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United Way of the Midlands 2019 Flood Report
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This spring, our community watched with dismay as floodwaters swept across Nebraska and Iowa, bringing with them nearly incomprehensible devastation. Livestock perished, belongings were washed away and homes were left several feet underwater. The cost of the damages quickly rose into the billions.

But thankfully, those affected didn’t have to face the disaster alone.

Almost immediately after the flood’s onset, you began reaching out to us. You called about hosting fundraisers, about collecting supplies, about donating dollars. Throughout the course of the next several months, you would join with more than 2,000 individuals and 45 companies to contribute to our Nebraska and Iowa Flood Relief Fund. Collectively, you – and donors hailing from 48 different states and as far away as Puerto Rico and France – would give more than $1.1 million in support of flood victims and flood recovery efforts.

Trying times can bring out the worst in people – or the best. I am completely humbled by the fact that, in our community’s time of great need, you responded with your very best. Your caring spirit and incredible generosity made all the difference.

Thank you for supporting flood victims and our community during this difficult time.




Shawna Forsberg

President and CEO

United Way of the Midlands

Images provided by the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency in partnership with Nebraska State Patrol and Nebraska National Guard.



United Way of the Midlands takes a very specific approach to its work – and that’s a “united” approach. We know that the best results are achieved when we are working together with other nonprofit organizations, businesses, government entities and community leaders.

So with the guidance and support of our Board of Directors, we joined forces with numerous organizations to serve flood victims and tackle rebuilding efforts after disaster struck.

AmeriCorps Disaster Response Teams

Volunteers from AmeriCorps Disaster Response Teams used our Get Connected volunteer platform to connect numerous people to volunteer opportunities.

Other United Ways

We used our resources and multi-state reach to help collect critical funding to help those affected by the flooding.

Long-Term Recovery Committees

We took part in the Long-Term Recovery Committees in Douglas, Cass, Sarpy, Pottawattamie and Mills Counties. Through the support of FEMA representatives, impacted counties created these committees to identify projects and funding strategies that will re-establish healthy, functioning and self-sustaining communities.

2-1-1 Helpline

Our 2-1-1 Helpline specialists disseminated up-to-date information about programs and services that were available to victims.

In total, helpline specialists received approximately 1,400 calls or texts related to the flood. In a true testament to Midwestern generosity, more than 400 of these calls were from individuals who wanted to know how they could donate or volunteer to help flood victims.



United Way of the Midlands is focused on ensuring our donors’ dollars go further. More than 6,000 people who were affected by the floods received help as the result! That’s why, when we invested your flood fund donation, we followed the same accountability practices we utilize on a day-to-day basis.


100% of flood fund donations was invested in community programs benefiting flood victims.

Community-Wide Focused

To determine how to invest your donation, we identified which needs were the most pressing – and which were going unseen or unmet.

Impact Driven

Experts evaluated each program before making investments, so you know your donations funded those that could make the biggest impact.

Results Based

To hold ourselves and our partner agencies accountable, we are collecting program results, measuring the impact and sharing this information with you.



Thanks to your incredible generosity, thousands of people received immediate crisis supports.


$450,000 – Immediate Crisis Response:

In the midst of a disaster, people require assistance meeting their immediate needs. Examples of immediate crisis response actions include feeding and sheltering victims, distributing cleanup kits and gutting flood-damaged homes.


Where Your Donation was Invested:
  • American Red Cross

  • Legal Aid of Nebraska

  • Iowa Legal Aid

  • Habitat for Humanity – Omaha

  • Food Bank of the Heartland

  • United Ways Across Nebraska & Iowa*

    • * per donors’ request




Long-term recovery supports are more costly and time-consuming, but they are having a profound impact on people’s lives.


$700,000 – Long-Term Recovery Efforts:

“Long-term” refers to the need to re-establish a healthy, functioning community that will sustain itself over time. Examples of long-term community recovery actions include rebuilding homes, providing mortgage assistance, improving access to behavioral healthcare and more.


Where Your Donation was Invested:
  • Kings Garden, Inc.

  • Lutheran Family Services

  • Mills IA County Community Foundation

  • Habitat for Humanity

  • Lift Up Sarpy

  • Omaha Rapid Response

  • Nebraska Legal Aid

  • The Salvation Army

  • Food Bank of the Heartland

  • Iowa Legal Aid

  • Fremont IA County Community Foundation

  • Boy Scouts

  • Heartland Hope Mission

  • New Visions

Projected Results:
*New Additional Investment for Long-Term Recovery – $64,550

These additional investments were made in May 2020.


Douglas County  

  • Program: Direct Assistance for Rental Assistance for Housing Stability
  • Need/Gap: There are currently 75 open cases and almost 10 still on a waiting list.
  • Projected Impact: Dollars will support 28 families with rental assistance to remain/maintain housing.


Sarpy County 

  • Program: Direct Assistance for Rental Assistance for Housing Stability
  • Need/Gap: The cost of rental assistance for 71 families who are currently in need is estimated at $58k.
  • Projected Impact: Dollars will support 30 families to remain/maintain housing.


Fremont County Long-term Recovery (IA)

  • Program: Direct Assistance for Rental Assistance for Housing Stability
  • Need/Gap: There are nearly 50 open cases where families are in need of rebuilding or rental assistance. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, rebuilding has stalled which has caused longer stays in rental locations.
  • Projected Impact: Dollars will support 33 families with rental assistance to remain/maintain housing.


Habitat for Humanity

  • Program: Home Repairs
  • Need/Gap: Additional funds are needed for community repair and recovery.

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