Skip to Content
Join us for a day of global music and art – Global Sounds Music Festival! Learn More

About Us

Canopy South

We exist to connect, convene, and collaborate with a community of doers, with the goal of establishing strong roots of social, educational, and racial equity in South Omaha neighborhoods disconnected from equitable access to opportunity. We believe choice provides the foundation for just and fair development, where the community determines future growth.

Our Approach

Working from the blueprint of the Purpose Built Communities Model, Canopy South promotes a culture of collaboration to transform neighborhoods and  bring together the vital components necessary for holistic community revitalization: high-quality mixed-income housing, an effective cradle-to-career education pipeline, and comprehensive community wellness resources.

Our Board

  • John Levy


    William and Ruth Scott Family Foundation

  • Osuman Issaka


    The Simple Foundation

  • Meridith Dillon


    Front Porch Investments

  • Stephen Osberg

    Paul G Smith Associates

  • Maria Vazquez

    Metro Community College

  • Jim Landen

    Security National Bank

  • Andy Ruback

    Flood Communications

  • Kerri Sanchez

    Sherwood Foundation

  • Jenni Shukert


  • Rodrigo Lopez

    AmeriSphere Companies

Meet Our Team


    Executive Director

    César is driven by a vision for the future – an equitable community full of choice and opportunities for residents to thrive, providing a strong foundation for success. In his role as Executive Director, he fosters intentional partnerships with community stakeholders and leads strategic initiatives and projects to fulfill the mission of the organization.Previously, César served as a Principal in the Firm and as an Engineering Sector Leader at DLR Group. While there, he was the Lead Engineer for several notable local projects, including the Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital, the Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium Conservation Academy and the new addition to Central High School. He holds a master’s degree in Engineering from the University of Nebraska and brings more than 15 years of engineering, project management, and business development experience to the organization.Originally from one of the largest cities in Colombia, César immigrated to the United States as a teenager in pursuit of opportunity – a common thread, which bonds his own experience to many in the community he serves. With strong ties to Omaha, much of his time is committed to giving back to the city foundational to his success. Garcia serves on multiple boards and committees focused on mentorship and equitable development, including ACE Mentor Program Nebraska, Heartland 2050’s Regional Planning Committee, and the Greater Omaha Chamber’s ConnectGO Technical Group.

    • Midlands Business Journal’s 40 Under 40
    Ten Outstanding Young Omahans
    Leadership Omaha Class 38


    Director of Operations

    Crystal comes to Canopy South with a passion for equitable development that amplifies the community’s voice to ensure residents have a genuine stake in the changes that shape their everyday lives. In her role, she manages projects from inception to implementation, leads community engagement efforts, and supports internal operations. Her professional background is in urban design, higher education, and the nonprofit sector.Born and raised in Southern California, Crystal had the opportunity to live and work in diverse communities that celebrated and honored a variety of cultures. Her work is grounded in dismantling systems of inequality often found in marginalized communities. She believes that holistic urban planning and human-centered design can serve as a powerful catalyst for change. She holds a master’s degree in Urban Studies from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and a bachelor’s degree in Medical Sociology from California State University, Long Beach.

  • Juan Padilla

    Community Development Manager

    Juan comes to Canopy South with experience in the profit and not for profit world. Having worked for Union Pacific Railroad for almost six years, Juan realized during his time there that his passion lied in nonprofits. Juan had the opportunity to work for the Omaha Community Foundation where he was part of a team that helped bring in more donors to the organization, and also helped cultivate relationships with current donors. During his time at OCF, Juan also completed the Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP®) certification. Born in Guatemala City, Juan moved to Omaha as a young child and has lived in Omaha since. Juan is a firm believer that having a thriving community is the result of a safe neighborhood, higher education, a healthy lifestyle, and providing community members with opportunity to thrive. Juan attended Doane College where he had the chance to play soccer and graduated with a degree in Business Administration, and then was able to become a graduate assistant for both the men’s and women’s soccer teams.