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Sunderland Foundation supports Northeast’s Nexus project

Sunderland Foundation supports Northeast’s Nexus project

NORFOLK, Neb. - A foundation known for supporting construction projects in a 23-state area has contributed $450,000 to build new agricultural facilities at Northeast Community College.

The Sunderland Foundation was established in 1945 by Lester T. Sunderland, who served as president of the Ash Grove Cement Company for 33 years. The foundation’s focus on funding brick and mortar projects reflects the heritage of the cement company. The foundation funds construction and renovation projects in the Midwest and Pacific Northwest, which comprise the commercial markets and communities traditionally served by Ash Grove.

“Since its inception, the foundation has focused on supporting projects in higher education, health care, youth-serving organizations, and civic and cultural areas of interest,” said President and Chief Operating Officer Randy Vance. “By supporting these types of construction and special interest projects, the Sunderland Foundation fosters a stronger, safer and more vibrant future for the communities we serve.”

Dr. Tracy Kruse, associate vice president of development and external affairs and executive director of the Northeast Foundation, is appreciative of current and past support from the Sunderland Foundation and explains that the Nexus project is an excellent way to invest in rural communities and support an industry that is key to economic growth throughout the region.

“The Sunderland Foundation has been a good partner with Northeast in the past,” Kruse said, “supporting the campaign for the J. Paul and Eleanor McIntosh College of Nursing and the original Chuck M. Pohlman Ag Complex in Norfolk, and the College Center in South Sioux City. We are pleased they understand the importance of agriculture and are supporting ag education at this level.”

“The students who will attend classes and labs in these new buildings will be the future residents of our small communities,” Kruse said. “They will be the future farmers, ranchers and agribusiness employees who will ensure that agriculture remains strong for generations.”

The initial phase of construction in the Nexus project includes a new veterinary technology clinic and classrooms, a new farm site with a large animal handling facility and other farm structures for livestock operations, a farm office and storage. The new facilities will be located near the Chuck M. Pohlman Agriculture Complex, 2301 E. Benjamin Ave. Site work began in April and construction should be completed by Fall 2021. Groundbreaking ceremonies will be held at 10 a.m., Thursday, Sept. 10.

Funding for the agriculture facilities will come from the College’s commitment of $10 million, as well as external fundraising to fill the gap. With a total project cost of $22.3 million, the College has raised enough funds to begin construction; however, fundraising for the Nexus campaign will continue, as more is needed for equipment, technology and furnishings.

In August 2019, the Acklie Charitable Foundation (ACF) announced a $5 million lead gift to the Nexus project. ACF was founded by the late Duane Acklie and Phyllis Acklie, both Madison County natives and graduates of Norfolk Junior College, a predecessor institution of Northeast Community College.

For more information on the Nexus Campaign, contact Kruse, at, or call (402) 844-7056. Online donations may be made through or by texting “ag” to 402-383-FARM (3276). Checks may also be mailed to Nexus Campaign, Northeast Community College Foundation, P.O. Box 469, Norfolk, NE 68702-0469.