A Foundation for Omaha
The Gilbert M and Martha H Hitchcock Foundation is one of the oldest private, continuously run family foundations in Omaha, Nebraska, with more than 80 years serving the greater metro Omaha and Council Bluffs area with philanthropic support.
Martha Harris Hitchcock created the foundation in 1943 to honor her late husband, two-term US Senator Gilbert Monell Hitchcock of Nebraska. Senator Hitchcock had entered politics after creating the Omaha World-Herald when he brought together his Evening Herald with the Omaha World.
Senator Hitchcock had been the presiding member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee following World War 1. A confidante of President Woodrow Wilson, he advocated unsuccessfully for the US to join the League of Nations. Martha, originally from a cotton broker family in Memphis, TN, married Hitchcock after his public service had completed, in 1927. They traveled internationally and lived off of Rock Creek Parkway in Washington DC and in Omaha, Nebraska.
Martha lobbied extensively to ensure that the Hitchcock Foundation be dedicated to the future of Omaha, Nebraska, and in her words, the "World-Herald Circulation area." The foundation grew in 1963 when her shares of Omaha World-Herald were sold to Peter Kiewit after she inspired a successful effort to ensure the paper remained locally owned.
From the start, the foundation matched the Hitchcocks' passions: supporting local journalism and the hard-working youth who delivered it, supporting religious institutions, promoting Omaha's growth, and providing care to the sick and elderly.
In time, its focus has expanded to include private and higher education, the arts, conservation and animal welfare, preserving history, and social service organizations serving the greater Omaha and Council Bluffs area.
The Hitchcock Foundation has given away more than $33 million to over 300 charities.