Omaha’s historical legacy of segregation, redlining, job discrimination, and mass incarceration has entrenched in this otherwise economically thriving midwestern city a significant racial wealth divide.
Our practice’s relationship with Omaha dates back to 2019, when the critically-acclaimed documentary film Out of Omaha (produced by BFG’s senior partner Ryan Johnston), shined a light on these issues, garnering national scrutiny of Omaha that was both celebrated, and not-so-welcomed, locally depending whom you ask.
During the summer of George Floyd, Johnston penned this op-ed calling out the city’s media and prosecutors for their careless treatment of Black citizens.
Vision & Strategic Planning
Shortly after, a group of local leaders met in a forum at Creighton University to ask hard questions about Omaha. What is needed to correct for a history of racism and disinvestment that spans from Will Brown to James Scurlock? How had previous efforts succeeded and failed?
BFG was pleased to be invited to and attend that forum, and later to work among the diverse workgroup that would research, design, raise funds, and establish the program.
For three years, Bureau for Good consultants have been a key part of the IO team: providing ongoing support to leaders, including deep strategic planning, planning of programs, development of an innovative revenue generating model, brand identity, fundraising strategy, board development, grant-writing, communications, and more.
Now, the organization is fast gaining a foothold and reputation in Omaha. Starting, quite literally, with $0, we helped Imagine Omaha form partnerships and secure seed funding that could be built upon. In year two, we secured more foundation grants from local funders, many on our first attempt. We have secured a $50,000 grant and been invited for a $100,000 grant, from two different leading local funders.
This young organization’s stock is on the rise locally, as our strategic cultivation efforts continue to help them open doors. After only two full years of consistent fundraising, Imagine Omaha is providing direct services, its revenue is growing exponentially, and local institutional funders who would not take a meeting with Imagine Omaha two years ago are inviting six-figure proposals.