Democracy is not a
spectator sport

OTOC News

160 people learned about Pope Francis’ Encyclical on July 30 and 35 attended July 23 conversation about sustainable food

July 18th, 2015
Team at July 2015 meeting

OTOC Environmental Sustainability Action Team

It was more than a full house at the Weitz Community Engagement Center on July 30 as an overflow crowd  learned about Pope Francis’ Encyclical “Laudato Si”  which lays out our responsibility to care for God’s Creation and how we can take action to create a more sustainable environment for the future of our region, state and world.

Panelists included Father Dennis Hamm, Professor Emeritus in Catholic Theological Studies at Creighton University; Dr. Roger Bergman, Director of the Justice and Peace Studies Program, Creighton University; and Rev. Kim Morrow, Director of Nebraska Interfaith Power & Light.

Rev. Morrow laid out clearly the science behind climate change. Fr. Hamm and Dr. Bergman gave an overview discussed in engaging manner each of the chapters in the encyclical. More than a dozen people asked questions or made comments in the following period of question and answers.Read More . . .

OTOC leaders meet with Sen. John McCollister to discuss wide array of topics

June 28th, 2015

Leaders of the OTOC Environmental Sustainability Action Team organized a meeting with Sen. John McCollister (Dt. 20–South Central Omaha) on Friday, June 26th which was held a Countryside Congregational Church. Immigration Action Team Co-Chair Kathleen Grant thanked Sen. McCollister for his critical support for LB 423 which allow young adult dreamers the opportunity to qualify for a driver’s license in Nebraska. Sen. McCollister named the bill  his sole priority bill and then worked to get the bill out of the Transportation Committee. Once out, the bill received the support of Unicameral which easily completed and override of Governor Ricketts’ veto of the bill.

Mark Hoeger, Co-Chair of the OTOC Medicaid and Taxes Action Team thanked Senator McCollister’s for his ongoing  support for Medicaid Redesign in the recent session. The group discussed OTOC’s ongoing determination to  see the State of Nebraska expand the coverage of Medicaid permitted by the Affordable Care Act so the more Nebraska families can afford to purchase health care.  OTOC leaders agreed to continue educating congregations members about why this legislation would be a priority for the state.Read More . . .

60 leaders attended OTOC’s July 13 Training focusing on Cycle of Organizing, Qualities of Leaders

June 26th, 2015

Session 2 Marshal Johnson at front of roomSixty people from 21 different congregations and community organizations attended OTOC’s 2nd summer training session on community organizing. IPL Executive Director and OTOC organizer/trainer Joe Higgs provided and quick summary of two two topics:

OTOC is a Broad-based Organization. How does this differ from Civic Organizations or Movements?   Are there other Broad-based organizations?

The Cycle of Organizing.   How do we move from self-interest to shared–interest, to research that moves toward an action and solution we can win?

Rev. Marshall Johnson of the OTOC Clergy Caucus gave a training session on:

Qualities of Leaders.   Are leaders born that way or are there skills we can learn? Leaders in organizing are often not the obvious ones.   Is anger ever a virtue?Read More . . .

Over 50 leaders from 22 organizations attend first summer training session

May 26th, 2015
photo-3

Rev. Marshall Johnson led part of the first OTOC Summer Training on Organizing Skills

On Monday, June 8th, fifty one  OTOC leaders and guests began a lively summer training program to focus some of the fundamental ideas and practices of organizing. Leaders from 22 different congregations and community organizations discussed concepts like “Self Interest”, the “Iron Rule” of organizing and reality that officials sometimes  “Do the right thing for the wrong reason” and “the action is in the reaction.”

These sessions are intended to help OTOC and community leaders develop an understanding of the basic concepts  that they need to successfully organize effective action in their congregation,  organization and community.

Based on feed back from participants in the first session, the trainers and  leaders of  the second session on Monday, July 13 at 7:00 p.m. will focus more on the usual steps of organizing. The will lay out some of the characteristics of a broad based organization and review the typical practices that leaders use when they are working to take action effective action. The next session will be:

OTOC Action Teams have active Winter & Spring

May 25th, 2015

OTOC’s Action Teams have had a busy few months. Please share this report with people who might be interested in their ongoing efforts to make Omaha and Nebraska a community that works for all families.

Final May 2015 Report about work of Action Teams

OTOC leaders prepare to meet with Governor Ricketts on Mar 31

Immigration Action Team: OTOC leaders were greatly cheered that the Nebraska Unicameral was able to clear last minute efforts to filibuster LB 623 which grants Dreamers who have been granted a temporary federal status the opportunity to apply for a Driver’s license in Nebraska.  According to Kathleen Grant, OTOC Immigration Action Team Chair, “It is high time that the State of Nebraska afford these young people the opportunity to legally drive to their work, school and home. They are part of the bright future of our state and by not allowing them to drive in our state, we are driving them away from our state.”

Grant, Gaspar Gaspar and other leaders of the OTOC Action Team  asked 9 candidates for the Unicameral to support this change in law at an OTOC  Acountability Session attended by 300 people back on October, 6, 2014.  OTOC leaders testified in support of the bill in February and then met with Governor Ricketts  on March 31 to ask that he support this change in state law. To learn more about ongoing work of the Immigration Action Team, contact Jeanne Schuler at jschuler@creighton.eduRead More . . .

OTOC Mental Health Action Team meets with Kim Foundation and Community Alliance

May 15th, 2015

Click on the link below for a copy of the Executive Summary of the Region 6 Mental Health Assessment:

Executive Summary of Region 6 Assesment Report

Leaders working on the OTOC Mental Health Action team had a full afternoon of meetings on May 14. In the early afternoon five leaders from OTOC and National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) met with the executive director and program director of the Kim Foundation. The conversation helped the OTOC and NAMI leaders understand better the role that the Kim Foundation plays in fostering collaboration between agencies dedicated to providing mental health care to those who are in need. OTOC and NAMI agreed they would look for ways to participate in Kim Foundation sponsored community events in the future.

Later in the afternoon, 10 leaders from OTOC, NAMI and the League of Women Voters had a meeting with Carol Boye, Executive Director of Community Alliance, and Aileen Brady, the Chief Operating Officer. The leaders engaged in an informative and wide ranging discussion about the gaps which exist in the services provided to  people with mental illness and their families. Through this research action, the group identified a several strategies to improve access to mental health care and supportive services that they will continue to research over the next several months.

If you want to be part of improving mental health care in this region, contact the Mental Health Action Team chair, Sarita Penka  at  saritapenka2@gmail.com or come to the next action team meeting.

Over 180 Give to Institute for Public Leadership to support training for OTOC and community leaders

May 15th, 2015

Over 182 people contributed to IPL during the day, and over 110 people gave during the last 8 hours, helping IPL win one of only 15 participation awards given to  mid-sized organizations with the most donors!!!

Together we raised over $23,000 so that IPL can continue our work providing leadership training to emerging leaders from refugee and immigrant communities, school parents and leaders of OTOC member institutions. ThanksOG-Logo-with-Date

Here is how your contributions to IPL came in

$16,893 from 182 on line donors

$   3,600 from IPL Board and friends in Extra Bonus $$ to boost  the impact of your gift

$      690 Cash and checks contributed at the After Work Gathering

$   1,500 Participation Award from Mutual of Omaha

$ 22,683

$500    Expected  matching dollars from Omaha Community Foundation

Total Number of Donors

182 different individual donors contributed to IPL online  which ranked 12th  of 175 or top 7% of  midsized organizations (budgets of $100,000 to $500, 000).  Compared to all 715 organizations, ranked IPL 48 of 715, also in the top 7% of all organizations for number of donors.

During the last 8 hours of the day, 110 people contributed to IPL and the total of 182 was an increase over 50 over the number of donors in 2014.

Total funds received

IPL received a total of $16,893 in online contributions during OmahaGives which ranked 21st of 175 midsized organization or among the top 12%. Among all 715 participating organizations, IPL ranked 102nd or the top 15% of all organizations.

Thanks for your great support to Institute for Public Leadership which provides leadership development to refugee and immigrant leaders, school parents and leaders from Omaha Together One Community

OTOC leaders rejoice at Unicameral vote to grant drivers licenses to Dreamers

May 15th, 2015

OTOC leaders inside Governor Reception RoomOTOC leaders were greatly cheered that the Nebraska Unicameral was able to clear last minute efforts to filibuster LB 623 which grants Dreamers who have been granted a temporary federal status the opportunity to apply for a Driver’s license in Nebraska.  According to Kathleen Grant, OTOC Immigration Action Team Chair, “It is high time that the State of Nebraska afford these young people the opportunity to legally drive to their work, school and home. They are part of the bright future of our state and by not allowing them to drive in our state, we are driving them away from our state.

Grant, Gaspar Gaspar and other leaders of the OTOC Action Team  asked 9 candidates for the Unicameral to support this change in law at an OTOC Acountability Session attended by 300 people back on October, 6, 2014.  OTOC leaders also  met with Governor Ricketts  on March 31 to ask that he support this change in state law.Read More . . .

Take Action on Monday May 4 on two bills that will affect the future of our Environment!!

May 3rd, 2015

Support LB 423 to increase community based energy projects

 LB 423 would provide a production tax credit for Community Based Energy Development (C-BED) projects. Passage of LB 423 has the potential to lead to the development of many community renewable energy projects in Nebraska. There are several community and wind and solar projects that are waiting to see if this incentive will be put in place before deciding whether to proceed with development. LB 423 represents a positive use of tax policy to incentivize activities that are beneficial to Nebraska and its people.

 C-BED projects have the following requirements:

1. At least 25 % investment in Nebraska materials or resources; and

2. Approval of the local county board.

The investment threshold means that more money will stay in Nebraska, creating more jobs and beneficial economic impact.

County board approval means that there is an opportunity to address siting issues and other local concerns.Read More . . .

Thank You!!Celebration of Community a Great Success

April 28th, 2015

Over 400 OTOC leaders and their guests came to the Hot Shops on Saturday April 25th to enjoy OTOC’s Celebration of Community 2015. The event was lots of fun with great food, E-Creamery Gelato, wonderful jazz music, a superb 300 item silent auction and lots of great people with whom to share the evening.

Thanks for your great support!!!

Suzanne Doupnik and Rebecca Morales were the over all chairs. They had great support from Carol Beaty as chair of Silent Auction and Sponsorships; Margaret Gilmore, Al Howick, Brianne Kemp, Rosie Volkmer and others helped with planning and lots of logistics in transforming the Hot Shops into a great party Hall and Silent Auction venue.

Thanks to our great sponsors who helped defray the cost of the evening so that your contributions through silent auction and purchasing tickets helped raise an essential part of OTOC’s annual budget so that you can continue to organize to make Omaha a community that works for all families.

Mark your calendar for next year:  Saturday, April 16, 2016   6 to 9:30 p.m.

 



Newsletter Sign Up