Nebraska Appleseed

We Fight for Justice and Opportunity for all Nebraskans

aka Nebraska Appleseed Center for Law in the Public Interest   |   Lincoln, NE   |
GuideStar Charity Check

Nebraska Appleseed

EIN: 47-0798343


Nebraska Appleseed is a nonprofit organization that fights for justice and opportunity for all Nebraskans. We take a systemic approach to complex issues—such as child welfare, immigration, affordable health care, and poverty—and we take our work wherever it can do the most good, whether that's in the courthouse, at the Capitol, or with the community.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Becky Gould

Main address

PO Box 83613

Lincoln, NE 68501-3613 USA

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Subject area info

Public interest law

Public affairs

Voter education and registration

Community organizing

Economic justice

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Population served info

Children and youth


Ethnic and racial groups

Immigrants and migrants


Show more populations served

NTEE code info

Civil Rights, Advocacy for Specific Groups (R20)

Public Interest Law/Litigation (I83)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (W01)

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Nebraska Appleseed fights the toughest systemic issues facing Nebraskans across 4 key areas: economic inequality, child welfare, health care, and immigration. These issues are central to ensuring that every member of our community has the rights, resources, and opportunity to thrive.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Economic Justice

Our Economic Justice program aims for Nebraska to have effective public systems so all Nebraskans can become financially secure and have a real chance to achieve the American Dream. The Economic Justice Program focuses on: (1) Protecting access, strengthening public benefits and essential work supports to create pathways out of poverty (e.g., the cash assistance program Aid to Dependent Children (ADC), child care subsidies, Medicaid, and unemployment insurance); (2) promoting adult education and skills training to help adults get the education they need to secure employment with family-supporting wages; (3) Reducing hunger in Nebraska by strengthening Nebraska's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and expanding access to feeding programs for low-income children; and, (4) Defending the legal rights of low-income Nebraskans to access public assistance programs.

Population(s) Served
Working poor
Extremely poor people
Unemployed people
Low-income people

Our Immigrants & Communities Program uses a variety of these strategies to create strong, vibrant, inclusive, and engaged communities. Through policy advocacy, leadership development, community organizing, coalition building, civic engagement, inclusion efforts and more, we have worked hard to create a Nebraska that is a great place to live for everyone.

Population(s) Served
Immigrants and migrants
Undocumented immigrants
Migrant workers
Refugees and displaced people

The health and wellbeing of our communities depends on the health and wellbeing of all Nebraskans. Health care coverage is a vital part of living a good life. Nebraskans with health insurance are physically healthier – and economically more secure. They seek out preventative care, they see a doctor when they need to, and they’re more likely to bounce back, physically and financially, from injury or illness. We work to ensure:
● Every Nebraskan has access to affordable health coverage.
● Every Nebraskan has the information they need to enroll in and use health insurance.

We’re working to make sure that important laws and programs that provide health care coverage like Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and the Affordable Care Act, are implemented properly in our state and that these programs are simple and easy to use.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Unemployed people
Working poor
Low-income people

Appleseed’s Child Welfare Program advocates for systemic change for Nebraska youth to ensure the child welfare system provides safety, stability, and a smooth transition to adulthood for the more than 3,800 children currently in foster care, the approximately 300 young adults who age out each year as well as the over 6,600 children affected by the juvenile justice system. Our work includes advocating for strong supports to assist youth in the child welfare system and youth aging out of these systems who are transitioning to adulthood, ending homelessness for youth with system experience, and decreasing the disproportionate share of youth of color in the child welfare system.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Foster and adoptive children
Foster and adoptive parents
Out-of-home youth

Where we work


13th Annual Chancellor's "Fulfilling the Dream" Award 2010

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Closing the Gap Award 2009

Community Health Endowment of Lincoln

Roger Baldwin Civil Libertarian of the Year Award 2009

American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska

Gerald Henderson Human Rights Award 2004

Lincoln Commission on Human Rights

Leadership for a Changing World Award 2001

Ford Foundation

Robert M. Spire Public Service Award 2020

Omaha Bar Association

Health Care Wave Award 2019

Families USA

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

• Ensure Nebraskans have access to essential public supports like food and child care assistance to help make ends meet when facing financial hardship.
• Address the housing affordability crisis with increased tenant protections and rental assistance.
• Protect and strengthen essential health care coverage and services by ensuring all Nebraskans can access quality, affordable care in their community.
• Enshrine essential worker health and safety protections because going to work shouldn’t be dangerous.
• Change Nebraska’s child welfare system to prevent harm, end racial disparities, and provide the support that kids and families need.
• Advocate for positive immigration laws and practices that keep families together and promote communities of belonging.

Nebraska Appleseed utilizes a mix of strategies to create systemic change including community input seeking, agenda setting, and leadership development; policy research, development, and evaluation; policy advocacy at the local, state, and federal levels; administrative advocacy; legal advocacy and impact litigation; coalition building; ballot initiative advocacy; and nonpartisan voter engagement.

At Appleseed, our staff is comprised of attorneys, social workers, community organizers, and policy specialists take a systemic approach to complex issues such as child welfare, immigration policy, affordable healthcare and poverty. We employ more than 40 full-time staff who have a wealth of experience, knowledge, and background in working with community partners towards our goals.

We also recognize that fighting the good fight often means not fighting at all – but finding consensus and allies who support our cause. We work with a variety of stakeholders to find common ground because we believe the best way to accomplish real change in Nebraska is by working together. The best way to build a stronger community is as a community.

The following are just a few examples of how Appleseed stands up for justice and opportunity for all Nebraskans:
*Won major policy change via ballot initiative including expanding Medicaid to 90,000+ eligible Nebraskans (2018), ending predatory payday lending (2020), and raising Nebraska's minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2026 and adjusting it annually afterward for the cost of living (2022).
*Ended privatized foster care case management in the Omaha metro area positively affecting 4,500 kids.
*Expanded schools' use of the Community Eligibility Provision, providing free breakfast and lunch to over 56,000 students in the Omaha and Lincoln Public Schools.
*Won a court case (Webb v. Phillips) clarifying that young adults exiting Nebraska's foster care system are entitled to Medicaid coverage until they turn 26 just like their peers who are able to stay on their parents' insurance.
*Led efforts to override two gubernatorial vetoes to pass legislation that allows young immigrants who came to the U.S. as children access to drivers' licenses and professional licenses so they can contribute more fully to their communities.
*Provided leadership development training, Know Your Rights presentations, and worker safety training to thousands of Nebraska workers, immigrants, and local leaders across the state in both urban and rural areas.
*Won a federal court class action lawsuit (Kai v. Ross) restoring $18 million in Medicaid health benefits to more than 10,000 low-income working mothers who had been wrongly denied access required by federal law. (2006)
*Won a class action lawsuit (K.D. & S.L v. Winterer) on behalf of children with developmental disabilities who were denied necessary behavioral health treatments under Medicaid. (2015)
*Settled a class action lawsuit (Leiting-Hall v. Phillips) to require the State of Nebraska to process applications for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in a timely manner, protecting access to basic meals for up to 170,000 Nebraska families. (2016)
*Successfully advanced legislation to allow low-income, working parents to pursue education under the Aid to Dependent Children assistance program.
*Defeated several socially toxic and economically self-defeating anti-immigrant bills by educating lawmakers and mobilizing thousands of Nebraskans to take action.
*Worked with lawmakers to pass a comprehensive package of child welfare reform legislation in 2012 after the state's failed attempt to privatize the foster care system.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We share the feedback we received with the people we serve, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?


Nebraska Appleseed
Fiscal year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

Revenue vs. expenses:  breakdown

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.

Liquidity in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 16.71 over 10 years

Months of cash in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 13.6 over 10 years

Fringe rate in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 23% over 10 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Nebraska Appleseed

Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Nebraska Appleseed

Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

The balance sheet gives a snapshot of the financial health of an organization at a particular point in time. An organization's total assets should generally exceed its total liabilities, or it cannot survive long, but the types of assets and liabilities must also be considered. For instance, an organization's current assets (cash, receivables, securities, etc.) should be sufficient to cover its current liabilities (payables, deferred revenue, current year loan, and note payments). Otherwise, the organization may face solvency problems. On the other hand, an organization whose cash and equivalents greatly exceed its current liabilities might not be putting its money to best use.

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Nebraska Appleseed

Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

This snapshot of Nebraska Appleseed’s financial trends applies Nonprofit Finance Fund® analysis to data hosted by GuideStar. While it highlights the data that matter most, remember that context is key – numbers only tell part of any story.

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Business model indicators

Profitability info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) before depreciation $1,080,663 $254,704 $2,043,871 -$447,117 $27,529
As % of expenses 40.4% 8.9% 64.3% -12.6% 0.7%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation $1,071,485 $240,882 $2,030,279 -$461,527 $11,447
As % of expenses 39.9% 8.4% 63.6% -13.0% 0.3%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $2,816,043 $2,328,500 $4,475,803 $5,523,330 $3,665,432
Total revenue, % change over prior year -50.0% -17.3% 92.2% 23.4% -33.6%
Program services revenue 1.5% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Membership dues 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Investment income 1.6% 2.0% 0.9% 0.4% 1.0%
Government grants 2.9% 3.7% 10.8% 0.0% 0.0%
All other grants and contributions 91.5% 90.3% 87.5% 99.1% 98.4%
Other revenue 2.4% 4.0% 0.8% 0.5% 0.6%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $2,676,844 $2,858,684 $3,179,893 $3,547,402 $4,011,598
Total expenses, % change over prior year 23.6% 6.8% 11.2% 11.6% 13.1%
Personnel 78.0% 80.8% 82.9% 77.9% 78.3%
Professional fees 2.5% 3.1% 1.8% 3.5% 3.4%
Occupancy 3.3% 3.4% 3.1% 3.2% 3.0%
Interest 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Pass-through 5.5% 2.9% 4.6% 9.2% 8.1%
All other expenses 10.8% 9.8% 7.6% 6.1% 7.2%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Total expenses (after depreciation) $2,686,022 $2,872,506 $3,193,485 $3,561,812 $4,027,680
One month of savings $223,070 $238,224 $264,991 $295,617 $334,300
Debt principal payment $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Fixed asset additions $31,446 $13,869 $0 $15,953 $17,762
Total full costs (estimated) $2,940,538 $3,124,599 $3,458,476 $3,873,382 $4,379,742

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Months of cash 17.8 17.9 16.9 20.5 12.1
Months of cash and investments 19.4 19.8 18.9 22.6 18.0
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets 11.9 12.2 18.6 15.1 13.5
Balance sheet composition info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Cash $3,964,436 $4,260,803 $4,484,832 $6,057,319 $4,039,201
Investments $358,658 $461,935 $512,238 $616,837 $1,976,000
Receivables $2,086,563 $1,134,192 $2,170,945 $2,673,719 $2,831,173
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $69,224 $82,308 $87,082 $96,643 $90,912
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 37.3% 47.2% 51.9% 55.0% 50.3%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 2.9% 2.7% 2.2% 3.3% 7.0%
Unrestricted net assets $2,698,491 $2,939,373 $4,969,652 $4,508,125 $4,519,572
Temporarily restricted net assets $3,367,556 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Permanently restricted net assets $226,874 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Total restricted net assets $3,594,430 $2,809,761 $2,109,956 $4,587,421 $3,973,897
Total net assets $6,292,921 $5,749,134 $7,079,608 $9,095,546 $8,493,469

Key data checks

Key data checks info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Material data errors No No No No No


The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization

Executive Director

Becky Gould

Becky received her BA with High Distinction in History with minors in Political Science and Psychology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1998 and her JD with Distinction from the UNL College of Law in 2001. Becky has been employed with Nebraska Appleseed since October of 2001 first as a staff attorney for the Economic Justice Program and then in 2007 as Executive Director. She is a member of the Nebraska Bar Association and is admitted to practice before the Nebraska State Courts, U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska, and the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. Becky is a member and President of the Robert Van Pelt Inn of Court and a member of the Nebraska Bar Association's 2007-2008 Leadership Academy.

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990

Nebraska Appleseed

Officers, directors, trustees, and key employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of officer and director compensation data for this organization

There are no highest paid employees recorded for this organization.

Nebraska Appleseed

Board of directors
as of 11/21/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board chair

Arthur Zygielbaum

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Term: 2026 - 2023

Josh Bartee

Enterprise Bank

Michael Berry


Carol Bloch

Stuart Chittenden


Tim Christian

Night Fox Entertainment

Tim Cuddigan

Cuddigan Law

Roger Gonzales

University of Nebraska Medical Center

Wanda Gottschalk

Kamron Hasan

Husch Blackwell LLP

Naomi Hattaway

Front Porch Investments

Katie Joseph

Cline Williams Wright Johnson Oldfather LLP

Derrick Olivares Martinez

M. Dewayne Mays

Retired, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

Randall Moody

Shirley Peng

Garrett Schwindt

Danelle Smith

Big Fire Law & Policy Group

John Smolsky


Patty Zieg

Arthur Zygielbaum

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Catherine Wilson

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 7/24/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation


Equity strategies

Last updated: 07/24/2023

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.