2020 – Tera kucera, CLASS OF 2016
Tera Kucera, chief executive officer, Care Corps’ LifeHouse
Tera Kucera was born in Texas, and later moved to Nebraska with her family in 1987. After high school, she became an interior decorator and Feng Shui consultant. In 1992, Kucera began her career in retail management, were she successfully worked for more than 20 years.
In spring 2014, Kucera enrolled in classes at Metropolitan Community College with her daughters, Taylor and Tyler. She served as Student Ex Officio on the Metropolitan Board of Governors August to November 2015 and graduated from MCC in May 2016.
During her time at MCC, Kucera received multiple academic awards and scholarships, including a weeklong study trip to Rosebud Reservation in May 2015. She also participated in the AmeriCorps program and served more than 1,800 volunteer hours at Care Corps Family Services.
In November 2015, Kucera was hired by Care Corps as a case manager. Shortly after, she was asked to step into the role of interim executive director. During her time as interim, Kucera evaluated the needs of the most vulnerable in the community and began implementing a new business structure. Within her first year, the organization was able to bring on a Rapid ReHousing program, geared toward moving individuals and families out of homelessness and into housing as quickly as possible. In June 2016, Kucera accepted the position of executive director.
In August 2018, Care Corps Family Services and Low Income Ministry formed a strategic partnership, and now operate under one organization, Care Corps’ LifeHouse. Kucera, now CEO, has grown the organization to include an emergency homeless shelter, food pantry, six supportive housing programs, homelessness prevention and aftercare programs, life skills and workforce ready programs, and a voucher program through the agency’s thrift store that provides gently used clothing and housewares to those in need in Dodge County.
In 2019, Care Corps’ LifeHouse was awarded $2.8 million dollars to build, own and operate 15 low income housing units for families in Fremont. These units, consisting of 10 two-bedroom, and five three-bedrooms, will provide more than just housing to families. They will provide a holistic approach to families with access to services such as mental health and healthcare, parenting classes, budgeting, life skills classes and more with wrap-around case management.
Under Kucera’s leadership, Care Corps’ LifeHouse has also grown in the number of individuals served, programs offered and has become an example for other agencies of homelessness across the state. Through innovation, she empowers staff to continually improve program outcomes. One example is the percentage of those exiting shelter to a permanent home. This percentage has increased to over 90 percent in the last five years
Kucera serves as the vice president for the Balance of State Continuum of Care, the vice chair for Region Five Continuum of Care, co-chair on the executive board for the Fremont Family Coalition, and is a member of the Long Term Recovery Team, Dodge County Housing Task Force, and COVID Response Teams. She has been a rotarian for many years. Tera has a strong commitment to the community of Fremont and Dodge county, and the drive to advocate for and provide safe, affordable housing with access to services to those most affected by poverty.
Kucera loves spending time with her family; she has two daughters, two stepsons, two daughters-in-law and two beautiful granddaughters, Izzabell and Addy. She enjoys time at her family’s organic aronia berry farm, reading, writing and taking her Doberman puppy for walks.
The 2020 Distinguished Alumni Award is sponsored by America First Investment Advisors, L.L.C.