Alumna “Nerd” Wins Volunteer Advocacy Award

One volunteer project brought Amanda Garner (1999) (center) and her Nebraska Global colleagues Ted Larsen (left) and Paul Havel (right) close to campus. The trio provided IT infrastructure support to the Child Advocacy Center in University Place.Never underestimate the power of a nerd.

That’s the basic principle behind Nebraska Global, a Lincoln-based venture capital fund that invests in viable software companies in Nebraska. The fund was “founded on the idea that when nerds and money meet, amazing things happen.” Companies and communities thrive together.

Faith in “nerd power” is also behind the company’s commitment to community service. Amanda Garner (’99) serves as Nebraska Global’s director of community outreach, and oversees the company’s significant volunteer efforts. Time spent on volunteer projects totals more than 2,000 hours per year. Nebraska Global estimates the value of these hours and in-kind technology services at $160,000 each year.

Volunteer Partners, a local organization that matches volunteers’ interests with local needs, took notice of Garner’s determination to make Lincoln a better place to live. It gave Garner its 2011 Community Volunteerism Advocate Award for promoting, supporting and encouraging others to volunteer.

Ruthi Thompson of CEDARS Youth Services said, “Amanda and all of the Nebraska Global staff recognize the importance of getting involved in helping those in the local community, and so many individuals have benefited from their generosity and ‘can do’ attitude. Their staff is patient, dedicated and not afraid to work with a population that some in the community shy away from.”

Call it nerd power.