Fontenelle Forest welcomes Emily Prauner as Director of Donor and Visitor Services
Fontenelle Forest is thrilled to announce that Emily Prauner is joining our team as the new Director of Donor and Visitor Services.
Emily is an Omaha native and outdoor enthusiast who is passionate about environmental sustainability and nature conservation. Her “dream job” has long been in philanthropy at the National Park Foundation, so leading a team of donor services at an actual Forest in her hometown is a pretty perfect match!
Emily brings extensive nonprofit, development and community relationship-building experience to the role of Director of Donor and Visitor Services.
Most recently, Emily served as a donor services specialist at the Omaha Community Foundation (OCF), where she envisioned her role to be a “philanthropic matchmaker,” connecting philanthropists with organizations and projects they care about most, and tackling organizational and community needs and issues together.
Prior to the OCF, she worked at Habitat for Humanity as a development officer, creating and enhancing relationships with individuals, corporations and community partners, and connecting them with opportunities to support the organization’s mission.
While the core responsibility of any donor services team is to raise funds to support the organization’s mission, for Emily that has never been her primary focus. Building meaningful relationship comes first, and if one can achieve that successfully, the rest will fall into place.
“Developing and deepening relationships is the most important part of my job, and fortunately also my favorite,” said Emily. “Giving is inherently personal, and it is an honor to support donors on their giving journey, all while helping to fulfill community needs.”
Emily received a bachelor’s degree in public communication from Truman University in Kirksville, MO. As part of her minor in environmental studies, she coordinated and led a group of 22 student volunteers to Great Smoky Mountains National Park to work with the National Park Service trail maintenance crew.
Emily also graduated with a master’s in public administration and nonprofit management from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where she gained a depth of knowledge in how to view social issues through different lenses, a critical skill set in today’s environment. More recently, Emily served on the OCF’s equity committee, bringing a broad scope of knowledge regarding equity and inclusion to the Forest, another key component of the Forest’s mission.
Equitable access for all, another area Emily is very passionate about, will be an important focus of her role overseeing membership and visitor services at the Forest.
“I believe everyone should have the opportunity to learn about and experience nature in the way that is most accessible to them, to ensure every person has equitable access to explore the wonder and magic of our natural world,” said Emily.
After graduating from her master’s program and having spent nearly a decade away from Omaha, Emily made a “deliberate, intentional choice to leave Kansas City and return to and invest in the community that raised me.”
Emily has spent her career investing in the betterment of the Omaha community through her work in philanthropy and is excited to continue that personal mission through her new role at the Forest.
As someone who loves the outdoors, Emily has a true passion for nature and the mission of Fontenelle Forest, and a personal dedication to the organization’s core values of conservation, education, research and recreation.
She firmly believes in the physical, mental, and emotional health benefits of a connection with the natural world. In her spare time, she is involved in her neighborhood community garden, is a member of compost club with Hillside Solutions, and was recently elected to serve a three-year term on the board of directors for Omaha Permaculture.
Emily and her husband, Seth, enjoy hiking, camping and spending time with their dog, Bendi. They recently visited Mount Hood National Forest in Oregon, hiking 15 miles on the Timberline to Paradise Park loop trail, part of the Pacific Crest Trail.
The board and staff look forward to working with Emily to strengthen Fontenelle Forest’s roots in the local community, inspiring new ways to connect individuals, families and organizations to the many wonderful experiences the Forest offers.
If you see Emily on your next visit to the Forest, make sure to say hello and welcome her to the Fontenelle Forest family!