Humanities Nebraska announced that Todd Simon, a prominent Omaha business and civic leader, will receive the 2017 Sower Award in the Humanities. Simon will be honored on Tuesday, October 3 at Omaha’s Holland Performing Arts Center immediately prior to the 22nd Annual Governor’s Lecture in the Humanities.
The Sower Award is presented annually to “an individual who has made a significant contribution to public understanding of the humanities in Nebraska.” This contribution
may be through any combination of time, expertise, or resources, and the selection committee examines how the nominee has helped inspire and enrich personal and public
life in our state through the humanities.
While Simon is known for his philanthropy, “Todd brings more than his money to the organizations he supports,” wrote Annette and Paul Smith in their nomination letter. “We have seen his extraordinary creativity and management expertise be transformative for many organizations! He is a leader in creating a vibrant community and directly contributing to the quality of life in Nebraska.”
A fifth-generation owner of the Omaha Steaks® group of companies, Simon serves as Senior Vice President of Omaha Steaks International, Inc., President of OS SalesCo, Inc. and Vice-Chairman of Omahasteaks.com, Inc.. He also has been extremely involved in shaping his company’s and his family’s leadership in supporting the arts as well as social and human services agencies and programs.
“Todd is actively engaged in all of the activities he supports,” wrote Kevin Lawler, Producing Artistic Director of The Great Plains Theatre Conference. “This active involvement reveals a deep belief in our ability to strengthen and improve our lives here in Nebraska.”
Rachel Jacobson, executive director of Film Streams, described how Simon inspired her organization to create the Community Development program, which continues to bring people together to discuss important issues.
“I remember early on when we played a film with controversial content, he suggested that we organize a panel discussion to allow for more depth of perspective around a rather polemic documentary,” she said. “We are now proud to host dozens of such screenings and discussions around important issues each year.”
Simon’s reputation for being a source of insight and creative solutions was universally lauded by all the people who contributed to his nomination.
“He is a ‘hands-on’ volunteer and a true champion of the humanities. Opera Omaha would not be as strong as it is today without him, and I believe the same can be said for many of the arts and cultural organizations in our community,” said Roger Weitz, General Director of Opera Omaha, in his letter of support.
Simon is currently chairman of the Omaha Community Foundation board of directors and serves on the Nebraska Cultural Endowment advisory board. He also serves on the boards of a number of other non-profit organizations including the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts and United States Artists. Previously, he was a member of the Executive Board of the Nebraska Chapter of the Young Presidents Organization and served on the boards of Jewish Family Service and R.E.S.P.E.C.T.2.
The 2017 Governor’s Lecture in the Humanities is a Nebraska 150 signature event and includes a free public lecture by Pulitzer Prize-winning author T.J. Stiles, titled, “It Happened Here: Why National Conflicts Have Centered on the Great Plains.” This event is presented by Humanities Nebraska, along with partner sponsors Creighton University, Union Pacific and the University of Nebraska. HN board members David Buntain and Beth Whited are co-chairs.
The 7:30 p.m. lecture is free and open to the public. Table sponsorships and tickets for the pre-lecture benefit reception and dinner are now available for purchase. For more details visit www.HumanitiesNebraska.org.