Last week, we hosted our favorite event of the year – the Good Apple Awards – and we were truly honored and humbled that more than 300 of our friends and supporters joined us to help celebrate progress made over the last year, amazing Nebraskans who have advanced justice and opportunity and the important work that is ahead of us.
The Good Apple Awards was held in the Livestock Exchange Ballroom in Omaha, and is our annual recognition of individuals and organizations who have made extraordinary efforts to remove barriers and increase opportunities for all Nebraskans.
“This year’s Good Apple Awards gave us the chance to say ‘thank you’ to people and groups who have gone the extra mile to work for justice and opportunity for everyone in our state,” Nebraska Appleseed Executive Director Rebecca Gould said at the awards dinner. “It was great to look around the room and see so many individuals and organizations we work with who are all contributing to making Nebraska an even better place to live.” “It was also inspiring to hear from our honorees and celebrate their work and accomplishments.”
State Sen. John Harms was honored with the Jim Wolf Equal Justice Award, which recognizes a Nebraskan who has made significant contributions to justice for all throughout his or her career in the spirit of the late Jim Wolf, a founding Appleseed board member. Sen. Harms has sponsored and advanced several pieces of legislation to improve educational opportunities for adults with low-incomes in Nebraska. Sen. Harms’ work allows more Nebraskans to pursue education in order to work their way out of poverty.
Project Everlast received the Roots of Justice Award, an honor for grassroots advocates who have made outstanding contributions to justice and opportunity for all and have helped build a stronger community together. The young Nebraskans of Project Everlast were instrumental in the creation and ultimate passage of LB 216, the “Young Adult Voluntary Services and Support Act,” which created a system of voluntary services and supports for young people who age out of Nebraska’s foster care system. This program will greatly increase the chances for these young people to make a healthy transition into adulthood.
Justice For Our Neighbors – Nebraska was recognized with the Seeds of Justice Award, which honors outstanding legal contributions to public interest law and/or pro bono contributions by private lawyers and law firms advancing the public interest. JFON-NE provides immigration legal services, education, and advocacy for low-income immigrant clients in Nebraska and western Iowa. JFON-NE exemplifies the power and potential of public interest law – providing direct legal services, leveraging pro bono volunteers, communicating the needs of the community, and advocating for systemic change.
Omaha graphic designer Justin Kemerling received the Milo Mumgaard Emerging Leader Award, named for Nebraska Appleseed’s founding executive director. Kemerling promotes positive social change in Nebraska and inspires action through his unique design skills. He builds connections between communications, activism, advocacy, community building and social change. His communications skills and expertise push Nebraskans to take action to make their communities better and stronger.
Thank you again to all of our sponsors of the Good Apple Awards and everyone who joined us at this year’s event. Knowing we have so many wonderful friends and supporters is essential to continuing the work of the mission that we all share – to increase justice and opportunity for all Nebraskans!