Through grants made to eligible organizations, Woods Charitable Fund seeks to strengthen the community by improving opportunities and life outcomes for all people in Lincoln, Nebraska. Woods supports members of the nonprofit sector who are exploring creative alternatives and promoting more just, effective approaches to meet community needs.
The Fund’s grantmaking philosophy carries some common themes into all of its interest areas: belief in the dignity of every individual and in the individual’s capacity for change; respect for cultural differences; commitment to the concept that empowerment means enabling people to make their own agenda for change rather than imposing one on them; confidence that programs, services and institutions can be designed and operated to make a profound difference in people’s lives; and recognition that no program or policy is ever perfect and all must be continuously monitored and reevaluated.
The grant program is broad in outlook, supporting both direct service and projects exploring policy options in the public interest which may result in long-term solutions to conditions affecting our community.
The Fund supports a broad range of activities which include, but are not limited to, the Areas of Interest described on this web site. We are interested in reviewing plans for pilot projects and innovative programs, as well as sustained growth for organizations whose work coincides with the Fund’s purposes. Woods Charitable Fund supports both direct services and policy programs.
The Fund looks forward to opportunities to review proposals joining partners (academic, community, government, business, public service, faith-based) to explore ways to integrate perspectives and talents toward common goals. We support projects that involve coalition-building, public education and advocacy to affect positive social change and improve opportunities for all citizens.
Woods supports members of the nonprofit sector who are exploring creative alternatives and promoting more just, effective approaches to meet community needs.
Charlie was elected to the board in 2022.
She is Special Assistant to the Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and has been Director of the University’s Jackie Gaughan Multicultural Center and Office of Academic Success and Intercultural Services.
Charlie received Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees from the University of Alabama in clinical psychology. She is the outgoing Vice President of the Board of Directors of the United Way of Lincoln and Lancaster County and Second Vice President of the YWCA Lincoln’s Board of Directors. She co-founded the Big 10 Multicultural Student Affairs Network and is the adviser for the Afrikan People’s Union and two mental-health recognized student organizations at UNL.
Community Investment Director
Nicole began working at WCF in 2017 and handles program review, grants management and public relations.
Before joining WCF, Nicole worked for Heartland Big Brothers Big Sisters developing, managing and monitoring grants, coordinating events and drafting agency communications. She has worked and volunteered at several local nonprofit organizations in varying roles since 2001.
She received a bachelor’s degree from Nebraska Wesleyan
University in Communication Studies with a minor in Political Science.
Senior Community Investment Director
Kathy has worked at WCF since 2012 and handles program review, grants management and public relations.
Before joining WCF, Kathy worked at the Lincoln Journal Star in several editing roles beginning in 2005. She also has worked in public relations for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and has been an editor at newspapers in Iowa, California and Nevada. She has volunteered with several local nonprofit organizations in varying roles since 2001.
She received a Bachelor of Journalism degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Joan began working for WCF in 1990 and currently directs office management, information processing, systems development and business operations.
Previously, Joan taught in the public education system and just before joining WCF worked for the E.A. Mellinger Educational Foundation, a private scholarship foundation in Monmouth, Illinois. She has volunteered with several local nonprofit, neighborhood and community organizations.
She received a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with an emphasis in Vocational Education.
President & Board Secretary
Tom began working for Woods Charitable Fund in 1999 and served as Senior Program Officer prior to his promotion to President in 2012.
Before joining WCF, Tom served as Program Associate at the Community Foundation Serving Coastal South Carolina (Charleston). He received both a Master’s degree in Public Administration and a Certificate of Non-Profit Management from the University of Pittsburgh. He has volunteered with several local nonprofit and community organizations.
Tom is the great-great grandson of Frank and Nelle Woods, who in 1941 established WCF as a philanthropic organization.
Director of Direct Marketing
Arbor Day Foundation
Suk was elected to the board in 2020.
Wortman is Director of Direct Marketing at the Arbor Day Foundation, which has the mission to inspire people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees. She also worked in marketing and sales positions at financial tech, bio-tech and agricultural businesses in Nebraska and Illinois.
She received a bachelor of arts degree from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, in business communication management and legal studies in business. She is a member of the capital campaign committee of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church and volunteers with the Food Bank of Lincoln.
Jay was elected to the board in 2019.
From 1991 to 2021, he was Executive Director of Houses of Hope, which provides residential and support services for individuals impacted by substance use and related mental-health issues.
Jay has served on local boards including Gathering Place, St. Monica’s, CenterPointe, Nebraska Association of Behavioral Health Organizations, Cause Collective, Nebraska AIDS Project, and DHHS Board of Alcohol and Drug Licensure. He works at the national level to increase awareness and need for behavioral health services.
Pablo was elected to the board in 2018.
He is a consultant for affordable housing in Lincoln. Pablo has served on the Board of Directors of the South of Downtown Community Development Organization, Center for Legal Immigration Assistance and El Centro de las Américas. He is a freelance instructor of traditional Mexican folkloric dance.
Pablo is a licensed Realtor and currently serves as a board member on the Bryan Medical Center Board of Trustees.
Michelle was elected to the board in 2017.
Michelle served children and families in the Lincoln Public Schools as an elementary school principal and teacher for 34 years. Until her retirement in December 2019, she was the Early Childhood Developer for the Prosper Lincoln initiative, which works to increase cross-sector initiatives and resources to advocate for and improve early-childhood development. She has served on several local and state boards including Nebraska Appleseed, Nebraska State College System and the Food Bank of Lincoln. In addition, she served on the Nebraska Early Childhood Workforce Commission and the South of Downtown Coalition Steering Committee. In January 2023, Michelle was appointed to the Lincoln City Council to fulfill an open position to represent the city’s southwest region, District 3.
She received a Master’s of Educational Administration degree and a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Elementary Education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Speedway Motors, Inc. Chief Financial Officer
Mike served on the WCF Board from 2000 to 2006, but his service to WCF began long before then. When Woods Charitable Fund divided its endowment and management between offices in Lincoln and Chicago in 1993, Mike was instrumental in guiding WCF’s Lincoln office as it chose investment managers and established an investment policy. He served as Chair of the WCF Board from 2005 to 2006, and he has served WCF as Assistant Treasurer since 2007.
Since 2001, Mike has worked as Chief Financial Officer for Speedway Motors and Speedway Properties. Before that, Mike was Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Interactive
Intelligence, Inc. in Indianapolis as well as Vice President-Treasurer and Secretary for Aliant Communications, Inc. (formerly The Lincoln Telephone & Telegraph Company). Prior to that, Mike had a career in public accounting and the private practice of law.
Mike is a Trustee of the University of Nebraska Foundation and serves as a member of the Investment Committee for the $3+ Billion fund. From 1998 to 2013, Mike volunteered with the Community Health Endowment of Lincoln serving as a Trustee, Treasurer, Vice Chairman and finally as its Chairman from 2011 to 2013. Today he serves as an advisor to its investment committee.
Board Member – Treasurer
VP Development LINE Partners
Hank was elected to the WCF Board in 2005.
Hank earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of New Hampshire in 1995. He is Vice President of Development at LINE Partners, a local commercial real estate firm. Previously he worked for NAI FMA Realty in Lincoln in property sales and leasing and as a Mortgage Banker for TCF National Bank in Minneapolis.
Hank serves on the board of trustees for the Madonna Foundation, Lighthouse and Mourning Hope. Hank also serves on the board of directors for Sahara Enterprises, Inc., a privately held company in Chicago.
Hank is the great-great grandson of Frank and Nelle Woods, who in 1941 established WCF as a philanthropic organization.
Board Member – Vice Chair
Ed was elected to the WCF Board in 2016.
Wimes is owner of E&S Consulting, providing leadership coaching, human resources management and diversity/inclusion strategies to firms and institutions. Prior to retirement, Wimes served as Special Assistant to the President of the University of Nebraska and for 14 years as the University’s Assistant Vice President/Director of Human Resources.
A retired Army Officer, Ed has served on boards for the Malone Community Center, the Community Health Endowment, the NAACP
and CASA for Lancaster County. He was a former commissioner for the Nebraska Equal Opportunity Commission and has been a member of the Mayor’s Multicultural Advisory Committee, the Mayor’s Community Cabinet and the City of Lincoln’s Personnel Board. He is a current member of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “Freedom Breakfast” Committee.
Board Member – Chair
Nelle was elected to the WCF Board in 2005 and Board Chair in 2019.
Nelle earned a Bachelor of Journalism degree and a Master of Arts in Museum Studies from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In the past, she worked as the Director of Membership for the Minnesota Museum of American Art in St. Paul and as an Art Assistant for Creating Pride, a Chicago-based organization dedicated to supporting schools facing reduced art programs.
She serves on the Woods Tennis Educational Foundation Board.
Nelle is the great-great granddaughter of Frank and Nelle Woods, who in 1941 established WCF as a philanthropic organization.