About Us

It should be required for all high school students to do this program!

-Omaha Central Student

Inclusive Communities is a 501 (c)3 non-profit organization. Through our powerful human relations work, we are providing education and advocacy related to the topics of diversity and inclusion. We work with schools, businesses and in the community. Our critical social justice work would not be possible without strong community partners, donors, advocates and an incredible group of committed volunteers.

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History

In the 1930s, leaders from different faiths refused to be bystanders in the face of hatred, intolerance, bigotry, fear and deeply embedded prejudice. These leaders came together nationally in response to organized campaigns of hatred spreading throughout America.

The Ku Klux Klan was active in most areas across the country, directing vicious bigotry towards Catholics, Jews, blacks and “foreigners.” The rise of Hitler and Nazism spawned hate groups targeting Jews at a time when anti-Semitism was already overt and pervasive. Al Smith was subjected to hatemongering when he ran for President because he was Catholic. Acknowledging the need for action, leaders including Teddy Roosevelt, Benjamin Cardozo, Jane Addams, and U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes, created The National Conference for Christians and Jews – NCCJ. They mobilized citizens against the forces of violence, ignorance and exclusion, and contributed significantly to an expanded definition of “who is an American.”

In 1938 in Omaha, Nebraska, local leaders also refused to be bystanders. Otto Swanson, owner of the Nebraska Clothing Company, was visited in his office by a fellow businessman. He listened with growing disbelief and indignation while the man told him of the formation of an organization in Omaha which would promote a secret boycott of Jewish-owned businesses. The group would encourage patronage to the benefit of Swanson’s store because it was “Christian owned.”

After Swanson showed the visitor out, he sat back and considered what had just occurred. He is quoted as saying, “I couldn’t believe anything like that could happen, not in the United States and certainly not in Omaha.” Otto Swanson was committed to the cause of working toward human understanding…the element he knew would contribute to the end of religious and racial bigotry. Swanson, along with W. Dale Clark, banker; Milton Livingston, businessman; and Ralph Svoboda, attorney, joined with other leading citizens and established the Midlands NCCJ chapter, now known as Inclusive Communities.

Since 1938, this 501 (c)3 non-profit organization has served Nebraska, Iowa and the region by directing our efforts in the areas of youth, community and workplace human relations and leadership programming to achieve our mission of creating inclusive communities.

Mission and Vision

Mission

We confront prejudice, bigotry, and discrimination.

Vision

Inclusive Communities envisions a society that is strengthened by diversity, inclusion, respect and justice for all people.

Staff

Maggie Wood

Executive Director
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Maggie Wood

Executive Director

Maggie Wood joined our team as Executive Director on September 21st, 2015. Maggie uses She/Her/Hers pronouns. Maggie moved to Omaha in 1997 with the Clark Construction Group, as part of the general contracting team for the Roman L. Hruska U.S. Courthouse and chose to stay in Omaha when the project was completed. In addition to her for-profit work, throughout her 20 year career, Maggie has worked successfully for some notable non-profits, including Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, Film Streams, Opera Omaha and CFDC/CDI Head Start.  She has managed budgets, solicited funds, empowered volunteers and has overseen the daily operations of various sized organizations.

Cammy Watkins

Deputy Director
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Cammy Watkins

Deputy Director

Camellia “Cammy” Watkins is an Omaha native who graduated from Omaha South High School.  She received a BA Degree from Cornell College in Psychology and Vocal Performance.  Cammy has 15 years experience working with not-for-profit organizations ranging from environmental activism to performing arts administration.  The opportunity to work with many different facets of the not-for-profit world have provided Cammy with vast insights into the business needs of organizations. She is excited to utilize this expertise to partner with Omaha businesses as they begin the journey of creating an inclusive office culture.

In her spare time Cammy sings with the Opera Omaha chorus and other local churches and theaters.  Cammy is the proud aunt of 3 nephews and 1 niece.  She also enjoys spending time with her Mother who is her inspiration for hard work, dedication, and mindfulness.

Tena Hahn-Rodriguez

Senior Program Partner
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Tena Hahn-Rodriguez

Senior Program Partner

Tena brings a full range of career experience to Inclusive Communities – all rooted in inclusiveness and education. Her background as an entrepreneur, educator and community organizer have made her one of the most recognizable people in North Omaha.

As co-founder of REVEL, Omaha’s only LGBT safe social space and monthly fundraiser, Tena has focused her efforts to organize, support and celebrate Omaha’s LGBT community since the events inception in 2014. Tena’s career experience as a dance and fitness instructor made her an entrepreneur at the age of 32 and an educator to three generations of youngsters and countless active adults.

A lover of music, movies, social media, and an avid reader, Tena is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Arts degree in Non-Profit Administration from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She lives in Northwest Omaha with her wife Nannette, daughter Josephine, and an energetic Schnau Tzu (Shih Tzu/Schnauzer mix), named Roxy.

Tena is a native of Omaha, a Benson High School graduate and a Board Member and current Entertainment chair for Heartland Pride. Tena is also an AFAA certified group fitness instructor, and a licensed Zumba and indoor cycling instructor, and a Mixxedfit Master Educator.

Robbie Q. Summers

Continuity and Sustainability Manager
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Robbie Q. Summers

Continuity and Sustainability Manager

Robbie Quinones Summers is a servant leader at heart. She joined the Inclusive Communities team as the Continuity and Sustainability Manager in October of 2017. She is originally from St. Louis, Missouri and eventually settled in Omaha with her parents for her senior year as a Central Eagle. Robbie spent three of her high school years in Germany by way of her step-father’s military civil service, where he worked as the Human Relations Director. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Education and Master of Arts in Leadership.

Robbie has 12 years of experience in Human Resources and a strong background in leadership development, team building, and coaching.  She has 10 years of experience in minority business ownership, including owning a global Dairy Queen franchise. Additionally, Robbie’s professional experience allowed her to serve at the University of Nebraska Medical Center as the Assistant Director and Activities Coordinator of Multicultural Student Recruitment and Retention.

She also worked with Omaha Public Schools and Douglas County Head Start Program as the Human Resource Manager and the Community and Family Partnership Manager. She most recently served as Youth Programs Manager with the Center for Holistic Development, where she helped to bring excellent afterschool program activities to inner-city youth.

Robbie enjoys time with family, and is a minister that is strengthened by using the Word of God to bring hope to all. Her love of Christ is what urges her to fight for the equal treatment and inclusive rights of all people from every background and belief. She remembers one her favorite quotes, “If not for the Grace God, there go I.”

 

Katherine MacHolmes

Program Partner of Community Engagement
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Katherine MacHolmes

Program Partner of Community Engagement

Q: What does being a ‘Program Partner’ mean to you?

A: “Having the title of “Program Partner”, I think, means being given a chunk of the work to be responsible for, but not feeling alone in the struggle to accomplish it. I think the most powerful thing about Inclusive Communities is the reliance in and foundation of relationships being cultivated and curated. So although I have my wheelhouse for the work that we do, I am not alone in the work, in the challenges and triumphs of the whole organization.”

Q: What social justice issues resonate with you currently?

A: “Lately, I have found myself deeply invested in restorative justice and the idea of alternatives to incarceration and the retributive model of justice. Incarceration is so ubiquitous an institution (it’s so deeply entrenched in our media and national history) that I have been trying to imagine a world where the prison system is absent and what would take its place that leads to a more beautiful form of justice that encompasses the idea that “Each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done,” as Bryan Stevenson said in his book, Just Mercy.”

Q: Tell us a fun fact not many know about you.

A: “I think a fun fact is that my husband and I will shortly be changing our last names to a completely new, shared last name of our own choosing… which is still TBD.”

Suzanna "Zanna" George

Administrative Assistant
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Suzanna "Zanna" George

Administrative Assistant

John Paul Gurnett

Program Partner of Youth Development
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John Paul Gurnett

Program Partner of Youth Development

John-Paul, also known as JP, is a native of Omaha. After graduating from Omaha South High, he went on to attend Creighton University where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Theater. While there he discovered a passion for social justice and working with youth. This led him to change paths and earn a Masters in Education.

As a teacher with the Omaha Public Schools, JP spent 8 years working with the wonderful students at Liberty Elementary. During his tenure as a teacher he taught a variety of learners, from kindergarten age to adults at the graduate school level.

As a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community, JP is the co-founder and creative director of Queer Nite, a collective with the mission to create queer inclusive spaces. This has allowed JP to unify his passion for social justice as well as serving as an outlet for artistic expression.

He also serves on the board of directors for Neon Seams, an emerging non-profit that seeks to alter societies dependency on fast fashion and consumerism. When not working to improve the city he loves, JP can be found in midtown with his husband Brendan and their 95 pound golden doodle named Morty.

Colin McGrew

Program Associate
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Colin McGrew

Program Associate

Colin McGrew joined the Inclusive Communities team in September 2019. Originally from the small ski town of Frisco, Colorado, Colin came to Omaha to further pursue an academic career at Creighton University. After graduating with a bachelor’s in biology and a minor in sustainability, Colin was looking to apply his energy in creating a more just and equitable society. Colin has always had a drive for nonprofit work, and got his first opportunity to partner with a nonprofit working with Film Streams in Omaha.

While pursuing his B.S., Colin had the opportunity to be a part of several student-led organizations focusing on diversity, reproductive rights, and environmental justice. Colin also had the opportunity to function as a student researcher in an interdisciplinary study of place in the Nebraska Sandhills. As a NASA Nebraska EPSCoR funding recipient, Colin assisted with the ethnographic, biological, and film-making research of the Nebraska Sandhills to gain a cultural understanding of rancher relationships to a geographically significant place. Colin also served as the Move-In and Transportation Executive for Creighton University’s Welcome Week 2017, where he was responsible for coordinating new student move-in and transportation to ensure efficiency and provide a comfortable transition for all new students.

Colin currently lives in downtown Omaha with his partner Julia, a current medical student, and border collie named Ryder. He has a deep love for music, the outdoors, and food. When not contributing to Inclusive Communities programming, you can find him plotting his next adventure or scribbling notes about his favorite albums of the year.

Contract Facilitators

Tiffiny Clifton

Gotta Be Me Executive Director
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Tiffiny Clifton

Gotta Be Me Executive Director

Tiffiny Clifton currently serves as the Executive Director of Gotta Be Me, Inc. Now in the fourth year of GBM, the mission and vision is growing – to promote the inclusion of children and adults with disabilities into our communities, creating a culture that is brimming with life, dignity, and growth – for all people. It’s what gets her up every day and keeps her moving toward continuing to be a shining light in our community, making it a happier, healthier, and safer place by creating opportunities for people with all abilities to come together, to become who they want to be, without limits.

Jillian Post

Director of Religious Education at Second Unitarian Church of Omaha
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Jillian Post

Director of Religious Education at Second Unitarian Church of Omaha

Jillian is an experienced facilitator, mediator, and conflict specialist. She became certified in basic mediation through the Nebraska Office of Dispute Resolution in 2000. She served as a volunteer mediator for Lancaster County Small Claims Court and currently serves as a volunteer in Sarpy County Small Claims Court working toward affiliate status with the Concord Mediation Center.

Through the years she has facilitated or taught in many community and classroom situations. She served as a Local Coordinator at the Center for Cultural Interchange, recruiting, placing and monitoring international exchange students. She facilitated the online Connect Program, an international virtual exchange community for Soliya, Inc. a project of Search for Common Ground. She facilitated face to face interfaith dialogue for The International Center for Ethno-Religious Mediation (ICERM). This was a public forum held monthly in Manhattan, NY where participants gathered to explore issues of racism, identity, faith, and policy change. She has moderated panels and presented her research at several ICERM conferences.

She received a B.A. in Psychology from the University of NE-Lincoln, an M.S. in Conflict Resolution from Creighton University, and an M.A. in Interfaith Action from Claremont Lincoln University, where she was selected as a Global Peacemaker Fellow. She is a life time member of the Alpha Sigma Nu Jesuit Honor society, a prestigious group selected for their service to community and scholastic achievement. She was an Omaha business owner before living the last 5 years just outside of NYC and returned to Omaha in the summer of 2018.

Nicholette Seigfried

Contract Facilitator
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Nicholette Seigfried

Contract Facilitator

Nicholette Seigfreid serves as the Human Resources Manager for Civic Nebraska. In this role, she works closely with all members of our administrative team and plays a key role in ensuring a positive and successful work environment for all of our growing staff. She assists with hiring, onboarding, employee relations, and annual reviews. Nicholette also manages the internship program and our volunteer database, and contributes to professional development planning for all staff.

An alumna of the University of Arkansas, where she earned degrees in anthropology and Middle
Eastern studies, Nicholette has lived across the United States, including stays in New York, Miami, Colorado, and Minneapolis. She has lived in Lincoln for 15 years and considers it home.

In addition to her work at Civic Nebraska, Nicholette is an administrator at the Lincoln Jewish
Community School and is President of the South Street Temple. Nicholette says she is drawn to nonprofit work by the Jewish concept of tikkun olam, which is working individually and collectively to perfect or repair the world. It is often used when discussing issues of social policy, insuring a safeguard to those who may be at a disadvantage.

Michelle D. Butler

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Michelle D. Butler

Michelle D. Butler joined Inclusive Communities in summer 2019 as a Contract Facilitator. She currently works in after school programming at several of Omaha Public Middle Schools.

She was born and raised in North Omaha and is very passionate about juvenile justice reform and working with youth and families in the African-American community.

Michelle is currently attending Nebraska Wesleyan University seeking her Bachelor of Social Work degree, and  is a prospective graduate of the Spring 2020 class. She has over two years experience in intervention, diversion, and prevention work in after school programs. Michelle also has a strong passion to engage, encourage,  educate, and empower youth with information that will help prepare them to navigate the changing world around them.

She is very inspired by the curriculum here at Inclusive Communities that teaches inclusion, diversity, and equity to our youth!

Board

Board of Directors

  • Ralph Kellogg,Chair
    Nebraska Appleseed
  • Tulani Grundy Meadows,
    Vice Chair
    Metropolitan Community College
  • Gregory Ramirez, Secretary
    University of Nebraska Omaha
  • Megan Koziol, Treasurer
    Seim Johnson LLP
  • Machaela Cavanaugh
    Nebraska State Senator
  • Melanie Morrissey Clark
    Clark Creative Group
  • Arvin Frazier
    College Possible
  • Kathryn Goodman
    Bank of the West
  • Daniel Gutman
    Fraser Stryker PC LLO
  • Rieko Ikeda-Hayes
    Omaha Public Power District
  • Craig Loya
    Trinity Episcopal Cathedral
  • Sonia Tiebi
    Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation
  • Dr. Roopa Venkatesh
    University of Nebraska Omaha
  • Katrina Wells
    First National Bank of Omaha

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