Mayor Chris Beutler and Kevin Wailes, Administrator and CEO of Lincoln Electric System, today announced a new donation process for the Lincoln Cares community donation program. LES customers have had the option to add $1 to their monthly bill payments to support Lincoln Parks and Recreation, Lincoln City Libraries and Aging Partners.
"LES is making it easier for customers to continue their support of the Lincoln Cares program," said Wailes. "We have implemented a new enrollment system that will allow all LES customers to have their $1 donation automatically included on their LES bill each month. Customers interested in taking advantage of the new system can enroll online or by calling LES."
"We are incredibly grateful to LES customers and other donors who have supported the Lincoln Cares program since it was started in 2003," Mayor Beutler said. "Because of the community's generosity, we have been able to invest more than $1 million in extra funds in our parks, libraries and programs for older adults."
Wailes said that automatic bank billed customers who already signed up to have their Lincoln Cares donation included on their monthly bills will not need to re-enroll. Support of Lincoln Cares is voluntary, he noted, so customers can discontinue their automatic donation at any time by calling LES.
The Mayor encouraged LES customers to take the easy steps to enroll in the program because the option to add $1 to their utility bill on a month-by-month basis will no longer be available after April 2014. "As our community continues to grow, these additional funds are needed now more than ever, Beutler said. "Lincoln Cares is a simple and easy way for everyone to support the services that help to make our community a great place to live."
From its inception in February 2003 through October 2013, Lincoln Cares has collected nearly $692,451 in donations from LES customers. An average of 4,220 of the 115,524 total residential LES customers donated to the program in 2013 on a monthly basis. Another $560,936 has been contributed through direct donations to the Lincoln Parks Foundation and through community partnerships with local foundations, businesses and neighborhood associations. The total for all collections since Lincoln Cares began is $1,253,387.
Mayor Beutler recognized all six Lincoln media organizations that are providing in-kind advertising and promotion to create a greater awareness of Lincoln Cares and its new enrollment system: KOLN/KGIN-TV, KLKN-TV, Three Eagles Communications, Broadcast House, the Lincoln Journal Star and The Ticket.
LES customers who are not currently enrolled in the Lincoln Cares program can sign up at www.les.com/lcdonate or by calling 402-475-4211. Donations also can be made online at LincolnCares.org or mailed directly to the Lincoln Parks Foundation, 2740 "A" Street, Box 201, Lincoln, NE 68502.
Tennis Backboards in Parks: Tennis backboards will be replaced in Peter Pan Park and Eden Park. Two additional backboards will be replaced or added at locations to be identified in cooperation with the project partners. The project partners are Sig Garnett and Tom Tipton in cooperation with Lincoln Tennis Association.
Drinking Fountains on the Trails: New drinking fountains will be placed at two locations along the Billy Wolff Trail. The project partners are the Mike Sucha Memorial Golf Tournament and Vintage Heights Homeowners Association.
Historic Pinewood Bowl Entrance Enhancements: Historic entrance features, originally located at Antelope Park, will enhance the entrance of Pinewood Bowl. Features include four original columns, two lights and several fence panels. The project partner is Pinewood Bowl, Inc.
Haines Branch Prairie Corridor: The 7.5-mile Prairie Corridor will link Pioneers Park with Spring Creek Prairie and provide enhancement and preservation of tall grass prairie, recreational and educational connections and economical development opportunities. The project partners are the Lincoln Parks Foundation and the Prairie Corridor Partnership.
Parker's Pals: This scholarship program provides financial support for children of low-income families. It includes pool admissions, swimming lessons and participation in the swim/dive league and allows children to participate in youth and sports programs offered by Lincoln Parks and Recreation. The project partners are Culver's, Olsson Associates, Lincoln Area Retired School Personnel and the Lincoln Parks Foundation.
Aging Strong: Aging Strong is part of the health and fitness program provided by Aging Partners to adults age 55 and over. Lincoln Cares donations will be used to finance fitness equipment at the Aging Partners Health and Fitness Center, 233 S. 10th St. The project partner is the Seniors Foundation.
Leading to Reading Spaces: These educational spots for young children at Eiseley and Walt Branch Libraries will offer special computers and developmentally appropriate toys to encourage literacy. The project partners are the Dillon Foundation, Rotary 14 and the Foundation for Lincoln City Libraries.
Projects funded in the first nine years of the Lincoln Cares program include: