12:56 PM

Community Member Receives Ethics Award for Starting Little Aksarben Food Pantry Amid Pandemic


Beth Riley of Omaha was awarded the Ethical Leadership and Service Award as determined by Bellevue University’s Ethical Insights Committee during the virtual faculty meeting held Dec. 4.

Riley is the Director of Philanthropy for the American Forest Foundation — a national nonprofit based out of Washington D.C. but serving the entire U.S.

Ethical Insights is a faculty-driven initiative which fosters the teaching and learning of ethics across the colleges at Bellevue University. The ethics award is given to a community member or student for outstanding leadership in ethics as demonstrated by professional and community service.

“Last summer, for her birthday, Riley asked for a Little Food Pantry — a similar concept to a Little Library — so she could help those in need during these challenging times,” Mary Dobranksy, Dean of the College of Science and Technology, said. “A friend and a neighbor built one for her and placed it in her front yard. Since then, Riley has worked tirelessly to keep the pantry going.”

Riley solicits and manages donations, posts information on social media, and she even delivers pantry items to those who are unable to visit her house. The Little Aksarben Free Pantry is located at 5524 Mayberry Street. For more information, email littleaksarbenfoodpantry@gmail.com. 

“I am humbled to be selected to receive Bellevue University’s Ethical Leadership and Service Award for 2020,” Riley said. “The Little Aksarben Food Pantry is really a work of love and a testament to our very generous community and it's response to a challenging year and how we overcome those challenges together.”

Previous winners of the Ethical Leadership and Service Award include:

2019 — Katherine (KC) Nolde (Community member and BU student)

2018 — Dr. Pete Heineman (Bellevue University’s Director of Institutional Accreditation and Accreditation Liaison Officer with the Higher Learning Commission)

2017 — Gina Ponce (Director of Latino Community Outreach at Bellevue University)

2016 — Mike Livergood (Bellevue University’s Head Athletic Trainer)

2015 — Dr. Jon Kayne (Professor in our College of Arts and Sciences and a former Vice President of Academic Affairs)

2014 — Rabbi Pesach Lerner (Lerner helped the university create and launch several programs including Educational Leadership, Business, MBA, and Human Services.)

2013 – Frank Kumar (Community member)

2012 – Dr. Robert Saniuk (Community member)

2011 – Professor Del Stites (Associate Professor Emeritus at Bellevue University)