Omaha ‘does a great job of investing in itself.’ Thank wealthy residents with a good attitude
The city of Omaha “does a great job of investing in itself,” said James Chung, a son of Wichita, Kan., and founder of strategy and predictive analytics firm Reach Advisors. The low-profile Omaha nonprofit Heritage Services plays a large role in the investing.
Since 1990, Heritage Services, backed by some 100 mostly anonymous residents, has provided $725 million in private gifts to realize $1.2 billion in public projects. Most recently, those donations have included:
• $15.8 million in 2009 for the $75-million Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Center, a 15.5-acre campus with a 122,000-square-foot wellness facility with a pool, gym, healthcare and child-care services and performing arts space
• $8.7 million in 2009 for the Omaha South High School football/soccer field
• $1.8 million in 2009 for land purchase for Omaha’s Metropolitan Community College
• $30 million in 2011 for the renovation of the Durham Museum, Omaha’s historical museum
Kansas vs. Nebraska, Wichita vs. Omaha, Koch vs. Buffett
Two Midwestern cities. Two local billionaires (Koch and Buffett).
Which one can boost prosperity?
Charles Koch’s philanthropy reflects belief in ‘individual empowerment’
Susie Buffett’s mission is to support Omaha’s least-advantaged residents.
Here’s how she does it
Charitable giving in Wichita and Omaha — check out the differences
• $44.2 million in 2011 that helped pay for the TD Ameritrade Park Omaha, a 24,000-seat downtown stadium that hosts the College World Series of baseball
• $7.5 million in 2012 for the renovation of the Peter Kiewit Institute, home to the University of Nebraska Omaha’s College of Engineering and College of Information Science and Technology
• $38.2 million in 2013 for community investments in Opera Omaha, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium and the Joslyn Art Museum
• $31.3 million in 2015 for the expansion of Omaha’s 100-acre Lauritzen Gardens
• $43 million in 2015 toward UNO’s $90-million Baxter Arena, which hosts the school’s hockey, basketball and other sports teams
• $26.4 million in 2015 for the Do Space digital library
• $29 million in 2019 for Siena Francis House, a 535-bed emergency homeless shelter and drug rehabilitation center
• $30 million in 2020 for construction of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ $86-million Omaha VA Ambulatory Care Center
(Data provided by Heritage Services)
Must-read stories from the L.A. Times
Get all the day's most vital news with our Today's Headlines newsletter, sent every weekday morning.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.