Carol Gendler: A Passion for Art, Education and Human Services

Among the fantastic, disarming and often whimsical professional art and sculpture collection Carol Gendler has assembled in her tasteful Omaha townhome is a simple ceramic plaque of a child’s handprint and the words “Thank you for believing in us,” made for her by students in an arts program she funded.

That brief, sweet, stirring message resonates deeply with Gendler – so much so that the piece is displayed prominently on the ledge to the left of the living room fireplace.

Since she stopped working full-time in 2007, Gendler has devoted herself to worthy charitable causes in and around Omaha, as well as across Nebraska, that involve youth services, justice, equality, art, creativity and education. A member of many volunteer boards, Gendler knows how little it really takes to make a big impact on the non-profit community.

NET is at the top of her list of favorites. Gendler is a loyal donor to NET and is a member of the Jack G. McBride and Friends of the Future societies.

“I’m so lucky to have the resources to be able to help others lead better lives,” she said. “NET has enriched my life with its educational programming and mission. I truly feel very blessed.”

An avid art collector, Gendler praised NET Television’s latest segment of Nebraska Stories that focused on art around the state. “I loved the piece about Jun Kaneko’s sculptures at Lauritzen Gardens,” she said. Her modern art collection, spread liberally around her, even includes a few pieces by artists mentioned in the 30-minute program.

While not a regular television “watcher” by any means, Gendler says she a committed news viewer who appreciates PBS NewsHour and adores Charlie Rose. She said she stays up many nights to catch Rose on NET2 World.

“NET is a valuable resource for us here in Nebraska,” she said.

As a long-time support of NET, Gendler has attended donor events, such as the recent dinner in Lincoln celebrating the successful conclusion of the Inspire Nebraska Campaign.

Two years ago, she and a good friend, Susan Thomas of Omaha, also traveled by bus with other NET members to the Rowe Sanctuary to view the sandhill crane migration. A highlight of that trip was traveling with nature and wildlife photographer Michael Forsberg, whom she calls “talented, articulate and bright.”

Gendler said she’s looked forward to Great Plains ­– America’s Lingering Wild, the NET-produced documentary based on Forsberg’s book and photographs that premieres in November.

“I hope NET continues its mission to inform, enrich and educate,” she said. “After all, education is so important.”