About IPL

IPL’s Mission Statement

The Institute for Public Leadership (IPL) empowers diverse and emerging communities by developing leaders to act for justice and the common good. IPL is an affiliate organization with Omaha Together One Community (OTOC).

IPL collaborates with local organizations to identify emerging leaders.

IPL provides skills training, research and organizing support.

IPL focuses on leaders from diverse faiths, races, and socio-economic backgrounds including refugees and immigrants from Asia, Africa and Latin America, public school parents, and faith-based and community organizations.

IPL. Investing in People. For the Common Good.


Current Focus of our Work

IPL is currently providing leadership development and skills training through these initiatives:

Group picture
April 23 Women Refugee Leadership Training

Refugee Women Leadership Academy: IPL is organizing regular training sessions for a group of refugee women leaders from Africa and Asia so they can understand how to better solve problems facing their families such as dealing with landlords, overcoming isolation and finding employment.  Leaders are learning how to interact effectively with school, city, state and federal officials where that is necessary.

Refugee Health Collaborative: IPL works with UNMC College of Public Health, refugee resettlement agencies and refugee leaders to improve how refugees access medical and mental health care in Omaha and how providers care for refugees. This project organizes training sessions so that volunteer medical and mental health providers can share information and training on health topics identified by refugees.

Dr. Crockett with Karen
Dr. Libby Crockett leads April Refugee Health Collaborative Training

Refugee Cultural Night: IPL works with 10 different refugee groups to organize an annual celebration of the music, dance, song and food of the refugee communities living in Nebraska. On November 5, 2014 this third annual event attracted 300+ people to one of the most diverse and enjoyable celebrations of culture in our city.

Burundian community Chiors
November 2014 Refugee Culture Night

Refugee Civic Academy: IPL initiated a four session, 15 hour Refugee Civic Academy in September, 2014 that was attended by twenty-two different refugee leaders at the UNO Community Engagement Center. This partnership between IPL, OTOC, Lutheran Family Services, Nebraska Appleseed and UNO Political Science department helped refugee leaders learn how local, state and federal governments function and how refugees can interface with these levels of government to solve problems involving their families.

City Council President Festersen at Civic Academy
Council President Festersen at September 2014 New American Civic Academy

Training for OTOC Action Teams: IPL provides ongoing leadership training and organizing support to 150 leaders working on five Action Teams of Omaha Together One Community (OTOC). Currently, OTOC leaders are working on: Revitalizing Housing, Immigration Reform, Improving Mental Health, Environmental Sustainability, Medicaid and Fair Tax policies.

August 18 training session
OTOC Civic Engagement Training August 2014


Our Board

Debra Romberger, M.D., Board President, Henry J. Lehnhoff Professor and Chair, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Nebraska Medical Center

Ken Reed-Bouley, Board Vice President, Director of the Creighton Center for Service and Justice

Allison Latenser, Board Secretary, Community Volunteer

Mark Hoeger, Board Treasurer, Co-President, Oberon Entertainment

Ken Smith, Staff Attorney, Nebraska Appleseed

Alex Zimmerman, Accountant/Supervisor, Frankel Zacharia, LLC

Carol Zuegner, Associate Professor of Journalism, Creighton University


Advisory Committee:

Kathleen Grant, M.D., Chair, Associate Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, UNMC, Staff Physician, Omaha VA Medical Center

Ms. Shari Thompson, Chief Audit Officer, University of Nebraska-Omaha

Tom Kiefer, DDS

Anna Lee Welch, private Accountant and Community Volunteer



 Our Supporters

IPL is grateful for the ongoing support of many local and national foundations, individuals and businesses who have supported our work including:

  • Catholic Campaign For Human Development
  • Sherwood Foundation
  • Hawks Foundation
  • William & Ruth Scott Family Foundation
  • Sisters of Mercy West/Midwest  Community Mercy Grants
  • Omaha Community Foundation Greatest Needs  Fund
  • The Ambassadors
  • Women’s Fund of Greater Omaha
  • Presbyterian Church USA

 Over 200 Individual Contributors through Omaha Gives & Annual Contributions