Lincoln Loves

Acts of generosity contribute to a vibrant city

by Jenny Chapin

The Lincoln Community Foundation helps donors make gifts to support today’s needs, like Give to Lincoln Day, as well as help design gifts that will impact Lincoln forever. The Foundation is honored to be the keeper of these legacies of love for Lincoln.

Give to Lincoln Day

Held annually each spring, Give to Lincoln Day is a giving day event that encourages everyone to contribute to Lincoln and Lancaster County nonprofit organizations through a single online giving platform between May 1 and May 28. Give to Lincoln Day is coordinated by Lincoln Community Foundation, in partnership with local nonprofit organizations. 

The 9th annual Give to Lincoln Day held on May 28, 2020, raised $7M, almost $1.4 million over the previous record. More than 448 nonprofit organizations participated. Since Give to Lincoln Day began in 2012, donors have contributed nearly $33 million to local nonprofits. 

“What a heartwarming response from our city,” said Barbara Bartle, President of the Lincoln Community Foundation. “The organizations that are critical to the care, support and spirit of Lincoln needed us now more than ever. Thousands of donors answered the call during such an uncertain time. I am so grateful for this generous community.”

The 10th annual event will be held on May 25, 2021. 

Give to Lincoln Forever

Gifts made to—and through—the Lincoln Community Foundation have enhanced many of the city’s outdoor spaces that include memorials, monuments, green parks and urban spaces. Many locations in our community have been funded by donors who established gifts that continue to give joy to Lincolnites year after year.

Tower Square located at the corner of 13th and P streets is a showcase for Lincoln Community Foundation endowed funds. A public plaza that serves as a gathering and events space is also home to a stunning art glass tower, Ascent, designed by International artist Jun Kaneko, who resides in Omaha. Since its Dedication in December 2014, Tower Square has been used to gather, celebrate, pay vigil and peacefully demonstrate. 

One donor, Sheila Dickinson Dinsmore Graf, used her endowment fund at the Lincoln Community Foundation to help build not only Tower Square, but Lincoln Educare, Spring Creek Prairie and the Union Plaza Amphitheater, to name a few. The list will go on and continue to build and support this community, because endowment funds continue to grow forever.

The Lincoln Children’s Zoo is also a good example of the impact endowed funds can have on the community. The Lincoln Community Foundation recently contributed $200,000 to the zoo’s expansion through the Sheila Dickinson Dinsmore Graf and Kenneth J. Good funds. The expansion featured new exhibits and play areas for children and families in Lincoln. These spaces will be enjoyed for years to come.

Traveling slowly through Wyuka Cemetery’s winding roads (3600 O Street), visitors will come across a giant triangular sculpture tucked into the northeast corner of the all-faith cemetery. The Nebraska Holocaust Memorial is striking, silver monument is dedicated to the memory of those who perished in the Holocaust and in honor of all the liberators and survivors of the Nazi concentration camps. The Nebraska Holocaust Memorial was created through the support of thoughtful Nebraska citizens with the intent to remember and educate on lessons of history.

Lincoln Community Foundation is home to the Sam and Frances Fried Holocaust Memorial Maintenance Fund which helps to preserve the memorial. Dedicated in 2007, the memorial receives no state funds. Individuals can support the ongoing educational improvements by donating $100 toward personalized bricks.

A quiet respite for many local walkers, the Jan Pitsch Green on Sheridan Boulevard and 33rd Street was made possible by a Legacy Gift to the Lincoln Community Foundation. Jan made plans in her estate to care for the lovely space. She lived across the street from the park area for many years and was an active volunteer who worked hard to maintain and improve the planting areas in the neighborhood. Upon passing in 2008 she left a generous gift to the Foundation to fund the landscaping and maintain the area forever.

Visitors and residents alike are fortunate to have places to enjoy their time here in Lincoln. These landmarks were made possible through gifts of love, with hope for the community of the future. 

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