Block Society

How does the Block Leadership Society work?

The Block Leadership Society is comprised of friends of Concordia Lutheran Schools of Omaha who commit to providing a minimum of $1,500 of non-designated gifts annually to the Concordia Omaha Fund. These individuals and families are leaders and stewards of Concordia Lutheran Schools of Omaha’s mission to equip students to be faith secure, world ready, kingdom leaders.

Gifts provided through the Block Leadership Society are used where most needed, as Concordia seeks to provide the best educational and faith-building experience possible for students-for academics, spiritual growth, scholarships, technology, and campus improvements-so you can see your dollars at work in meaningful ways almost immediately.

Every gift is encouraged no matter how large or small!

Regardless of your situation, we are asking everyone to step forward and be counted with a gift to the Block Society Fund in an amount comparable to how the Lord has blessed you. No gift is too large or too small. And none of us can ever outgive the giver, Jesus Christ.

At Concordia Lutheran Schools of Omaha, students and families are wrapped in a support system unlike any other. Students receive a gospel-infused education from teachers who are trained to support them in their academics and faith development. Students have regular opportunities for service that help them develop leadership skills. And families are invited into a community that welcomes and empowers them to live faith-centered lives.

Rev. Dr. Block understood the importance of raising up our children to love the Lord. Today, Concordia calls upon its alumni and friends to do the same.

Reverend Dr. David Block

The Reverend Dr. David L. Block was the driving force to rally support within the Omaha LC-MS community to establish the West Omaha Lutheran School Association (WOLSA), now known as Concordia Lutheran Schools of Omaha. In addition, he was instrumental in securing the initial funding to launch the organization. He served as Board President and worked tirelessly to keep the Association moving forward through its early growth. Rev. Dr. Block is highly respected and loved by the Omaha community. By allowing the giving society to be his namesake, Rev. Dr. Block defines the example to which potential members of the Block Leadership Society can aspire.

For more information, please contact Rob Cooksey

Philanthropy is based on voluntary action for the common good. It is a tradition of giving and sharing that is primary to the quality of life. To assure that philanthropy merits the respect and trust of the general public, and that donors and prospective donors can have full confidence in the nonprofit organizations and causes they are asked to support, we declare that all donors have these rights:

  1. To be informed of the organization’s mission, of the way the organization intends to use donated resources and of its capacity to use donations effectively for their intended purposes.
  2. To be informed of the identity of those serving on the organization’s governing board, and to expect the board to exercise prudent judgment in its stewardship responsibilities.
  3. To have access to the organization’s most recent financial statements.
  4. To be assured their gifts will be used for the purposes for which they were given.
  5. To receive appropriate acknowledgment and recognition.
  6. To be assured that information about their donations is handled with respect and with confidentiality to the extent provided by law.
  7. To expect that all relationships with individuals representing organizations of interest to the donor will be professional in nature.
  8. To be informed whether those seeking donations are volunteers, employees of the organization or hired solicitors.
  9. To have the opportunity for their names to be deleted from mailing lists that an organization may intend to share.
  10. To feel free to ask questions when making a donation and to receive prompt, truthful and forthright answers.

DEVELOPED BY: American Association of Fund Raising Counsel (AAFRC), Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP), Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), ENDORSED BY: ALDE, 1994

About Aaron Sailer

Mr. Sailer is the Director of Finance for Concordia Lutheran Schools of Omaha and the Foundation Secretary/Treasurer since June 2016. He previously taught undergraduate accounting courses at Concordia University Nebraska, and worked in public accounting.

Mr. Sailer attends and is the congregation Treasurer for Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Elkhorn.

He is married to Lisa, a first-grade teacher in the Elkhorn Public Schools district.

About Rob Cooksey

Mr. Cooksey is the Concordia Lutheran Schools of Omaha Foundation President and has served as the Head of Schools at Concordia since 2013. Prior to that he was the Executive Director at Christ Community Lutheran School in St. Louis, Missouri for 11 years. Mr. Cooksey has also led schools in Texas, Colorado, and South Dakota.

Cooksey serves as a Board member for North Valley Christian Academy in Phoenix, Arizona and is a past member of the Board of Regents at Concordia University-Nebraska and the Lutheran Education Association.

Rob and his wife, Dawn are members at GraceHill Church.

About Sabrina Weiss

Ms. Weiss has over 20 years of fundraising experience and currently serves as the Vice President of Development for Omaha Performing Arts. Ms. Weiss is responsible for the planning and implementation of all fundraising programs including major gifts and gift planning, endowment, capital campaigns, annual fund, corporate and foundation funding, public funding and government relations, volunteer events and donor stewardship for Omaha Performing Arts and the OPAS Foundation.

Ms. Weiss holds a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and a bachelor’s degree in nonprofit arts management from Oklahoma City University. She also received the Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP) designation from the American College of Financial Services.

Ms. Weiss serves as the Vice Chair of the board for the American Cancer Society of Omaha and is on the Curriculum Content Committee for the Omaha CAP program. She is a member of Rejoice Lutheran Church.

About Dan Vehle

Mr. Vehle is currently the Endovascular Territory Sales Manager at W.L. Gore and Associates, and has 43 years of experience in medical sales, including previous positions at Burroughs Wellcome Co., Picker International, Cordis Corporation, Perclose INC/ Abbott Laboratories, and LuMend.

Mr. Vehle served a five-year term on the Board of Directors for Prairie Pointe Subdivision, and served as a Board member for Concordia Lutheran Schools of Omaha for a total of seven years. During that time, he served one year as VP, and two years as President of the Board.

Vehle is a graduate of the University of South Dakota, and is a 20+ year member of King of Kings Lutheran Church.

About Del Toebben

Mr. Toebben, now retired, is the previous Owner and Operator of a Graphic Arts business. Toebben provided active leadership for the LCMS Nebraska District by serving on several standing and special committees. He also chaired or served on several not-for-profit corporation boards and committees.

Mr. Toebben was a charter member of two Omaha area Lutheran churches and served in every elected office of his church, including Chairman of the Congregation and Chairman of the Board of Elder-two times each.

Mr. Toebben has served as a Charter member of SCOLBE , as well as a member of the SCOLBE Board of Directors. He currently serves as President of the Board of Directors of Rupert Dunklau Foundation. Mr. Toebben is a member of Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church.

About Gaye Lynn Schaffart

Ms. Schaffart is Vice President of Strategic Initiatives for Tenaska Marketing Ventures (TMV), an affiliate of Tenaska, Inc. Ms. Schaffart is responsible for long term strategy, business development, and other special projects for the company.

Ms. Schaffart graduated from the University of Nebraska at Omaha where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and a Master’s in Business Administration. Ms. Schaffart also holds both C.P.A. and C.M.A. certifications.

Board service includes CLSO School Board and Foundation Board, Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska Foundation and Nebraska Children and Families Foundation. Ms. Schaffart is a member of Divine Shepherd Church.

About Lloyd Probasco

Mr. Probasco, Executive Director of the Dunklau Foundation, has had a career that has enabled him to experience opportunities in finance, gift planning, capital campaigns, strategic planning, endowment building and administration. During his over 20-year career with the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod Foundation, Mr. Probasco served as a Gift Planning Counselor, Regional Vice President for the Heartland Region and Senior Vice President overseeing the Foundation’s relationship with all of the Synod’s Colleges, Seminaries, and RSO’s. He has also provided leadership to hundreds of Christian organizations (including many congregations) in the development of Endowment Funds and Foundations.

As a volunteer, Mr. Probasco has served or now serves on the Board of Directors for Concordia University, Nebraska; Board of Regents at Concordia College, Alabama; Lutheran Hour Ministry Foundation Board; Concordia Lutheran Schools of Omaha Foundation Board; and Heartland Lutheran High School Foundation Board.

Lloyd and his wife Ruth are members of Christ Lutheran Church in Lincoln.

About Brandon Newhouse

Mr. Newhouse (’13) is the first alumni to serve on the Foundation Board. Brandon is an Omaha native and started attending Concordia as an 8th grader where he fell in love with the smaller class-sizes, Christ-centered education and the intentional community present at Concordia.

Brandon is a graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in Business and Economics. He currently works for Molycop, an international mining manufacturer, as a Senior Treasury Analyst. As the President of the Wheaton Student Managed Investment Fund, he gained experience in planning and executing events, organizational structure and leadership.

Mr. Newhouse looks forward to connecting with other alumni and engaging them in future support of the school and its mission.

About Bill Kernen

Mr. Kernen, who currently serves as the Concordia Lutheran Schools of Omaha Foundation Chairman of the Board, retired as CFO and Senior Vice President from the Omaha World Herald Company in 2004. That same year, Mr. Kernen and his late wife Leona established Kernen Partners, LLC to manage family assets.

Mr. Kernen is a past Board member of the Omaha World Herald Company (1985-2011) and Election Systems and Software, Inc (1987-2011). He currently serves on the Boards of Kernen Partners, Kernen Capital, and Kernen Education 2.0.

His volunteer Board service includes Concordia University-NE, United Way of the Midlands, Wheat Ridge Ministries, Chicago, IL, SCOLBE (Service Corp of Lutheran Business Executives), and LCMS Foundation-St Louis, MO.

Kernen currently serves on the Community Boards of Grace Point Institute for Relational Health, Concordia Lutheran Schools of Omaha Foundation, and Lutheran Family Services Foundation. Mr. Kernen is a member of Divine Shepherd Lutheran Church.

About Gail Hawkins

Ms. Hawkins, Senior Vice-President at Tetrad Corporation, has responsibilities for asset management of real estate investments, treasury and cash management functions, risk management, and forecasting. She previously worked for a bank holding company (3 years) and a national accounting firm (10 years).

Ms. Hawkins serves on the Concordia University Board of Regents and has served on the Concordia Lutheran Schools of Omaha Board of Directors.

She is a member of Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church.

About Lee J. Handke

Lee Handke is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Nebraska Health Network, an accountable care organization formed as a partnership between Methodist Health System, Nebraska Medicine and their affiliated physicians. Handke is responsible for implementing the strategy to achieve the NHN’s mission of leading the transformation of health in the region by developing partnerships that deliver patient-centered, high value care.

Previously, Handke was the senior vice president, health network services for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska. There he was responsible for hospital, professional and pharmacy network strategy, product development and healthcare delivery and wellness programs.

Handke received a Bachelor of Life Science from Kansas State University in 1993. In 1999, he graduated with distinction from the University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Pharmacy with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree.

Handke is a registered pharmacist and adjunct faculty member at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Pharmacy, where he serves on the admissions committee. He serves on the board of directors for the Concordia Lutheran Schools of Omaha, Nebraska Methodist College and is Board President for Omaha’s Lauritzen Gardens. In 2006, Handke was named one of the Ten Outstanding Young Omahans by the Omaha Jaycees, and in 2009 was awarded the Early Career Achievement Award by the University of Nebraska Medical Center. He is a graduate of Leadership Omaha Class 30 and the Institute for Career Advancement Need’s FOCUS program for executive leadership. He lives in Omaha with his wife Jennifer and sons Peter and Zachary.

Mr. Handke is on the Concordia Lutheran Schools of Omaha School Board and also serves on the Foundation Board.