Inclusive Communities
Humanitarian Brunch Situation 2021

Welcome to the Inclusive Communities 2021 Humanitarian Brunch Situation!

This year our awardees are:

  • Humanitarian of the Year Essential Workers
  • Volunteer of the Year Alexis Sherman
  • Partner of the Year OutNebraska
  • Necessary Trouble Award Frederick Franklin

While strides are being made due to the pandemic, we recognize that not everyone is comfortable with large in-person events, so we've opted to retain the online format one more time. The pandemic hasn’t stopped our work to confront prejudice, bigotry and discrimination. And it won’t stop us from celebrating the amazing folks who work alongside us in our community.

Our Board Chair Tulani Grundy Meadows and her spouse Othello Meadows are the honorary event chairs this year. Celebrate with us by watching the show below.

2021 Award Honorees

Inclusive Communities Humanitarian Brunch

For the second year, Omaha-based nonprofit organization Inclusive Communities is celebrating its Humanitarian Brunch in a virtual format – The 2021 Humanitarian Brunch Situation. Inclusive Communities Board Chair Tulani Grundy Meadows and her spouse Othello Meadows are the honorary event chairs this year.

Necessary Trouble Award
Fred Franklin

Frederick Douglass Franklin is a native Chicagoan and graduate of Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. He moved to Omaha after being accepted into the Creighton School of Law, where he graduated with a Juris Doctorate in 1986.

After law school, Franklin was hired as an Associate with the law firm of Qualley & Associates where he worked primarily as a trial attorney handling a multitude of federal and state court litigation. He left Qualley & Associates in 1992 to form a law partnership with Omaha attorney Steve Lefler under the name Lefler & Franklin. There, Franklin began to focus on civil litigation including personal injury and on criminal defense law. That partnership dissolved in 1997 when Franklin accepted the position of Assistant United States Attorney, making him only the second African-American male to hold this position in Nebraska. There, Franklin both prosecuted federal crimes and defended the United States when it was sued in civil cases. Franklin is proud of the fact the he was the prosecutor for the very first criminal jury trial ever held inside the then new Roman L. Hruska Federal Courthouse. He retired from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in May of 2019, after nearly 22 years of federal service.

Franklin was asked to come out of retirement in May of 2020 to accept the Special Prosecutor position in conjunction with the grand jury homicide investigation of James Scurlock. That investigation concluded in October of 2020. Since then, Franklin spends his time with family, travelling and enjoying time on his Harley Davidson motorcycle. He also takes on a small number of civil cases under his newly formed Franklin Law Group, LLC.

Franklin is most proud of his family, especially Brigette, whom he met in college and married while in law school, his son Maurice, and his three daughters, Angel, Lindsey and Cydney. He is also a proud grandfather of Joshua and Skye Ruby. Professionally, Franklin is also proud of the mentoring he was engaged in with middle school boys through the Boys To Men Book Club, the annual networking event he hosted for law students at both Creighton and the University of Nebraska School of Law, and his mentorship to law students Interning at the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The Nebraska State Bar Association recognized his support to a diverse student collective when it awarded him its Diversity Award.

Volunteer of the Year
Alexis Sherman

Alexis Sherman is the Director of the Office for Diversity and Inclusion at the College of Saint Mary. She is an expert in educational advancement and support, with 20 years of experience in multicultural educational leadership roles and active student-centered programs. She has been a volunteer with Inclusive Communities since 2017.

At the College of Saint Mary, Sherman works to realize the college’s strategic vision for an inclusive campus, making it a priority to inspire connectivity and global citizenship within a diverse college community. Sherman applies her expertise to oversee diversity and inclusion partnerships and initiatives, as well as creation, assessment, and promotion of best practices to create an equitable, vibrant and intellectually challenging educational environment. Her work focuses on building a thriving community, facilitating student success, driving inclusive recruitment and retention, and informing systemic and progressive change.

Sherman studied English and Communication Studies at the University of Nebraska and earned her master’s degree in Higher Education Administration at The Ohio State University.

Partner of the Year

OutNebraska believes in a Nebraska free of judgment and filled with love. For more than 10 years they have been making an impact by advocating, celebrating and educating to improve the lives of LGBTQIA2S+ people.

They advocate for reform, connecting with local and state representatives, encouraging civic engagement and making investments for the betterment of our communities. They build connections that elevate their allies and celebrate LGBTQIA2S+ people through fun events like the Prairie Pride Film Festival. And they provide inclusivity training and engaging in community conversations to help ensure a welcoming and thriving environment for all.

OutNebraska empowers community building through culture, relieving the stress that comes from living in the margins. They provide the space to relax, laugh, enjoy each other and live your best life. They believe in pride of identity and welcome every new member with open arms.

Humanitarian of the Year
Essential Workers

The Inclusive Communities Humanitarian of the Year Award goes to an individual or group whose work aligns with the organization’s mission and values. This year, the award is bestowed on all the Omaha Metro humanitarians – Essential Workers. The stories featured in this video and on the following tab encompass the sacrifices that so many essential workers have had to make over this past year and a half.

Alicia Cordova
Submitted by Micky Devitt

Amanda Smith
Submitted by Autumn Sky Burns

Jerry Carr
Submitted by Jim Lehman and Ginny Ward

Essential Workers

We honor and elevate the experience of all essential workers who have sustained our communities through the pandemic at great personal risk.


Alicia Cordova

Alicia Cordova has worked on the packing lines of a meatpacking plant for three years, and for the entirety of the pandemic. As in so many packing plants during this terrible time, she experienced insufficient sanitation, no separation on the production lines, crowded hallways, and was even charged for basic protective equipment like masks and gloves. When she got sick with COVID-19 working at the plant she was making just $11 per hour. Many of her co-workers also fell ill. When her quarantine leave ran out, even though she still felt dizzy and had no sense of smell, she went back and continued to serve in the packing plant.

Alicia has long been a leader on Heartland Workers Center's Core Team in South Omaha, volunteering on park improvement projects and other community projects. But during the pandemic, she stepped up even more to help Get Out The Vote in both socially distanced and phone-banking campaigns. So, it was only true to her committed and generous nature that after she faced dangerous working conditions, she got active there too.

She sent written testimony to the Nebraska Unicameral about the working conditions in the plant in support of a bill that would have created temporary safety standards in Nebraska's meatpacking plants in August of 2020. She also sent written testimony to support LB441, which would have ensured that front-line essential workers like her, but also teachers, first responders, grocery store workers, and others, would be able to access workers compensation for illness, quarantine, and death due to COVID-19. Even more, Alicia joined a committee of workers from packing plants across Nebraska to talk about working conditions and organize for worker power in the plants. She attended know your rights trainings, shared her knowledge with others, and supported workers who were preparing for action in their own workplaces. Workers and community members like Alicia deserve recognition after this terrible year. Alicia’s story highlights her work and service to our community under terrible conditions, and her service beyond measure to her community and towards making all workplaces better and safer.

Jerry Carr

Jerry Carr exemplifies a humanitarian. The definition of Humanitarian is one who is “concerned with or seeking to promote human welfare.” Jerry has been doing this every day since 2007 when he began working at Hy-Vee. He works with a smile on his face and has diligently worked hard to help every customer and staff member that has walked through the sliding doors of the store. Jerry consistently goes out of his way to connect with the individuals that cross his path. He has a way of genuinely inquiring about each customer both inside and out of the store. He remembers when customers return and finds a way to engage in conversation to make them feel comfortable and welcome. Jerry always makes time for his other teammates as well- to give advice personally and professionally or to give a good pep talk to assist them through a bad day.

Throughout the pandemic, Jerry made sure every customer felt they were safe and comfortable shopping at Hy-Vee. Because Jerry had a person in his home who had a health vulnerability and was at high risk for the virus, he was adamant about keeping the store and grocery space clean and sanitized. He worked to instruct employees and customers on procedures on how to properly use their PPE. Jerry is a real asset to at HyVee – he always will help in any way in the store and to make customers and this community feel seen. He provides comfort to others, and they know they are given good care. Jerry story is amplified to show how he leaned in to helping others feel safe because he knew it would improve the lives of the humans he interacts with every day.

Amanda Smith

The COVID-19 Pandemic required many in the community to be incredibly flexible in how they reacted at work. As the Manager of Community Outreach and Volunteer Services at the local community hospital, Amanda Smith was no different. Everything that she typically did in her position day to day prior to March 2020 changed. Even through her uncertainties, she found ways to keep her employees feeling secure, uplifted, and as minimally stressed as possible. She organized volunteers and hospital staff as they transitioned into new positions to fill needs within the hospital. She is responsible for successfully getting thousands of COVID-19 vaccines into the community through the hospital vaccine clinics. The Papillion community is lucky to have her as an "essential worker".

Inclusive Communities Humanitarian Brunch

Thank you for celebrating the Inclusive Communities 2021 Humanitarian Brunch Situation with us! We hope to see you in-person next year.

Past Honorees

Humanitarian Award

This award recognizes individuals and couples for their outstanding service, contributions of time, effort and resources to the community and dedication to the goals, values and mission of Inclusive Communities.

  • 1955 W.O. Swanson
  • 1956 John Rosenblatt
  • 1960 Gerald T. Bergan
  • 1961 Morris E. Jacobs
  • 1962 Milton S. Livingston
  • 1963 Ralph Svoboda
    V.J. Skutt
  • 1964 Richard Walker
    Gen. Thomas Power
  • 1965 Dr. Abe Greenberg
  • 1966 Leo A. Daly
  • 1967 Peter Kiewit
  • 1968 W.A. Strauss
    Einer Juel
  • 1969 Fr. H.W. Linn
    Rev. Carl Reinert
  • 1970 A.F. Jacobson
  • 1971 Morris F. Miller
  • 1972 Dr. A.B. Pittman
  • 1973 J.D. Anderson & Eugene Leahy
  • 1974 General John Meyer
  • 1975 Sam Greenberg
    Helen Cherniack
  • 1976 Ben Morris
    Archbishop Daniel Sheehan
  • 1977 Milton R. Abrahams
    Dr. Ronald Roskens
  • 1978 Dale Te Kolste
    William Hinckley
  • 1979 John D. Diesing
    Eugene Skinner
  • 1980 Fr. Robert P. Hupp
    James Paxson
  • 1981 Rabbi Sidney Brooks
    Dr. Claude Organ
  • 1982 John Kenefick
    Tom Osborne
  • 1983 Charles A. Monasee
    Thomas Nurnberger
  • 1984 Robert Daugherty
    Lloyd Skinner
  • 1985 General Bennie Davis
    Mike Harper
  • 1986 Walter Scott, Jr.
    Dr. D.B. “Woody” Varner
  • 1987 Marge & Charles Durham
  • 1988 Bernie Simon
    Dr. Del Weber
  • 1989 General John T. Chain
    Rev. Michael G. Morrison, SJ
  • 1990 Eugene A. Conley
    Ike Friedman
  • 1991 Thomas R. Burke
    Robert M. Spire
  • 1992 Thomas J. Skutt
    Roy A. Smith
  • 1993 Marian & Harold Andersen
  • 1994 Herman Cain
  • 1995 Carmen & John Gottschalk
    Howard J. Kaslow
  • 1996 Barbara & Bill Fitzgerald
    Donald A. Yale
  • 1997 Liz & Dave Karnes
    Alan Simon, Fred Simon, & Steve Simon
  • 1998 Kimball & Bruce Lauritzen
    Stanley Slosburg
  • 1999 Phillip G. Schrager
    Harley D. Schrager
    Ann & Ken Stinson
  • 2000 Jean & Bob Bell
    Cookie & Jerry Hoberman
  • 2001 Cindy & Mogens Bay
    Nancy & Harlan Noddle
  • 2002 Judy & Bob Bates
    Debbie & Lew Trowbridge
  • 2003 Mary & Dick Holland
    Susie Buffett
  • 2004 Judy & Jack Baker
    Carol & G. Richard Russell
  • 2005 Ann & John Nelson
    Maxine & Joseph Kirschenbaum
  • 2006 Rhonda & Howard Hawks
    Gail & Michael Yanney
  • 2007 Lin & Michael Simmonds
    The Late Karen & George Rozmarin
  • 2008 Ivel & John Reed
    Cindy & Wayne Sensor
  • 2009 Henry A. Davis
    Shirley & Dr. Michael Sorrell
  • 2010 Mary Joy & Tal Anderson
    Sharon & Dick Davis
  • 2011 The Late Dr. Rubens Pamies
    Martha & David Slosburg
  • 2012 Susan & Michael Lebens
    Dorothy & Dr. Stanley Truhlsen
  • 2013 Stephanie & Jack Koraleski
    Betiana & Todd Simon
    Stacy & Bruce Simon
  • 2014 Ramona & Deryl Hamann
    Annette & Paul Smith
  • 2016 Marian Ivers (in memoriam)
  • 2017 Tri Faith Initiative
  • 2018 Urban League Nebraska Young Professionals
  • 2019 Marta Nieves
  • 2020 Bobby Brumfield

Volunteer of the Year

This award is presented to one of Inclusive Communities’ committed volunteers who dedicate their time, energy, sweat, and passion to support our programming, advocacy, and mission.

  • 2008 Mike Honeyman
  • 2009 Hillary Nather-Detisch
  • 2010 Christine French
  • 2011 Emilio Herrera
  • 2012 Ronald Moore
  • 2013 Ebony Banks
  • 2014 Kevin Custard
  • 2016 Carrie Healy
  • 2017 Nate Johnson
  • 2018 Corny Rhone
  • 2019 Emily Schirmbeck
  • 2020 Haji Weliyo

Otto Swanson Spirit of Service

This award is named after one of Inclusive Communities’ early founders and honors individuals and groups whose lives or chosen field of work exemplifies the mission of Inclusive Communities.

  • 1987 Kathleen Severens
  • 1988 Project Homeless
  • 1989 Bob Armstrong
  • 1990 Rev. James P. Scholz
  • 1991 Shirley Goldstein
  • 1992 Mary Dean Harvey
  • 1993 Rabbi Aryeh Azriel
  • 1994 Denny Holland
  • 1995 Joe Edmonson
  • 1996 William E. Ramsey
  • 1997 Truman Clare
  • 1998 Frank Hayes
  • 1999 Brenda J. Council
  • 2000 Alcurtis Robinson
  • 2001 Ben Gray
  • 2002 Alberto Gonzalez
    Steve Hogan
    Bob Wolfson
  • 2003 Rev. John P. Schlegel, S.J.
  • 2004 James A. “Jim” Swoopes
  • 2005 Cecil L. Hicks, Jr.
    Omaha Community Foundation
  • 2006 Fr. Thomas M. Fangman, Jr.
    Dr. Magda Peck
    Rev. L.C. Menyweather-Woods
  • 2007 Brad Ashford
    Rabbi Myer Kripke
    Retired Sergeant Teresa B. Negron
  • 2008 Carol Woods Harris
    Charles Drew Health Center
    Fred Schott
  • 2009 Empowerment Network
    Institute for Holocaust Education
  • 2010 Katherine Fletcher
  • 2011 Evelyn “Evie” Zysman
  • 2012 Susan & Michael Lebens
    Dorothy & Dr. Stanley Truhlsen
  • 2013 OneWorld Community Health Center
  • 2014 Marcia Bredar
  • 2016 Carol Joy Holling Center
  • 2017 Gene Haynes
  • 2018 Lakeisha Bonam
  • 2019 Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center
  • 2020 Omaha Public Power District

Humanitarian Event Chairs

Humanitarian Chairs have long been selected for their generosity to Inclusive Communities and leadership in the community. Many have been (or go on to be) honored at the same event with the Humanitarian Award. *Indicates they have already been honored.

  • 1960 Morris E. Jacobs*
  • 1961 E.F. Pettis
  • 1962 Frank Fogarty
  • 1963 Charles D. Peebler, Jr.
  • 1964 Leo A. Daly*
  • 1966 J.D. Anderson*
  • 1967 V.J. Skutt*
    Morris E. Jacobs*
  • 1968 Charles Peebler, Jr.
  • 1969 Bruce G. Schwartz
  • 1970 Paul C. McGrath
  • 1971 W.A. Strauss*
  • 1972 Thomas S. Numberger*
  • 1973 Morris F. Miller*
  • 1974 V.J. Skutt*
  • 1975 J.D. Anderson*
    Robert Runice
  • 1976 Leo A. Daly*
  • 1977 John D. Diesing*
  • 1979 Thomas H. Allen
  • 1980 Charles D. Peepler, Jr.
  • 1981 W.A. Strauss*
  • 1982 C.M. “Mike” Harper
  • 1983 Richard D. McCormick
  • 1984 Sam F. Segnar
  • 1985 Thomas J. Skutt*
  • 1986 John D. Woods
  • 1987 Joseph L. Pfeister
  • 1988 Janice D. Stoney
  • 1989 Michael Walsh
  • 1990 Robert D. Bates*
  • 1991 John Cochran
  • 1992 William F. Welsh
  • 1993 Sue & Walter Scott, Jr.*
  • 1994 Dr. Del Weber*
  • 1995 Kimball & Bruce Lauritzen*
  • 1997 Anne & John Nelson*
  • 1998 Gloria & Herman Cain*
  • 1999 Judy & Jack Baker*
  • 2000 John Gottschalk*
    Lew Trowbridge*
  • 2001 Mary & Mickey Landen
    Diny & Jim Landen
  • 2002 Beverly & Dr. Harold Maurer
  • 2003 Ivel & John Reed*
  • 2004 Susan Jacques & Gene Dunn
  • 2005 Connie & Rick Spellman
  • 2006 Sharon & Dick Davis*
  • 2007 Betiana & Todd Simon*
  • 2008 Ann & Ken Stinson*
  • 2009 Carol & Rick Russell*
  • 2010 Susan & Michael Lebens*
  • 2011 Annette & Paul Smith *
  • 2012 Ann & Brad Ashford*
  • 2013 Emily & Craig Moody
    Laura & Michael Alley
  • 2014 Andrew Rouillard & Brent Thomsen
    Robin & Aaron Shaddy
  • 2016 Mike Fahey
  • 2017 Andy Holland
  • 2018 Jane D. & Thompson H. Rogers
  • 2019 Mart & Sherif Sedky
  • 2020 Rieko Ikeda-Hayes and Alex Hayes
e-creamery logo

This celebration went live on July 18, 2021.
July 18 is also National Ice Cream Day.

Inclusive Communities has partnered with eCreamery to provide four Inclusive specialty ice cream flavors.

Flavors include:

Humanitarian Crunch Chocolate Cake Mix Ice Cream with Chocolate Malt Ball Pieces and Heath Bar Bites

Necessary TruffleSea Salt Caramel Ice Cream with Brownie Bites & Caramel Swirls

Spirit of Pride Sorbet Rainbow of Mango, Lime & Raspberry Sorbets

Volunteer Swirl Cheesecake Ice Cream with Strawberry Swirls and Graham Crunch

Thank you to our Event and Operational Sponsors

  • e-creamery logo

    Media Partner

  • KETV logo

    Media Partner

  • Fraser Stryker
  • Sherwood Foundation
  • Lozier
  • American Family Insurance
  • Holland Foundation
  • Mutual of Omaha
  • Childrens Hospital & Medical Center
  • Clark Creative Group
  • OPPD
  • OPPD
  • FNBO
  • Scoular
  • Scoular
  • Kathryn Goodman
  • Stephen Gutierrez-Sager
  • Howard and Gloria Kaslow
  • Krista Freimuth
  • Dr. Elizabeth Constance
  • Daniel Gutman
  • John Atherton & Marti Rosen-Atherton
  • Liz Mazzotta
  • William and Ruth Scott Foundation

Missed the 2020 celebration? Catch up with us HERE.

About Inclusive Communities

Maggie Wood
Executive Director

Cammy Watkins
Deputy Director

Tena Hahn-Rodriguez
Business Development Manager

Robbie Q. Summers
Continuity & Sustainability Manager

Molly Welsh
Operations & Projects Manager

Krysty Becker
Communications Manager

J. Dominic Green
Programs & Faculty Manager

Colin McGrew
Program Partner

Kandace Freeman
Program Partner

Inclusive Communities was established in 1938 as the Midlands Chapter of the National Conference of Christians and Jews (now the National Conference for Community and Justice). In that historical context, the conversation centered on “Who is an American?” particularly in response to overt anti-Semitism and heinous acts committed by the Ku Klux Klan. From the very beginning, we have been engaged in mobilizing against divisive forces of violence, ignorance and exclusion, as we seek to embrace diversity and build strong communities.

In 1938, Otto Swanson, owner of the Nebraska Clothing Company, was appalled by the entreaty of another Omaha businessman to conduct a secret boycott of Jewish-owned businesses, touted as a benefit to him since his business was “Christian-owned.” Swanson is later quoted as saying, “I couldn’t believe anything like that could happen, not in the United States and certainly not in Omaha.” He was committed to working toward human understanding. Along with W. Dale Clark, banker; Milton Livingston, businessman; and Ralph Svoboda, attorney, he joined with other leading citizens and thus Inclusive Communities was born (albeit as the NCCJ Midlands Chapter).

Right away our activities were focused on engaging the wider community in discussion - on race in the 1940s; struggles faced by Native American communities, youth, and rural populations in the 1950s; and sexuality and substance abuse in the 1960s. Early on, our organization tackled subjects that were under-discussed, hidden on the margins, whispered as if taboo. We took to task having those conversations that bring discomfort to the surface, because from very early on, our predecessors recognized the need for those growing pains in order to advance as a society.

In the 1960s discussions continued on how best to listen to children, interfaith and inter-racial relationships, and the integration of public schools. In the 70s and 80s discussions expanded into organized lectures and workshops, professional intervention and community mediation, taking on topics such as police and minority relations, racial isolation in public schools, and the meaning of the Holocaust for Christians and Jews. Human relations programs were developed for schools, police departments, correctional institutions, government agencies, and private industries.

In the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s we engaged in dialogues about Muslim and Christian relations, Equal Employment Opportunities and Affirmative Action, and understanding the diversity of faith. We also introduced Teen Summits and the Green Circle Program for the elementary level as a way of encouraging early socialization processes rooted in diversity and inclusion. In 2000, we held the first Anytown, with the purpose of transforming young people into passionate and compassionate leaders.

As we evolved into our current incarnation, Anytown has now become our beloved IncluCity camp. We have a range of programming available for private industries and government agencies - the newest being LeadDIVERSITY.

From the beginning, gratitude has been a foundational element of our actions. The Humanitarian Brunch, started as a Humanitarian Dinner and Award Ceremony, then for a number of years forayed into a day-long conference in various parts of Nebraska (Grand Island one year, Norfolk another...), before we settled into the current energy-filled, mimosa-fueled, feel good celebration that we know today. We have honored Nebraska names that everyone knows - Peter Kiewit, Margre and Charles Durham, Dick Holland, Susie Buffett and so many more. And we have also undertaken to lift up names that you might not know as well, but whose impact in our communities has been undeniable - this year, Bobby Brumfield, last year South Omaha leader Martha Nieves, and previously the Urban League of Nebraska Young Professionals.