Magdalene Omaha grant to grow services

Women Investing in Nebraska (WIN) awarded grants totaling $172,750 to two programs at its annual awards ceremony Oct. 26.

An $86,375 grant was awarded to Magdalene Omaha for its New Beginnings Campus and expanded programs for survivors of sex trafficking.

Magdalene Omaha will use its grant to expand its nonresidential programming for survivors of sex trafficking at its New Beginnings Campus in Omaha.

Since opening its residential program in 2017, Magdalene Omaha has worked to serve more survivors than the residential program can currently accommodate. The needs of survivors range from food security to substance abuse assistance and job training. The WIN grant will assist Magdalene Omaha with its physical space as well as staffing and development of online and in-person options for its curriculum to reach survivors throughout the state.

Founder and CEO Teresa Houser said Magdalene Omaha has become a place that survivors trust and turn to for help.

“Despite the challenges of 2020, Magdalene Omaha supported 158 survivors last year, mostly through our nonresidential programs,” Houser said.

The organization delivers hope with peer-led healing, Houser said. Survivors are attracted to a safe community for learning, creating and building a network of support at all points in their healing journeys.

This year, 190 WIN members contributed to make the grants possible, and committee members reviewed proposals in a four-step process culminating in a membership vote for the two recipients. WIN’s membership is comprised of women in and outside Nebraska who share an interest in addressing issues that matter to Nebraskans through collective giving.

WIN Chair Susan Fritz of Crete, Nebraska, said the group was created to provide a way for women to make significant impacts with their giving.

“WIN members review and vet proposals to identify worthy and meaningful projects that will make a difference in their communities, whether those communities are small regions or the entire state,” Fritz said. “We see some amazing problem-solving, caring and effort put forth by so many people at the University of Nebraska and in the nonprofit organizations to help their Nebraska neighbors.”

WIN Grants Committee Chair Vanessa Denney of Omaha, Nebraska, said this year marks the organization’s 10th annual grant awards program.

“It’s exciting for us to celebrate that our collective giving and grant-making group has now awarded 20 grants since its founding, exceeding $1.5 million in support of Nebraska nonprofits and the University of Nebraska,” Denney said.