission.
Capital GrantsFund land purchase and/or construction for new buildings; renovation on existing buildings or grounds; or significant equipment or other long-term asset purchases.
Chimney Rock in Nebraska with yard signs celebrating "Love They Neighbor," "Healthcare is a Human Right" and "Support the Arts"
  • Access
  • Activism
  • Advocacy
  • Amplifying Voices
  • Arts & Culture
  • Behavioral and Physical Health Access
  • Capacity Building
  • Child Well-Being
  • Community Building
  • Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Economic Empowerment
  • Food Security
  • Freedom from Violence
  • Housing
  • K-12 Education (primarily *Omaha Public Schools)
  • Leadership
  • Mentoring
  • Out-of-School Time
  • Refugee & Immigrant Services
  • Restorative Justice
  • Power Sharing
  • Power Building
  • Safety
  • Sustainability
  • Sports Equity
  • Trails & Connectivity
  • Workforce Development
  • Individuals
  • For-profit businesses
  • Churches or organizations that include faith-based activities such as worship services, prayers, or religious classes as a component of programming
  • Any programs that are exclusive to one faith and do not welcome and provide services to folks of all faiths or no faith
  • Organizations with values that are not in alignment with ours
  • Events, galas, scholarships, or sponsorships
  • Lobbying or attempting to influence legislation
  • Influencing the outcome of any specific public election
  • Voter registration drives
  • Medical research or specific disease funding

Any exception to these funding guidelines are made by invitation only and unsolicited requests outside of these guidelines are not considered.

Thoughtful, and often difficult, Foundation grant decisions consider the following:

Current Foundation funding prioritiesPriorities change depending upon community/state circumstances. A flood or a pandemic, for example, changes the direction of funding support. Priorities may change due to opportunities for collaboration with other philanthropic foundations or to leverage public dollars for community wide or systemic impact. Priorities shift to acknowledge successful work that deserves further investment, as well as to acknowledge our own investment mistakes that require course correction.
Available FundsFunds available to the Foundation for grant distribution vary from year to year. The Grant-Making Team works collaboratively to address Foundation priorities within grant-making budgets. There are good and worthy programs we are unable to fund.
Value AlignmentDo your organizational values align with the Foundation’s values?
Fiscal health of the granteeAs a potential grantee, do you demonstrate the ability to secure funds beyond the Sherwood Foundation? Do you have multiple sources of income? Do you have a history of break-even (or better) finances? Have you demonstrated the ability to weather a financial challenge or a tough year or two? Do you have good financial records? If you are applying for a Capital Campaign, do you have a strong plan for operational support?
Program/Organizational SuccessesDoes your organization set and reach goals? Do you track outcomes? Can you describe what success looks like for your organization or clients?
LeadershipDoes your organization demonstrate strong, experienced staff and board leadership?
TransparencyDo you share both challenges and successes?
Community EngagementAre you familiar with others in the community who are doing similar work? Do you have strong community partnerships?

Since 2006, The Sherwood Foundation has given grants totaling more than $2.1 billion to more than 50 communities across Nebraska.

Nebraska map with dots marking cities that have received Sherwood Foundation awards.