Johnny Carson Foundation offering assistance to North Fork Area Transit

Published: Feb. 3, 2023 at 11:12 AM CST
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NORFOLK, Neb. (KTIV) - North Fork Area Transit is being offered money from the Johnny Carson Foundation in hopes of getting their services restarted.

The foundation has agreed to provide a $500,000 matching grant to North Fork Area Transit. The money is meant to help eliminate the nonprofit’s existing debt and provide funds for sustainability. But in order to get the grant, the foundation says $500,000 must be generated through local fundraising efforts from Jan. 31, 2023, and by Feb. 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 came to light after the former director allegedly embezzled $750,000 from the nonprofit. Because of the missing funds, all services provided by the nonprofit were suspended.

Since the alleged embezzlement, officials say North Fork Area Transit has taken steps to improve its financial safeguards by working with the Nebraska Department of Transportation’s Mobility Management team and also securing the services of a Norfolk CPA firm. The nonprofit’s board has also added three new members to bolster its work and reform practices where necessary. The new members are:

  • Jan Einspahr, a local attorney
  • Rob Merrill, former city councilman, and owner of a small business
  • Chuck Waite, co-owner/manager of Graham Tire

“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,” said Donahue.

Donahue said North Fork Area Transit has about $590,000 in debt and unpaid invoices that it needs to resolve. If the full $1 million can be raised through 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 or (402) 370-6252.