What’s the NorthStar Foundation?

NorthStar Foundation currently works with over 50 Omaha-area private and public schools to provide after-school and summer programming for over 450 boys, grades 3 through 12. The after-school program is tailored to each age group with an emphasis on further education or employment for their high school-aged students. It’s funded primarily through contributions and grants from local organizations, businesses and individuals. 

The majority of the boys NorthStar serves come from single-parent households: 98 percent of them participate in federal free or reduced lunch programs. Eighty-three percent live in homes where the median family income is less than $30,000 annually. 

Their 70,000 square foot campus, based in North Omaha, is equipped with a meditation room, a double-court gymnasium, an outdoor high ropes course and study rooms named after influential Black heroes that students selected. Some include: Kobe Bryant, Chadwick Boseman and Omaha native Malcolm X. 

The NorthStar lacrosse team and coaching staff pose for photos with their new trophy after winning the 2022 junior varsity state title. 
“The way the team rallied around each other in that moment and said there was no way they were going to lose that game after coming this far … not just this season but since this program started,” said head lacrosse coach Cort Irish, thinking back on the moment.  “I find myself tearing up.” Courtesy photo

NorthStar offers competitive and recreational basketball and soccer leagues and currently offers lacrosse to any students attending any Omaha area school without an existing lacrosse program. Head coach Cort Irish joined NorthStar over six years ago with no prior lacrosse coaching experience, but credits the local lacrosse coaches and the national lacrosse community for embracing him and helping him learn everything he knows. He’s assisted by former lacrosse player and coach Bryce McGeorge.

By Lauryn Higgins

Lauryn Higgins is a journalist whose work has focused primarily on public health, climate change and agriculture. Her work tracking the coronavirus for the New York Times was part of a team that won the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.