Investing in people.
For the common good.

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Institute for Public Leadership (IPL) provides leadership development, skills training, research and organizing support to people from diverse faith traditions, racial and ethnic origins, and socio-economic backgrounds from across the Omaha metropolitan area so they can be effective agents of positive change in their communities.

IPL provides training and support to refugees from Asia and Africa, immigrants from Latin America, parents of children in public schools; and to leaders of congregations and community organizations affiliated with Omaha Together One Community (OTOC).

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Latest news

IPL staff lead refugee training sessions about rental rights and responsibilities

After being approached in 2016 by agencies who work with Omaha refugees, IPL has a new refugee training program that is educating refugees about their rental responsibilities and rights. The trainings are geared towards reducing the number of rental housing issues refugees are having. Through research done by OTOC intern Shannon Sein this summer, a […]

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IPL takes Omaha leaders to seminar with Glenn Loury, national expert on race and economics

On August 15 and 16th, OTOC leaders Mark Hoeger and Karen McElroy and IPL Executive Director Joe Higgs joined community leaders from across the United States in Houston, Texas to discuss how to work across race and class lines in these polarized times.  Karen, Mark and all of the eighty leaders and organizers present in […]

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Leadership training with:


Leadership training with:


Leadership training with:


Mohamed Hassan

Bringing Issues to Legislators

"Through the New American Civic Academy I learned so many things. It was 100% helpful because I learned about our city, state and federal system. I learned how to talk to legislators about the different kinds of issues in our community. I would recommend it to other leaders in our refugee communities." — Mohamed Hassan refugee from Somalia, leader of the Somali Bantu community and father

Discovering Resources

"By coming to Refugee Women Leadership I learned how the levels of government work in Omaha and Nebraska. I learned about where to go for help depending on what I am having problem with. I also learned about school districts, especially how they are divided, and that a child goes to a certain school and district depending on his or her location, or what he or she wants to study." — Ndaizeye Immaculee refugee from Burundi and mother of a small child

Gloria Austerberry

Improving Omaha's Housing

"Training I received through the Institute for Public Leadership has helped me succeed as a Co-chair of OTOC's Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization Action Team. I learned to seek out others who share my passion for improving Omaha's quality of housing for all. I also learned how important it is to our effectiveness to reflect on and evaluate our actions and meetings of various kinds." — Gloria Austerberry Co-chair of the Housing Action Team for OTOC

Laurie Gift

Learning to Lead

"A spark was ignited in me when I attended my first training session and heard that our collective power is a good thing which we can utilize to shape policy set by our elected officials. My eyes got big, my heart began to race, and I thought to myself: Wow – this is where I want to be! I attended more training sessions and eventually became the Chairperson of OTOC’s Environmental Sustainability Action Team. IPL’s trainer and OTOC leaders have provided guidance, education and encouragement while I was learning to become a leader. They remain by my side and are available when I need help. For me, this training played a key role in my becoming involved with OTOC and remains so to this day." — Laurie Gift Co-Chair of the Environmental Sustainability Action Team for OTOC

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