Collaborative Initiatives

Lancaster Connected

A Community Collaborative for Safe Children and Strong Families


As a community collaborative serving Lancaster County, Nebraska, we know that:

  • Too many families are facing challenging conditions that can lead to stress and circumstances that may put their children at risk for abuse and neglect;
  • Not all families have what they need to thrive;
  • Racial and gender injustice exists at every level of our society, from our individual biases, to our policies and institutions;
  • Child neglect is often rooted in poverty, inaccessibility, and lack of resources that can become major barriers for families to succeed;
  • Unresolved childhood trauma has the potential to impact an individual’s physical and mental well-being across their lifetime;
  • To build a strong community, we must support families through a holistic, preventative approach to ensure all families thrive and have the opportunities they need to raise healthy and safe children free from abuse and neglect.

Lancaster Connected, as a community collaborative, stands with families, for families and celebrates family in its many different forms. We exist to elevate family well-being and believe this starts with listening to families, trusting their lived expertise, and working in partnership to inform and inspire new opportunities. We work to engage a cross-section of community leaders and value the advantages of diverse perspectives.

Our Mission

The mission of the collaborative is to support families through a prevention network of connected community resources to ensure all families have the opportunities they need to raise healthy and thriving children.


Lancaster Connected was established in November 2021. Utilizing a Collective Impact approach, our collaborative seeks to build public-private partnerships that can lead to transformational change in our community for children and families. Through Lancaster Connected, we are able to bring together diverse organizations and partners to address issues impacting children, youth and families in a way that is too complex for any one agency to solve on its own. We seek to build connections, improve communication and coordination and reduce duplication of efforts.

United Way of Lincoln and Lancaster County services as the backbone agency for the work of Lancaster Connected with funding and leadership support provided by Nebraska Children’s and Family Foundation.

Pathways for Change

The following areas have been identified by our Collaborative to guide the focus of our work over the course of the next two years (2023-2025):

  • Develop and support lived experienced partners at all levels of Lancaster Connected
  • Develop and build the Lancaster Connected infrastructure for greatest impact in our community
  • Improve services and supports designed to build protective factors in children, youth and families in the following priority areas:
  1. Children, youth and families will have access to quality, early childhood services and supports;
  2. Children, youth and families will have access to basic need services and supports;
  3. Children, youth and families will have access to 24/7 crisis stabilization and supports;
  4. Children, youth and families who have experienced adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are provided the supports and services to build hope and resilience and change the trajectory of their lives.

Leadership Team

  • Khamissa Abdalla
    Asian Cultural Center
  • Kodi Bonesteel
    Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department
  • Anne Brandt
    Lincoln Littles
  • Doretta Brookins
    Families Inspiring Families
  • Nathan Busch
    Nebraska Children’s and Family Foundation
  • Ryan Carruthers
  • John Danforth
    Region V Services
  • Nola Derby-Bennett
    Community Learning Centers
  • Jake Dillsaver
    Lincoln Police Department
  • Remonte Green
    Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services
  • Dennis Hoffman
    Family Service Lincoln
  • Rose Hood-Buss
    The HUB
  • Sara Hoyle
    Lancaster County Human Services
  • Emily Kluver
    Community Health Endowment
  • Meagan Liesveld
    United Way of Lincoln and Lancaster County
  • Felipe Longoria
    Central Plains Nebraska
  • Amara Madsen
  • Chad Magdanz
    Mental Health Association
  • Sahra Niazi, M.D.
    Complete Children’s Health
  • Heather Nielsen
    Lutheran Family Services
  • Andrea Phillips
    Lincoln Public Schools
  • Paige Piper
    BraveBe Child Advocacy Center
  • Stephanie Pospisil
    Ponca Tribe of Nebraska
  • Kati Umberger
    Food Bank of Lincoln

Kristen Derr, Coordinator for Lancaster Connected

United Way of Lincoln and Lancaster County
238 South 13th Street
Lincoln, NE 68508

To learn more about the work of Lancaster Connected and ways to get involved, e-mail


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