Seward County Bridges is a 501(c)3 organization affiliated with the Seward County Chamber and Development Partnership (SCCDP) that provides fiscal management and grant writing assistance for projects and programs across Seward County. The organization was created in 1999 to offer local nonprofits in Seward County assistance.
Harrison Helmer, current Executive Director of Bridges, remarks that the nonprofit sector is a tough industry to be in because, to operate and fund projects and programs, nonprofits have to try and find grants; the money does not flow as steadily as a for-profit. It means a lot more grunt work, paper pushing, and being involved in the community.
“Seward County Bridges is here for programs and organizations that need support. Being involved in the community is necessary for Bridges to succeed,” says Helmer.
A huge piece of Bridges is it offers tax deductible donations. If, for example, someone wanted to donate to Foster Friends, they could send the donation to Bridges, which is tax deductible, and Bridges would place the money into the Foster Friends account.
Through grant writing and tax-deductible donations, Bridges has been the partner needed to get some organizations going. Southeast Nebraska CASA got started with Bridges but is now a stand-alone organization. All funds raised for Independence Landing at the fairgrounds and raised to update the Christmas lights around Seward in 2018 went through Bridges.
Currently, the organization supports 4-H Afterschool, the Seward Backpack Program, the Milford Backpack Program, and Foster Friends, to name a few.
Through Bridges, Helmer is also the manager for a federal grant and the secondary contact for a state grant. The state grant is a Community-Based Grant for juveniles which is given to programs that help keep juveniles out of the juvenile justice system. The federal grant is the Prevention Block Grant that comes out of Region V System in Lincoln, Nebraska. The grant is more substance abuse driven in youth, funding Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E) and the TeamMates program in Seward and Milford.
Bridges exists to help nonprofits succeed, and in turn, it helps people within the local community. Bridges works behind the scenes to help programs become a reality and remain active in Seward.
In the wake of COVID-19, Bridges received money through the nonprofit CARES Act. They reached out to all projects and programs to see what they needed. In the end, they were able to donate $9,000 to the Milford Backpack Program and $3,000 to the Seward Backpack Program.
“It was great because those organizations were not able to have many of their fundraisers,” says Helmer. “This organization has continued to grow even through a pandemic”.
“I love to see how many people in Seward County care for those around them. We want to see the county as a whole thrive. I want to thank everyone whose has been involved with Bridges over the years,” Helmer states.
If you are interested in learning more about Bridges or want to make a donation to a nonprofit working with Bridges, contact SCCDP at 402-643-4189.
Address: Seward Civic Center
Seward, NE 68434