United Way of the Midlands Announces Initial Nebraska and Iowa Tornado Relief Fund Investments – Thanks to Contributions Totaling More Than $1.1 Million

In response to the recent tornadoes that displaced thousands of people in Nebraska and Iowa, United Way of the Midlands (UWM) created the Nebraska & Iowa Tornado Relief Fund (NITRF). Fueled by the compassion and generous support of donors, to date, the fund has raised more than $1.1 million – with 100% of every donation being directed to those in need of assistance.

As a trusted leader in community-driven initiatives, UWM is uniquely positioned to assist with relief coordination efforts – ensuring that resources are allocated efficiently and effectively where they are needed most. The contributions raised over the last few weeks are being distributed to both local agencies and individuals in need in order to address the diverse impacts of the tornadoes.

This strategy addresses the severe and extreme devastation experienced by families and neighborhoods. It offers flexible and reliable assistance to households facing a very difficult situation, and supports both immediate and ongoing tornado response efforts. As needs evolve, UWM remains committed to coordinating and adapting future phases of investment to effectively address emerging challenges.
A total of $300,000 has been awarded to the following organizations who are working directly with impacted families and aiding in recovery efforts of communities across our region. In this initial phase of investments, the Nebraska and Iowa Tornado Relief Fund will provide support to:

  • Christian Outreach Program – For transportation, childcare and food assistance in the Elkhorn area.
  • City of Minden, IA – For city disaster and recovery planning, in collaboration with the Iowa West Foundation and other organizations.
  • Heartland Hope Mission – For case management, transportation and essential rehousing expenses.
  • Iowa Legal Aid – For direct legal assistance, outreach and education events, as well as collaboration with other agencies providing non-legal recovery services.
  • Legal Aid of Nebraska – For direct legal assistance, outreach, education, information and referrals – including a disaster relief hotline for those impacted who need civil legal assistance.
  • Nebraska Diaper Bank – To replenish emergency diapers distributed through partners in Douglas and Pottawattamie counties and to stock more diapers – ensuring availability for future needs.
  • New Visions – For transitional shelter supports, case management, behavioral and/or physical health, food and/or clothing, transportation, debris clean up, household item replacement, moving expenses.
  • Society of St. Vincent de Paul – For outreach and support to individuals affected by the storms who may be reluctant to seek assistance.
  • The American Red Cross – For essentials including shelter, food and/or clothing, behavioral and physical health and case management.
  • Whispering Roots – For food purchase, storage, packaging and delivery.
Additionally, UWM will be providing $1,000 per household in emergency financial assistance to address losses incurred as a result of the tornadoes. Priority will be given to those experiencing severe damage or complete destruction of their primary residence in: Douglas (NE), Lancaster (NE), Washington (NE), Crawford (IA), Harrison (IA), Mills (IA), Pottawattamie (IA) and Shelby (IA) counties.
This emergency financial assistance is intended to fill gaps and support the unique, individualized needs of families working to regain normalcy. It can be used for expenses such as co-pays or deductibles, security deposits or other essential costs not immediately covered by insurance or FEMA. Emergency financial assistance will be allocated on a first come, first served basis to affected households – and monetary awards will be distributed until all funds are disbursed.
Impacted households can complete a short form at UnitedWayMidlands.org/EmergencyFund to request assistance for essential needs not covered by existing resources. Only one submission may be approved per household, and completion of the application form is not a guarantee of payment. The application asks individuals to specify the intended use of the funds, and to upload relevant materials such as: home/auto insurance policies and claims; a FEMA application ID, application or approval letter; a disaster report or other official documentation.
Individuals with limited computer access may also call 2-1-1 or text their ZIP code to 898211 for assistance in completing the application form. Community Referral Specialists will be available to assist callers 24/7. All calls are free and confidential, but standard message and data rates may apply when texting. Assistance is available in more than 200 languages using the tele-interpreter service and bilingual staff.
In addition, UWM will work with local agencies to support needs and provide assistance as part of individual or family case management plans. By collecting this information and performing additional follow-up, our team is able to better understand needs and ensure dollars are directed to impacted households.
For additional information, go to: UnitedWayMidlands.org/TornadoRelief



About United Way of the Midlands: Since 1923, United Way of the Midlands (UWM) has served the Omaha-Council Bluffs metro by bridging the business and not-for-profit sectors to create a Circle of Support that helps our neighbors overcome difficult challenges and start building a better future. UWM’s funded programs and direct services address social and economic disparities and meet families’ essential needs such as healthy food, safe and stable housing, physical and mental health services, job training and more. Learn more at UnitedWayMidlands.org.