Fighting for the Common Good: John Cavanaugh

John Cavanaugh

John Cavanaugh

It has become cliche to talk about the children as our future.  It is more likely to conjure up a 1980s ballad rather than the obvious truism that underlies the statement.  But John Cavanaugh and Building Bright Futures (BBF) have recognized the basic truth that if we create or leave in place barriers to a good and productive future for our children we are jeopardizing the future of the community and society as a whole.  John and Building Bright Futures are dedicated to creating concrete and sustainable opportunities for Omaha’s children and thereby promoting the common good.  His life’s work and his work as Executive Director of Building Bright Futures exemplify the values of the late Jim Wolf, a founding Nebraska Appleseed board member and longtime advocate for community philanthropy, civil rights and justice for all.

That’s why the staff and board of Nebraska Appleseed is proud to select John Cavanaugh to receive Nebraska Appleseed’s Jim Wolf Equal Justice Award.

Appleseed has had the good fortune to work with John largely in the context of his work at Building Bright Futures, specifically regarding children’s health care.  John believes that access to health care for children is the foundation to all of Building Bright Futures work.  Children cannot take advantage of opportunities to learn if they are sick or dealing with a chronic illness.

In 2009, John helped lead a broad effort to educate senators on the need and opportunity to increase eligibility for Kids Connection, the state’s health insurance program for children.  That effort resulted in an increase in eligibility for Kids Connection to 200% of the federal poverty level.  This work made thousands of Nebraska children eligible for health care.

But his work did not end there.  John and BBF recognize that while changing state policy is a necessary and important first step, enrolling children in Kids Connection is critical to making sure they access that available care.  He continues to work with Appleseed and other groups to find ways to more efficiently and effectively enroll eligible children.

In addition, John has been instrumental in the effort to restore prenatal care coverage.  He has given powerful testimony on numerous occasions on the need for prenatal care to give a child the best possible start in life.  He also co-chaired the children’s health care summit held last December, which highlighted the inextricable tie between education and children’s health.

John is a true statesman.  He speaks directly, eloquently and cogently about the need for policies that safeguard the future for Nebraska’s children.  His work benefits some of our most vulnerable Nebraskans and he has made a true difference in the lives of the youngest Nebraskans, and therefore, in the future for every Nebraskan.

Join us in recognizing John at the Good Apple Awards reception on Thursday, September 22 in Omaha and celebrating Appleseed’s 15th anniversary.

Tickets are available online for $75 each. 100% of your ticket purchase directly supports Nebraska Appleseed’s efforts to advance equal justice and full opportunity for all.

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