Phone 402-471-6212

Who We Are

Barb Thomas, Former Executive Director

Barb Thomas was the Executive Director for the Nebraska Volunteer Service Commission from 2006 until her retirement in 2012. She joined the Commission at the recommendation of AmeriCorps members she had worked with as the Assistant Director of the DHHS Division of Behavioral Health. Having donated her time and talents to volunteer efforts and community organizations for many years, including co-founding a pet rescue and welfare organization in the early 90s, Barb already possessed a deep understanding of the importance of service.

“The Commission’s work in promoting national service and volunteerism is very meaningful to our state and local communities. Once an individual volunteers in an area of their interest, they can reap benefits to their physical and mental health, it will become enjoyable and not feel like ‘work.’ Most important though, is that volunteering gives you a sense of achievement and purpose, and you feel more a part of your community doing something to help others,” she said.

With Barb’s steadfast leadership, ServeNebraska was able to secure a memorandum of understanding with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services in 2007 to provide the Commission with support services. In 2008, the organization rebranded as ServeNebraska and began serving the state under a new logo and with website to increase the Commission’s impact and strengthen community partnerships.

During her tenure, the number of AmeriCorps programs more than doubled as the Commission increased outreach particularly in the central and western parts of the state. By 2012, there 13 programs, compared to the five which existed in 2006. The number of AmeriCorps members serving in Nebraska also doubled and members served 44 counties impacting more than 89% of the state’s population.

In the next 30 years, Barb hopes that ServeNebraska will achieve statutory status and secure additional funding to establish more volunteerism and national service initiatives engaging Nebraskans from underrepresented parts of our state.