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Omaha West Rotary Club Hosts Programs for AmeriCorps Members

Last fall, the Omaha West Rotary Club awarded College Possible a $3,000 District Grant in support of learning materials used for ACT test preparation. They also designated several scholarships for College Possible high school juniors to participate in their annual Rotary Youth Leadership Awards.

Ken Thomason, Rotary West Grants Committee Chairperson shared, “The grants committee, along with the rest of the club, wanted to support College Possible based on two key factors – one, the important work College Possible does in the community, and two – the alignment between that work and one of Rotary’s seven areas of focus, basic education and literacy.”

Following the grant award, Ken Thomason collaborated with Omaha Site Leadership to design personal and professional development opportunities for AmeriCorps service members through two interactive panel discussions focused on nonprofit leadership and financial planning.

As much as being able to provide funds to support great organizations like College Possible is a part of what we do, it is important to Rotary that Rotarians are able to give back to their communities through acts of service.”

Rotary International’s motto is “Service Above Self,” an ideal that clearly resonates with AmeriCorps service members as their entire tenure with College Possible is based upon serving students on their journey to and through college.

On March 5, Ken moderated the Nonprofit Leadership Panel with help from fellow Rotarians, Ann Woodford, Marketing Manager at Ronald McDonald House Charities in Omaha, Tim Neal, Regional Philanthropy Officer for the American Red Cross, and Dr. Debora Sepich, the Chair of Graduate Business Programs at Doane University.  In addition to fielding questions from Corps members, the panel provided valuable insight into the skills needed for nonprofit leadership management, how to build a strong volunteer base, and meeting the needs of our community.

Five days later Ken was back for a Financial Planning Panel along with Rotarians, Tony Schultz, the Director of the Nebraska Business Development Center at UNO, Warren Whitted II, a Registered Representative at Mutual of Omaha, Dan Lassek, a Senior Financial Advisor at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, and Mark Ellsworth, a retired CPA with more than 40 years of experience. During the hour-long panel, guest speakers covered various topics including, how to save for retirement, buying your first house, and how to create a budget to avoid unnecessary debt.

“I really appreciated how there was general information, like what 401(k)s and Roth IRAs are, and more specific information, like how much money we should save for retirement,” said Liz Kurtz, College Possible College Coach.

It really helped me put my financial goals into perspective.”

Arvin Frazier, College Possible Omaha Executive Director, emphasized site leadership is intentional in their efforts to provide experiences that will prepare Corps members for future personal and professional endeavors.

It has been a pleasure partnering with a leading community partner like the Omaha West Rotary Club.

The Nonprofit Leadership and Financial Planning Panels provided an excellent opportunity for leaders from the nonprofit and business sectors to share their collective wisdom and experience. This knowledge will continue to benefit our AmeriCorps service members long after they leave College Possible.”

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