Edward and Willa Kelly Community Collaborative, Inc., is a nonprofit organization based in Omaha, Nebraska. The organization was founded by family and friends of its namesakes, Edward and Willa Kelly. Ed (Kelly as he was affectionately known by family and friends) and Willa were tragically killed in a car collision in July 1988 while on their way to officially become foster parents in Washington State. They had met and married in Sitka, Alaska, just ten years before, where they had both lived since the late 1960s. In 1986, after Ed’s retirement from the Alaska Lumber & Pulp Company, Ed and Willa relocated to Key Center, located just west of Gig Harbor and across Puget Sound from Seattle.
One of Willa’s sons, Michael, relocated from Tempe, Arizona to Omaha with his wife, Carrie (a native Nebraskan from Lincoln) and newborn baby (Samantha) shortly after their deaths, in 1988.
Between 1988 and 2001, Michael and Carrie welcomed two more children, Zach and Heidi. Michael continued a career in human services while working in various capacities with youth and families at Boys Town, United Way, and All Our Kids, Inc., a youth mentoring and scholarship program affiliated with the National Mentoring Partnership (now known as Better Brighter Futures). He earned a Master of Public Administration degree, with an emphasis in Non Profit Management, from the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) in 1992. Between 1996 and 2001, Michael was an Adjunct Professor for the Dept. of Public Administration at UNO and an independent strategic planning consultant for Omaha area organizations, including the Omaha Chapter of the American Red Cross, the Millard Education Foundation and the State of Nebraska Office of Vocational Rehabilitation.
In 2001, with the generous support of family and friends from Gig Harbor, Sitka, and Omaha, the Edward and Willa Kelly Community Collaborative, Inc. was founded in honor of Ed and Willa. Originally founded to offer assistance to youth, the organization later broadened its focus to provide affordable housing opportunities to low income families. Still later, that focus was narrowed to provide affordable housing opportunities to those most at risk for homelessness, including veterans, young adults exiting foster care, adults exiting the criminal justice system, and adults with mental illness. It was with that goal in mind that Kelly House, a supportive housing program for men aged 19 and older, was founded.
Since opening its doors in April of 2012, the 14-bed capacity Kelly House Supportive Housing Program has been home to approximately 150 men, providing guidance and support as they learn to cope with mental illness. In 2014, Kelly House was approved by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services to provide Adult Day Care Services to its residents, as well as a limited number of non-residents. Generous contributions of time, money, and talent from the Omaha community and beyond have helped our program grow, improve and expand.
In 2018, Kelly House continues our mission, focusing on providing a home to the most vulnerable in our community. Please call or email if you would like to donate your time, money, or talent. We need you!