Amanda Kohler Steps down as Refugee Empowerment Center Executive Director

Monday, November 22, 2021
Media Contact: Cailan Franz

Amanda Kohler Steps down as Refugee Empowerment Center Executive Director
Immigrant Legal Center to manage day-to-day operations on interim basis

(Omaha, Nebraska: Monday, November 22, 2021) – Refugee Empowerment Center (REC) announced today that Amanda Kohler will be stepping down as Executive Director on Wednesday, November 24. Kohler has served as the agency’s executive director since 2019.

“Amanda is a dynamic leader and has been a strong voice for welcoming refugee families to Omaha,” said Anne Meysenburg, REC Board Chair. “On behalf of the Refugee Empowerment Center Board of Directors, I extend our gratitude to Amanda for her leadership and friendship. We wish Amanda and her family all the best as she enters this new chapter in her career.”

REC has also announced that the organization has entered into a management agreement with Immigrant Legal Center (ILC). ILC will provide administrative services and operations management during an interim basis while the REC Board determines next steps for the agency following Kohler’s departure. Erik Omar, ILC Executive Director and former REC Board Chair will serve as REC’s Interim Executive Director.

“Our number one priority is ensuring a smooth transition for our REC staff and the families we serve. ILC’s vision of empowering immigrants to live with confidence and free from fear aligns well with our work at REC,” Meysenburg said. “We are confident that Erik and the ILC team will provide the necessary oversight and management for our staff as we plan for the future of REC.”

“Refugee Empowerment Center is a critical partner in our work welcoming immigrants and refugees to Nebraska,” said Omar. “We are honored to provide the REC staff with the support they need and look forward to working with the REC board and other refugee supporting agencies in Omaha to serve the needs of our growing refugee community.”



The Refugee Empowerment Center resettles refugees who are transitioning from vastly different backgrounds into American life. We focus on helping our clients live and work productively, further their education, and achieve a better life for themselves and their children.

Our goal is to empower resettled refugees by helping them obtain the skills necessary for economic self-sufficiency, developing support networks, and creating space for joy.  REC is grateful to the Omaha community for uniting with us in solidarity to support our newest Nebraskans in becoming healthy and successful members of our city.


As Nebraska and Southwest Iowa’s largest nonprofit immigration legal services provider, Immigrant Legal Center is focused on empowering immigrants to live with confidence and free from fear. Through legal services, education, and advocacy, ILC is unique in our ability to meet the ever-changing needs of immigrant communities because of our people, our partners, and our promise to never turn any family away due to inability to pay. Learn more at immigrantlc.org.