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Who We Are

Governor Ben Nelson and First Lady Diane Nelson

Governor Ben Nelson signed the executive order that created the Nebraska Volunteer Service Commission in July 1994. Before taking office, he and his wife Diane were active in volunteer service for many decades and Governor Nelson credits his wife with recognizing the need to appreciate the culture of common good in our state. Their shared commitment to volunteerism and belief in the then newly created AmeriCorps mission drove them in their ongoing support of ServeNebraska.

“From the day the Governor was sworn into office, we have worked to make our ‘one Nebraska’ theme a reality, and we’re very pleased to see our efforts result in the initiation of programs like AmeriCorps here in Nebraska,” said First Lady Diane Nelson following the founding of the Commission in 1994.

In fact, prior to the creation of AmeriCorps at the federal level in 1993, First Lady Diane was already in contact with the Department of Administrative Services, working to create a program to recognize volunteers and a conference on volunteer service. Following the inaugural volunteer conference, she spearheaded the creation of a Governor’s Community Service Task Force focusing on areas such as development, recognition and legislation.

Former First Lady Diane served as the first honorary chair of the ServeNebraska Commission and started the First Lady’s Awards for Outstanding Community Service which continued annually and grew until it was rebranded as the Governor’s ServeNebraska Step Forward Awards in 2015.

Nowadays, Governor Nelson continues to volunteer his expertise and time to multiple leadership programs on a national level and he tells us they hope to see ServeNebraska continue its work providing structure and recognition to community service in our state as an important part of state government.