The Salvation Army of Omaha, Nebraska is a long-standing organization that has provided help to hundreds of thousands of the Metro Omaha community’s most vulnerable residents since 1896. With time, the organization has broadened its supportive services but maintained the one core goal: to meet human needs without discrimination.
The Salvation Army serves the homeless, the hungry, persons experiencing mental health and other medical issues, victims of human trafficking and prostitution, senior citizens, and thousands of youth in North and South Omaha. Multiple programs for each exist, and each present its own challenges. For fiscal years 2019 and 2020, The Salvation Army faced many difficult decisions due to many factors related to a major flood in 2019 and the pandemic in 2020 through today. While contributions remained steady, the need for services increased substantially. The increased demand for services increased overhead costs which stretched budgets considerably. Some programs were reduced, while others were placed on hold or eliminated. Even after securing additional funding due to COVID-19, the organization faced overall fiscal challenges.
Through the Olson Foundation’s undesignated grants, the Salvation Army has been able to allocate funds towards critical programs that don’t always get the attention of benefactors. The Olson Foundation grants contributed to the Salvation Army providing 76,700 meals in 2020 alone, with thousands being offered around holidays and Winter. Additionally, the youth programs yielded 4,440 youth enrolled, through programs that keep minds sharp and bodies active. Additionally, 5,600 families were assisted with utility and holiday programs - on top of 11,000 backpacks provided to youth. Staying true to their breadth of community support, 558 adults were set up with community center or housing programs, which helped keep many safe, comfortable, and educated in the matters of anti-human trafficking.