PO Box 83613
Nebraska Appleseed (NE Appleseed) is a nonprofit organization that fights for justice and opportunity for all Nebraskans. This is NE Appleseed’s first time submitting a proposal for CareQuest Institute funding. Since 1996, the organization has been active in the areas of public policy, legal action, and community organization. Taking a systemic approach to issues such as child welfare, immigration policy, affordable healthcare, and poverty has resulted in many victories that have improved the lives of historically marginalized communities throughout Nebraska. Among these victories are the passing of Medicaid expansion and securing dental, vision, and over-the-counter drug coverage, as well as successfully opposing the state’s attempt to impose work and other requirements on the Medicaid expansion group.
To build the proposed state oral health plan, NE Appleseed will coordinate several strategies, including community organizing, policy, legal, and administrative advocacy, coalition building, and communications. With the goal of centering community voices, NE Appleseed has prioritized the community organizing aspect of its larger systems change approach. Grant funding would support the hiring of a full-time Community Organizer who would be dedicated to building and strengthening the organization’s relationships with various communities. This work would help the organization better understand the barriers to access and care, but also to build community power through leadership development modules and community education activities. NE Appleseed will be particularly focused on engaging rural areas in the state and North and South Omaha, which are predominantly communities of color, and will coordinate grassroots actions as new partnerships are established and the coalition of health advocates expands.
Advocacy and communication are also major components of the proposed work. Policy advocacy activities include educating lawmakers on Medicaid and CHIP as well as supporting implementation of recently passed legislation, while NE Appleseed’s administrative advocacy work will focus on playing a more supportive role to the state’s Department of Health and Human Services. Legal advocacy work in service of the health plan’s development is research focused and will be responsive to systemic issues that impact utilization of Medicaid and CHIP in Nebraska. The proposed communications effort will require NE Appleseed to create and disseminate content through social media and email outreach. Visibility and awareness are important factors for success; therefore, the organization hopes to execute multiple, informational communication campaigns that focus on community members.
As an organization that serves diverse communities across the state, NE Appleseed is also aware of the impending impact of the end of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. Funding threats have been consistent over the years and NE has been stagnant in its expansion of other state options to improve access, especially for immigrants, those utilizing maternal health services, and connecting children and families to Medicaid. With the continued scrutiny that is placed on Medicaid, NE Appleseed will play an important role in preserving access to Medicaid as well as advocating for more robust coverage. 24
Furthermore, the organization will leverage its existing programmatic efforts to conduct community outreach to prepare people for the transition.
NE Appleseed expressed interest in leveraging its existing relationships to community leaders and organizations of color and is dedicated to making this expansion a priority during the proposed grant period. NE Appleseed is interested and focused on making sure historically marginalized communities are centered in their oral health work.
This request is for $106k and $92k would go to staff salaries (between the Community Organizer, Program Director, and Staff Attorney – 1.28 FTEs) and there is match funding indicated for all three positions. The remaining funds will support travel expenses, participant incentives, marketing and outreach efforts, equipment and office supplies.