Finding higher ground

In this Oct. 24, 2019 photo, the sun sets over Winslow, Neb. It took only minutes for swift-moving floods from the Elkhorn River to ravage tiny Winslow this spring, leaving nearly all its 48 homes and businesses uninhabitable. Now, the couple dozen residents still determined to call the place home are facing a new challenge: Moving the entire town several miles away to higher ground. 

LINCOLN — St. Edward, North Bend and Winslow are among the communities and organizations to receive grants for community development efforts that address flood recovery while also building for the future.

Nebraska Flood Recovery Fund — established by the Ethel S. Abbott Charitable Foundation and Nebraska Community Foundation for the purpose of assisting Nebraskans affected by the 2019 floods to rebuild their lives — has made grants to six communities and organizations.

St. Edward will receive up to $50,000 for the purpose of flood mitigation and informed future planning. Preliminary efforts will involve hiring a consulting firm to assess possible expansion to its residential area.

North Bend has been granted $62,000 to assist with street and levee repair, and Winslow will receive $97,000, contingent on securing other matching funds, for the purpose of community relocation and increasing resiliency for future flood events.

All granting decisions were made by volunteer members located across the state with a variety of experience and expertise, from housing to business and rural community development.

Most recently, grants also were awarded to the following communities and nonprofit organizations:

— Heartland Disaster Recovery Group of Grand Island will receive $65,000 for the benefit of Hall and Howard Counties to coordinate recovery efforts and assist local families impacted by the floods.

— Fremont Area Habitat for Humanity will receive $25,000 for its efforts to demolish and rebuild flood-damaged homes within its service area.

— Midwest Housing Development Fund has been awarded $75,0000 to help establish a communication and collaboration network — known as the Midwest Housing Resource Network — to better respond to future flood events and other disasters.

The Rebuild the Heartland Community Fund, created by First National Bank of Omaha, and Nebraska Flood Recovery Fund, both affiliated funds of Nebraska Community Foundation, have been working closely through a joint pre-application process meant to streamline grant applications and better respond to community requests.

Donations may be made to the Nebraska Flood Recovery Fund online at or by calling 402-323-7330.

The mission of the Ethel S. Abbott Charitable Foundation is to perpetuate the charitable generosity that Ethel S. Abbott demonstrated through her 97 years of life. Since her death in 1992, the Ethel S. Abbott Charitable Foundation has awarded grants exceeding $24 million.

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