Chancellor Harvey Perlman crashed an annual holiday party on Dec. 9 to announce that UNL’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute has earned a second $1 million grant from the Bernard Osher Foundation.
The award will be used to support the needs of OLLI’s growing membership, said Dee Aguilar, coordinator of the UNL OLLI program.
“The chancellor’s announcement of the grant was a very nice surprise,” Aguilar said. “Funds generated by investing this endowment will help provide stability and sustainability to further support and expand OLLI programs. This is especially important as we work to keep up with the demands of our growing membership.”
Since 2004, OLLI at UNL has provided lifelong learning programming primarily for individuals 50 years and older. In the last year alone, OLLI has offered more than 150 non-credit courses plus special events and tours. Course topics range from writing, music, science, and history to movies, theater and art.
OLLI programs are designed for learning strictly for the joy of learning; participants are not graded and do not earn college credits. The program is part of the UNL College of Education and Human Sciences.
OLLI has more than 1,080 dues paying members participating in programs.
The institute previously received a $1 million grant in 2008 after meeting several criteria set forth by the Bernard Osher Foundation.
Aguilar said OLLI was invited to apply for and earned a one-year, $50,000 operating grant from the national Osher foundation in 2013. Successful execution of the criteria set forth in that grant made the OLLI program eligible for consideration of the second $1 million endowment. Requirements for second endowment gifts include: diversity of programs offered; opportunities for volunteer engagement and leadership; strong support from the host institution; sound organizational structure and financial stability; annual fundraising program; and membership of more than 1,000 members.
“The continued growth of the lifelong learning program at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln since the (Bernard Osher) Foundation made its first grant award in March 2004 has been exceptional,” said Mary Bitterman, president of the Osher Foundation, in a letter to OLLI. “A consistent standard of excellence and model of active member involvement have become hallmarks of your fine program.”
The national foundation worked with Perlman to have the award announced during OLLI at UNL’s annual holiday celebration.
“This grant is an extraordinary recognition of OLLI and its commitment to providing educational opportunities,” Perlman said. “The University of Nebraska is proud of our association with OLLI and all the great things they do for the community.”
For more information on the OLLI at UNL program, go to http://olli.unl.edu.