Tag Archives: Aksarben Foundation

Aksarben Foundation

August 16, 2018 by

Mission Statement

The Aksarben Foundation is a network of business and community leaders that seeks to influence change in Heartland communities for the betterment of education, agriculture, and growth of the economy.

Wish List

Support of the Aksarben Foundation initiatives, which will help further betterment of the Heartland in areas of education, community, and workforce development. By working together and with the support of Nebraska and western Iowa residents, Aksarben Foundation can continue to improve the condition of the Heartland economy and strengthen communities for a better, more prosperous tomorrow.

Upcoming Events

  • Aksarben Stock Show
    Sept. 27-30, 2018
  • Aksarben Purple Ribbon Auction
    Sept. 30, 2018
  • Aksarben Ball
    Oct. 13, 2018


Established in 1895, the Aksarben Foundation networks with premier employers to influence change for the betterment of youth, economy, and Heartland communities. The Aksarben Foundation recognizes and celebrates philanthropic efforts of Heartland families, funds scholarships and community grants throughout Nebraska and western Iowa, and celebrates milestones and community involvement efforts with awards such as the Pioneer and Heritage Farm Family awards–recognizing Nebraska families who have maintained family ownership of their farmland for 100 or 150 years, respectively–and the Good Neighbor Award.

Brag Lines

The Aksarben Foundation focuses on the betterment of the state of Nebraska and western Iowa.
For nearly 75 years, the Aksarben Foundation has been awarding scholarships to Nebraska youth so that they can realize their dreams and ultimately give back to the Heartland. Currently Aksarben awards over $1 million in scholarships annually. Aksarben has long been known for the Aksarben Ball and the Aksarben Stock Show. These events recognize, promote, and celebrate volunteerism, philanthropy, and community pride, while helping to raise funds for the scholarships Aksarben awards.

Pay it Forward

Supporters of the Aksarben Foundation make programs such as these possible:

Aksarben | Horatio Alger State Scholarships—These scholarships are for students attending four-year colleges and universities. Aksarben awards 50 new scholarships each year, bringing the total number of Aksarben State Scholarships awarded annually to 200.

Aksarben Career Scholarships—working directly with Metropolitan Community College, the Aksarben Foundation annually awards 100 new career scholarships valued at $2,000 each to students attending MCC.

Ag Leaders Scholarships, which are awarded to 4-H student exhibitors during the Aksarben Stock Show.

Aksarben Community Grants, which help communities throughout Nebraska and western Iowa with their community needs.

Aksarben Foundation

7101 Mercy Road Suite 320
Omaha, NE  68106

The Big Give was published in the September/October 2018 edition of Omaha Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Stephanie Murphy

July 20, 2016 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Stephanie Murphy is advancing her family’s legacy of community service.

Her grandmother, Marge Quinlan, served on the Aksarben Women’s Ball Committee in the early 1980s. Marge’s daughter-in-law, Kathy Quinlan, served in the 1990s when the Coronation Ball turned its focus to scholarship fundraising.

Stephanie (Quinlan) Murphy took the dedication of her mother and grandmother a step further this year when she became the ball committee’s chairwoman.

Why would she take on one of the toughest volunteer jobs in Omaha?

Family tradition was one reason. But scholarships were the key motivation for the former elementary school teacher. Murphy anticipates that the Aksarben Foundation will once again award more than $1 million two- and four-year college scholarships this year.

“I want to make a difference in kids’ education,” she says. “Education is something no one can take from them.”

Murphys2Following a Family Tradition

The third-generation volunteer is making a difference in many areas of the community, just as her family has for years. In 1990, Murphy was named an Aksarben princess in recognition of her family’s volunteer work.

She remembers spending time in her younger days at Omaha’s Lauritzen Gardens, where her father—attorney Jim Quinlan—volunteered as president. She still has great affection for the Gardens, having served on the Lauritzen Garden Guild and assisted with the Antique & Garden Show held there.

Stephanie is a mother of two (Teddy, 18 and Olivia, 15) with husband Todd Murphy. She attributes her passion for volunteer work to her parents’ continuing example. “My mother, Kathy, has a list I can’t even tell you. She’s a big volunteer.”

Her mother served on the Fontenelle Forest Guild, chairing the events “BBQ on the Prairie” and “Feather Our Nest.”

Bringing a Children’s Nonprofit to Life

In 2004, Stephanie and a friend, Kathi Ferguson, co-founded the nonprofit Project Nightlights to improve the lives of children who struggle with mobility and spend a lot of time in their bedrooms. Such children may have ongoing illness, use a wheelchair, or rely on oxygen.

Project Nightlights’ mission is to provide “dream bedrooms” for these struggling children, where they can relax and heal in the comfort of their homes.

What each bedroom looks like depends on the child’s circumstances. It may be remodeled to be wheelchair accessible; it could feature a specialized bed to accommodate other needs. Each bedroom remodeling job costs from $5,000 to $10,000. Many of the services and supplies are donated.

“Environment will affect your recovery, according to research,” she says. “Instead of being dependent on somebody, when you act for yourself, you feel successful.”

Founding Project Nightlights began with an event that raised $10,000 in seed money. “People gave me $10,000 for just an idea,” she says. “Children’s Hospital gave us the kids. We’re offering a bit of light in every child’s room.”

The ardent volunteer does not look for recognition. “I volunteer because I’m passionate about the organization. My recognition is the success of that organization.”

Visit aksarben.org for more information.