Johnny Carson Foundation offers assistance for transit services in Norfolk 

Johnny Carson Foundation offers assistance for transit services in Norfolk

Transit Board Takes on New Members, Local support still needed to resume operations of North Fork Area Transit

NORFOLK – The efforts to resume public transportation services in Norfolk have received a huge boost. The Johnny Carson Foundation has agreed to provide a $500,000 matching grant to North Fork Area Transit as a way to help eliminate the agency’s existing debt and provide funds for sustainability. The Carson Foundation funds will be made available if $500,000 can be generated through local fundraising efforts from January 31, 2023 and by February 28, 2023.

“We’re so grateful to the Johnny Carson Foundation for this support. Now we hope Norfolk and area businesses, organizations and individuals will help raise the needed matching funds,” said Corinne Donahue, NDOT Mobility Management Team.

The financial problems facing North Fork Area Transit, which is a nonprofit entity, came to light last month with the discovery of financial improprieties and missing funds. Because of the financial woes, all transit services were suspended earlier this month.

Since then, members of the North Fork Area Transit have taken steps to improve financial safeguards by working closely with the Nebraska Department of Transportation’s Mobility Management team and also securing the services of a Norfolk CPA firm.

“We want nothing more than to rebuild the trust that has been lost and get back to providing the transportation services that so many senior citizens, disabled individuals, school children, business employees and others need,” Donahue said.

To that end, the North Fork Area Transit’s board has added three new members to bolster the board’s work and reform practices where necessary.  The three new board members include:

Jan Einspahr, local attorney

Rob Merrill, former City Councilman, owner of a small business

Chuck Waite, co-owner/manager of Graham Tire

Donahue said the transit agency has about $590,000 in debt and unpaid invoices that it needs to resolve. If the full $1 million can be raised thanks to the Carson foundation and local donations, the remaining funds will go toward ensuring sustainability once services resume.

Those wanting to help the transit agency with donations can drop checks off at any Elkhorn Valley Bank location or can Venmo donations to @northforktransit. Questions can be directed to Corinne Donahue at [email protected] or 402.370.6252.