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University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Strive to Thrive

Strive to Thrive
Just as you have likely had to adjust to ever-changing circumstances over the past several months, the Strive to Thrive Lincoln grant process has adapted as well. Instead of requesting nonprofits submit grant applications, we are now identifying and researching local nonprofits that align with our mission. We will contact these nonprofits and communicate the semester timeline to them so they may decide whether they wish to participate. Your organization may self-nominate for consideration by emailing Professor Amber Messersmith at

Project Overview

Thanks to the generosity of Rhonda Seacrest, the Learning by Giving Foundation and the partnership of the College of Business, Strive to Thrive Lincoln allocates $10,000 in grant funding each semester to nonprofits in Lincoln/Lancaster County.

Mission Statement

Strive to Thrive Lincoln provides Nebraska Business students with the opportunity to grant funds to organizations that uplift under-reached youth and their families living below the poverty line through sustainable educational programs and community-building resources, in order to equip them with skill sets for long-term success and holistic well-being.

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Process Overview

Each semester, members of the MNGT411 class learn about the community, relevant issues, and existing needs. Using this information, they develop funding priorities in the form of a mission statement that will guide the grant selection process. Using the mission statement, they find and research approximately 25 local nonprofits whose work aligns with the mission statement.

After they share their findings with the class, they deliberate to identify site visit finalists (typically 12-14 organizations). Site visits are facilitated with the nonprofits, followed by group presentations to the class, again sharing findings and additional insights. A final round of deliberations takes place in class, after which grant winners are determined and notified. A public awards ceremony is held to formally recognize the winning organizations as well as highlight the accomplishments of students across the semester.

Notes/Eligibility Guidelines

Please Note

  • UNL sponsored organizations are not eligible (those using same Form 990 as UNL)
  • Eligible organizations will have an active, local presence in the Lincoln/Lancaster County area and benefit local individuals.
  • Eligible organizations will have been officially operating in Lincoln/Lancaster County for no less than two calendar years.
  • Past recipients of Strive to Thrive Lincoln grants are welcome to apply again after a calendar year has elapsed since their last application (e.g., Fall winners may apply the next fall).
  • Should your organization be selected to receive all or part of the grant, you will be required to provide a report that includes how the money was used, who was impacted and to what degree the community was impacted. This report will be requested by members of the subsequent semester’s class. Organizations selected will also be asked to visit the subsequent semester’s class to share their Strive to Thrive experience.

Past Grant Recipients

Fall 2015: Matt Talbot Kitchen and Outreach, $5,000; CASA for Lancaster County, $2,500; Lincoln Literacy, $2,500

Fall 2016: Still Waters Equestrian Academy, $6,000; Lincoln Police Charities, $4,000

Fall 2017: Child Advocacy Center, $5,000; City Impact, $3,000; Bright Lights, $2,000

Spring 2018: Clinic With a Heart $5,000; Lincoln Literacy $5,000

Fall 2018: Child Advocacy Center, $5,000; Rabble Mill $3,000; Lead Up $2,000

Spring 2019: Center for Legal Immigration Assistance $7,500; Food Fort $2,500

Fall 2019: City Impact $5,000; The BAY $5,000

Spring 2020: Belmont Community Center $5,000; Food Fort $5,000

Fall 2020: The HUB Central Access Point for Young Adults, $5,000; Lighthouse, $5,000

Spring 2021: Visionary Youth, $5,000; South of Downtown Community Development Organization, $5,000

Fall 2021: CEDARS Youth Services, $5,000; City Impact, $5,000


Messersmith, Amber
Lecturer of Management
HLH 325 J
P.O. Box 880491
Lincoln, NE 68588-0491