The Cairo Steering Committee is planning a community landscaping party at the East Point of Entry Sign location.  The sign was painted on the Village of Cairo maintenance shed two years ago.  The Cairo Community Foundation submitted a grant on behalf of the Cairo Steering Committee to the Toyota – Love Your Byways program.  The Foundation is happy to announce the grant was accepted.    

As the Official Automotive Partner of the National Scenic Byway Foundation, Toyota is seeking to educate the public on our nation’s amazing system of byways while encouraging volunteerism. Cornhusker Toyota is proud to participate in this Love Our Byways volunteer beautification event and encourages everyone in the community to come out to participate.

Cairo is located on the Sandhills Journey National Scenic Byway.  The Sandhills Journey National Scenic Byway is Nebraska Highway 2 running from Grand Island to Alliance.  The Sandhills Journey board submitted an application to receive National status last year.  The Sandhills Journey National Scenic Byway was one of two Nebraska Byways accepted to receive Nebraska’s first National Byway status.

 Cairo Steering Committee plans to landscape the area approaching the Cairo East Point of Entry Sign on Friday, September 17th starting at 8:00 am.  The Love Our Byway event will see volunteers participating in planting, water, landscaping, and generally beautifying Cairo’s East Point of Entry and the Sandhills Journey National Scenic Byway.  A professional landscaper will be on-site to guide landscaping efforts.

If you or your group would like to help out with this volunteer effort please email or call Brook Sautter at 308-750-5377.  Brook is coordinating the volunteer efforts.  All volunteers receive a Toyota – Love Your Byways T-Shirt.

Go Big Give

Joan Larson

Grew up in the Cairo area and graduated from Cairo High School.  She joined the Cairo Community Foundation after being a donor to the Foundation for several years.  The Foundation is thankful for her support and insight as a Foundation board member.

Joan’s Go Big Give Reason…

I  grew up in this area and graduated from Cairo High School.  It’s an honor to serve on the Cairo Community Foundation Board and to be a part of funding or otherwise supporting projects that help the community continue to thrive.

What is Go Big GIVE? Go Big GIVE is a 24-hour, online giving event on May 6th, 2021 to grow philanthropy. Go Big GIVE inspires communities to come together for 24 hours to give as much as possible to support the work of nonprofits in Hall, Hamilton, Howard, and Merrick Counties. The minimum online donation is $10 but every gift grows with added match pool funds and incentive prizes.

What Cairo Organizations are participating? The Cairo Community Foundation, New Hope Christian School, Centura Educational Foundation, and All Belong to Christ Daycare.

What does my Cairo Community Foundation donation do? Your donation is directed to the General Fund.  This General Fund operates the Foundation, develops an endowment, and makes grants to numerous Cairo volunteer organizations throughout the year.

Can I donate to a Cairo Community Foundation Project Fund also?
Yes!!! To donate to a specific project fund, use the in honor of or memorial field on the form to indicate the percent of the gift you want directed to Cairo Community Foundation Project Funds
For Go Big Give Cairo Community Foundation is the fiscal agent for these projects:

  • Gathering Place Kitchen Remodel
  • Cairo QRT Defibrillator/Monitor
  • Cairo Steering Committee:  This committee is working on pickleball and sand volleyball courts and the East entrance sign.
  • North Ballfield New Bathroom and Concession Stand Project
  • Veterans Memorial

Can I give in person?

  • May 6th from 9 am to 7 pm at The Medina Street Vault
  • Write a check to Go Big Give between April 26th and May 6th.  Drop off at the Village Office or give to a Cairo Community Foundation board member
  • Need more help contact Charity Adams at 308-379-9119

Click Here to Go Big Give



The Cairo Veterans Memorial Park is really taking shape.  Numerous volunteers led by Gordy Sorensen spent the last week installing sprinklers, installing lights, planting, and laying sod.

Over then next week or two watch the for the installation of the ribbon garden.

The granite donor wall is on order.  This piece is expected to arrive in 8 to 12 weeks.  Like everything else these days timelines are effected by the pandemic.

The Cairo Community Foundation will continue to take orders for veteran memorial bricks.  To order a brick download the order form here or stop by the Village Office to pick one up.

Bricks are $150 each.  The Foundation intends to place its next brick order by November 15th.

Download Brick Order Form


A group of volunteers, led by Gordy Sorensen are installing sprinklers at the Cairo Veteran Memorial Park on Saturday, September 26th starting at 9 am.  Pulling the pipe and installing the sprinklers requires a little bit of elbow grease.  If you have any to lend or better yet you have teenagers with a little elbow grease to spare please contact Charity Adams at 308-390-9119.  Walk-ons are welcome too.


The North Ballfield Playground volunteers along with Cairo Community Foundation and Greater Grand Island Community Foundation representatives gathered to dedicate the North Ballfield Playground.

A simple conversation on a set of bleachers created a project that provides a safe place space, enriches the look and feel of the ballfield and shows what true collaboration can create.

A team of volunteers led by Tara Janda and supported by the Cairo Community Foundation created a play space that includes rubber mulch, full playscape, nets that prevent fly ball injury and a sun shade to protect children and equipment.  The playground is located just north of the bleachers, a safe distance from the railroad tracks and the parking lot.  The playground is within the sightlines of parents dividing focus to keep children entertained off the field and players supported on the field.

Adam Becker led the construction team which included Tara and Jim Janda, Kody Knopik, Nate Fries, Michael  Anderson, Adam Bierhaus, Judson Bonsack, Mekhi Melgoza, and volunteers from Farm Credit.  This team went above and beyond to put the playground together.  When you visit the playground you will recognize that this is a substantial set up that required significant talent and effort to construct.  Be sure to thank these volunteers for their time and dedication to the children who will enjoy this play space for many years to come.

BR: Adam Becker, Jen Barker, Kevin Dvorak, Jim Janda, Sara Bierhaus, Adam Becker, Mike Gloor FR: Brooke Fries, Kayla Becker, Shannon Dvorak, Tara Janda, Charity Adams, Denise Myers, Lisa Thayer

Cairo Community Foundation served the Cairo Community by supporting a volunteer team with a vision.  The Foundation provides the charitable corporate structure needed to acquire donations and grants.  This project was funded through a grant written by the Foundation to the Greater Grand Island Community Foundation .  The Arthur Klinkacek Fund administered by the board of the Greater Grand Island Community Foundation fulfilled the grant, providing $25,000 towards this project.

The Cairo Community Foundation looks forward to supporting the New Bathroom Project for the North Ballfield.  Tara Janda and Barb Knopik are leading this project.  The project seeks $60,000 to fund the construction of a new building that will initially house new bathrooms but eventually be the starting point for additional amenities for the North Ballfield area.  Donations can be directed to the Cairo Community Foundation – New Bathroom Fund.

The committee is currently selling calendars to raise funds for this project, hosting a co-ed softball tournament on August 23rd and hosting a North Ballfield vision meeting on September 13th. The public is invited to participate in the meeting as well as gather a team for the tournament. If you are not a softball player and want to support the project stop at the ballfield and buy a taco from the Mexcellent Food Truck on August 23rd.  Proceeds from food purchases benefit the project.

“Board members answered the question:  How will the Cairo Community Foundation continue to build on past success and create opportunities for strengthening the community in the future?”

Planning for the Future

Cairo Community Foundation Board members and director met with Mission Matters consultant, Kayla Schnuelle to answer the question:  How will the Cairo Community Foundation continue to build on past successes and create opportunities for strengthening the community in the future?

Board members spent a full day evaluating the Foundation’s impact over the course of the last five years.  The board really took a close look at what is working, what bold new risks should be explored, and what defines the Cairo Community.


Board Members

At the end of the day the Foundation Board developed a 3 to 5 year plan with a three pronged approach to become a key tool for successful growth of the Cairo Community.

The strategic plan identified actionable steps for the next eight quarters.

The strategic plan will be made available and used as a guide to measure success and assist the community in reaching its goals.


Cairo Community Foundation Board and Executive Director
Board Members back row:  Mike Lowry, Dick Hadenfeldt, Craig Welty, Randy Gleason, Jen Barker.  front row:  Brook Sautter, Judy Landers, Angie Meyer and director, Charity Adams

“Success is 20% skills and 80% strategy. You might know how to succeed, but more importantly, what’s your plan to succeed?” Jim Rohn

“Board member, Craig Welty puts actionable steps on the strategic plan”

Strategic Planning Funded by a Grant from NoNProfit Excellence INSTITUTE Participation 

The Cairo Community Foundation applied and was accepted to participate in Nonprofit Excellence Institute in 2019, operated by the Grand Island Community Foundation.  This twelve month class provide training in board management, leadership, budgeting, marketing and much more.  Upon completing the course the Foundation receive a $5000 capacity building grant.  The Cairo Community Foundation board utilized this grant to complete strategic planning to fortify the organization.


The Cairo Veterans Memorial is in its second phase of funding.  The second phase includes raising funds for five decorative pillars, engraved with a mural of our military branches in action.  Each pillar holds a bronze emblem representing a branch of service. Mike and Denise Lowry and Tom and Joey Falch made a $15,000 gift to the Cairo Community Foundation Veterans memorial fund to sponsor one of the five pillars.  Mike and Joey are the children of longtime Cairo residents Bob and Suzy Lowry.

Bob shared this story about him and his fellow Cairo residents answering the call of duty. His daughter Joey documented his thoughts and shared it with the Foundation for publication. 

December 7, 1941, found the Cairo boys at the gym, practicing basketball.  As they passed the Methodist church parsonage after practice, someone shared the news of the Pearl Harbor attack by the Japanese.  The war took a terrible toll on the Cairo community, as six were killed in action.  One Benny Schlund, was killed at Pearl Harbor in the initial hit on the USS Arizona.

Three members of Bob’s class left school as juniors to enter the service:  Lloyd Nunnenkamp, Don Stoeger and Richard Engle.  Engel was killed at Normandy.

After high school graduation in 1944, several Cairo boys entered the service:  Bob, Bruce Laughlin, Ralph Grabowski, Frank Perkins and Earl Brundage.  All returned safely after the war.

Bob enlisted in the Navy on July 5, 1944.  He then started college at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.  While waiting to be called up, he tried out for and made the football team.  Just before the team’s first game, against Minnesota, he was called to active duty.  The athletic department didn’t get the roster for the game changed in time, so Bob’s parents heard “Bob Lowry” go into the game over the radio,  when he was really in Farragut, Idaho in boot camp.

The Cairo Community is grateful for the sacrifices all our veterans made and are making today to keep us safe.  The Cairo Community Foundation and the Veterans committee is thankful for all gifts received to make the Veterans Memorial Park.  The committee is seeking $45,000 in funding to complete phase two of the Veterans Memorial Project.  Donations can be made and veterans memorial bricks can be purchased at the Village of Cairo Office.  You can also contact Charity Adams at 308-379-9119 or donate online by clicking this link.

The Cairo Community Foundation Veterans Committee is holding a groundbreaking ceremony on Saturday, November 3rd to mark the construction of a Veterans Memorial Park.  The park will be located in the empty lot directly east of the Cairo Fire Department.  Groundbreaking is at 11:00 am.  AseraCare is providing hot chocolate at the ceremony.  The ceremony includes a pinning dedication to honor any veteran in attendance that day.  A light lunch will follow at The Medina Street Vault. 

In 2013 the Cairo Steering Committee designated a Veterans Memorial as a community priority.  The Edward VanWinkle Family started the development of the park by setting up a veterans memorial fund with the Cairo Community Foundation.  A committee of dedicated volunteers soon began developing plans for a park to includes granite pillars, representing each branch of the military, a veterans memorial brick wall, granite memorial benches, and memory ribbon garden filled with pollinator plants. 

The project received grants and private donations to complete the initial landscaping, build the veterans wall, install five memorial granite benches and the pollinator ribbon garden.  The committee is continuing to raise funds for phase 2 which includes the granite pillars and the star walkway.  If you have questions about this event or would like more information on how to honor a veteran by purchasing a brick for the wall, please contact Charity Adams at 308-379-9119 or