Kids in a circle

Standing Strong with Our Communities
FNBO provides more than $3.9 million in COVID-19 Relief Funding

From the beginning, FNBO has remained committed to doing our part to help mitigate the financial burden COVID-19 has placed on individuals, families and businesses in all of our communities, particularly on those most vulnerable. That’s why we’ve provided more than $3.9 million in philanthropic and impact investments to community partners working to support the short and long-term needs of those most financially impacted by the current crisis. These investments include:

Housing Stability Grants to organizations providing direct financial assistance for short-term housing needs such as mortgage, rent, and utility assistance in order keep families in stable housing; and direct financial assistance for short-term health and human care needs such as food and medical expenses. Learn More

Workforce Stability Grants to organizations providing services that generate long-term impacts related to workforce development such as employment case management, employment skill development, employment search support, job placement, and job coaching. Learn More

Small Business Stability Impact Investments into community loan funds that provide small businesses with COVID-19 relief loans. These community loan funds are held and managed by Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) that provide underserved businesses access to capital. Learn More

Learn More About Our Community Partners Below

Colorado Enterprise Fund

Colorado Enterprise Fund - Small Business Stability

Colorado Enterprise Fund (CEF) believes everyone should be able to access the capital needed to build their small business dream - but many cannot. When small business owners are unable to obtain capital via traditional financing methods, CEF fills the gap with fair and flexible loan programs, as well as free coaching and technical assistance. Most of the business owners they serve have low-income, low wealth, and cannot provide the collateral required by traditional lenders. Additionally, CEF targets their programs to help low-income people and communities, minority, women, and veteran-owned businesses.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many small businesses across Colorado to make operational changes in order to adjust to the various city and state ordinances that forced businesses to shut down entirely, or operate at drastically reduced capacity. Small businesses are struggling to keep their employees on staff and their doors open. Consequentially, CEF has also been forced to make changes to meet the new needs of small businesses including: assisting their existing borrower base with loan deferments, administering SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, partnering with cities and counties to offer COVID Relief Loans, expanding funding offerings to include grants to small businesses, and building COVID-19 specific small business resources, tools, and more.

“Because of partners like FNBO, Colorado Enterprise Fund has helped more small businesses over the past four months than we have in the past four years combined. While working entirely remotely, our team closed 783 new loans totaling $20.3 million which helped save 7,814 Colorado jobs. FNBO’s support had a direct impact on our ability to provide SBA PPP loans to the vulnerable small businesses in Colorado.”

 - Carrie Hanson, Executive Director, Colorado Enterprise Fund

DreamSpring team

DreamSpring - Small Business Stability

DreamSpring in Fort Collins, Colorado believes entrepreneurship improves quality of life; fosters dignity, hope and pride; and reduces poverty within communities. However, many aspiring low-to-moderate-income, minority, veteran and women entrepreneurs are unable to start or grow their business due to the inability to obtain financing from traditional lenders. That’s where DreamSpring steps in. They work to provide small business loans and support services so that all entrepreneurs can have equitable access to safe and affordable credit regardless of income, gender or ethnicity.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the communities served by DreamSpring have been disproportionately impacted. In addition, because of social distancing, DreamSpring has been unable to engage with and have a presence in the community through events, meeting places and in-person conversations.

“When face-to-face communication was cut off, we were forced to find new and innovative ways to stay connected with our clients. The funding DreamSpring received from FNBO has enabled us to pivot away from traditional outreach in order to nurture and build our relationships without regular in-person communication. With the support of FNBO, we’ve been able multiply our impact by marketing beyond our existing resources and by providing additional loan programs and access to capital that is needed now more than ever.”

 - Brad Woodward, Director of Marketing and Communications, DreamSpring

United Way employees

Kishwaukee United Way - Housing Stability

Kishwaukee United Way in DeKalb, Illinois works to provide a better quality of life for the communities it serves through collaboration, resource mobilization and voluntary giving. They focus on improving access to education, financial stability (including stable housing), and health services for low-income populations, especially children and seniors. The impacts of COVID-19 have placed even more financial stress on these populations resulting in an increased need for Kishwaukee United Way’s services.

“The funding we received from FNBO was greatly needed to address housing issues for our served populations. With the help of our local Community Action organization, we have been able to address rent needs in our community to help people sustain their housing. Additionally, we’ve been able to provide virtual services, where applicable. We are so grateful for the support of FNBO for our organization and community!”

 - Dawn Littlefield, Executive Director, Kishwaukee United Way

MACCH hands with a home in them

Metro Area Continuum of Care for the Homeless - Housing Stability

Metro Area Continuum of Care for the Homeless (MACCH) works to address homelessness and housing instability in the Omaha and Council Bluffs communities by collaborating with a variety of partner agencies such as shelters, housing providers and other support services. These agencies serve a variety of demographics including individuals and families, veterans, survivors of domestic and sexual violence, and youth and young adults. MACCH believes by working together to address these issues they can help people avoid homelessness and help people currently experiencing homelessness successfully return to safe and stable housing.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a tremendous impact on MACCH’s partner organizations and the community as a whole. The loss of employment income from business slowdowns and/or shut downs has placed tens of thousands of households at substantial risk of losing their housing and becoming homeless. At the same time, many of their partner agencies face uncertain times in service delivery as they try to ensure the health and safety of staff, clients and volunteers.

“The funding provided by FNBO has allowed MACCH and our partner agencies to provide rental assistance to households that have been directly impacted by COVID-19. This assistance helps families stay housed during this crisis and focus on remaining healthy and moving forward instead of worrying about where they will sleep tonight. These funds have been a great assistance to the community and the families we have been able to assist.”

 - Randy McCoy, Executive Director

Volunteer making food

No More Empty Pots - Workforce Stability & Housing Stability

No More Empty Pots (NMEP), located in Omaha, Nebraska, provides paid workforce training for low- to middle-income adults who are unemployed or underemployed. Trainees sharpen their culinary skills through instruction and by preparing thousands of meals for neighbors experiencing food insecurity. These meals are made from scratch with fresh produce grown locally.

Throughout the pandemic, NMEP has experienced firsthand the combined impact COVID-19 has had on wage loss, job loss and food insecurity. In March, the organization served 550 meals total. In July they served 5,160 meals – nearly a tenfold increase in just a few months. The sharp increase in demand for meals forced NMEP to hire extra staff in order to continue serving their community.

“Because of the funding from FNBO, No More Empty Pots is able to keep up with the increased need for meals in our community. We now have the resources to recruit additional culinary program participants as well as the personal protective equipment and sanitization needed to keep everyone safe and healthy. These program participants will each receive eight weeks of paid training at $13 per hour. FNBO helped created a win-win situation where more of our neighbors can remain employed while also feeding individuals and families facing food insecurity. Our culinary program, combined with the meals it provides are truly lifesavers.”

 - Nancy Williams, Executive Director, No More Empty Pots

Volunteer helping with paperwork

Project Self-Sufficiency - Workforce Stability

Project Self-Sufficiency partners with low-income single parents living in Larimer County, Colorado to provide access to education and career development. Their goal is to provide clients with the selfpower needed to live self-sufficient lives.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted the single parent families, particularly those who are low-income workers, people of color and members of other marginalized populations. As a result, the need for Project Self-Sufficiency’s programming is greater than ever before. Project Self-Sufficiency depends on funding from third parties in order to help their clients maintain financial stability by assisting with rent and utility payments, gas, groceries and childcare costs. This support allows families to remain focused on their education and career goals, even during difficult times.

“We are so grateful for the funding Project Self-Sufficiency received from FNBO. Because of their generosity, we are able to help keep families currently enrolled in our program on track to achieve their goals as well as accept even more families into our program. Thank you, FNBO, for your support.”

 - Audrey McElwain, Associate Director, Project Self-Sufficiency

Organization working with public

RISE - Workforce Stability

For Individuals who have been incarcerated, getting a second chance at life upon release is easier said than done. Many businesses are unwilling to employ previously incarcerated individuals, making reentry into society difficult at best. RISE, which serves seven prisons across Nebraska, helps incarcerated individuals prepare for the reentry process through an intensive six-month program based on job readiness, reentry planning, character development and entrepreneurship. The programs are designed to harness and redirect innate entrepreneurial talents and skills toward the creation of legal businesses and careers. RISE also provides case management and support for housing, transportation, mental health and basic needs.

Reentry into society is a difficult journey under normal circumstances. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it has proven to be even more difficult. Jobs are scarce and the application pool is even greater due to a surge in unemployment, making RISE’s programs and services are even more important than ever before. In many instances, emergency coverage from RISE is the only thing keeping released program participants in their homes as they fight to simply pay the cost of living. However, public funding to the organization is quickly running out, making support from organizations like FNBO increasingly important.

“Support from FNBO has helped RISE graduates with rent, bills, transportation and other emergency needs. To everyone at FNBO, thank you.”

 - McKenzie Ring, RISE

Food on a table

United Way Western Nebraska - Housing Stability

The United Way of Western Nebraska (UWWN), primarily serves low-income populations in agricultural communities located in Box Butte, Cheyenne, Dawes, Morrill and Scotts Bluff Counties in Nebraska. Their mission is to unite people and resources of Western Nebraska to build a stronger, healthier and more compassionate community.

When COVID-19 struck earlier this year, many local businesses had to either close or limit their hours which resulted in lost pay for many individuals and families in UWWN’s service area. In addition, schools closed and could no longer provide free or reduced meals for eligible families, prices for many grocery items increased, and parents had to choose between working and staying home with their children. All of these circumstances left many families unable to afford basic needs such as food and rent.

“We are so thankful for the funding we received from FNBO. It enabled United Way of Western Nebraska to support nonprofit programs serving individuals and families facing financial hardship due to COVID-19 implications. These programs focused on rent and utility assistance to keep people safely housed, and helped families dealing with food insecurity through financial assistance and emergency food bags.”

 - Steph Black, Executive Director, United Way Western Nebraska