Mayor Chris Beutler today encouraged the public to continue to support two community donation programs - Lincoln Cares and 2 for Trees.
"Together, these programs have raised about $1.6 million for community projects - projects we would not have been able to fund with tax dollars alone," Beutler said. "Those funds are making a difference in the lives of our families, friends, neighbors and visitors. Because of the generosity of the public and the support of our project partners and sponsors in Lincoln, these programs are having a major short-term and long-term impact city-wide.
Five Lincoln media organizations will provide in-kind advertising and promotion for the two programs for the sixth consecutive year. They are KOLN/KGIN- TV; KLKN-TV; Digity Media; Broadcast House; and the Lincoln Journal Star.
LES customers can support Lincoln Cares by enrolling online and having their $1 donation automatically included on their LES bill each month. Customers can enroll by phone at 402-475-4211 or online at app.les.com/applications/_lcdonate/. Customers can discontinue automatic donations at any time by calling LES.
To date, 3,865 LES customers have enrolled in Lincoln Cares. From February 2003 through March 2015, Lincoln Cares has collected $776,664 in donations from LES customers. An average of 4,541 LES customers have donated to the program on a monthly basis. More than $500,000 in additional funds has been contributed through direct donations to the City and form local foundations, businesses and neighborhood associations.
Programs and projects funded by Lincoln Cares are selected by the Lincoln Cares Advisory Board, made up of representatives from Parks and Recreation, Lincoln City Libraries and Aging Partners as well as the community. This year's projects include Woods Park Tennis Center, Haines Branch Prairie Corridor, fitness equipment for Aging Partners, upgrades for Library meeting spaces, School Family Nights at Lincoln City Libraries and Parker's Pals Scholarships.
"We're grateful for Lincoln Cares and our project sponsors," said Pat Leach, Director of Lincoln City Libraries. "The libraries' meeting rooms receive heavy use, and the Lincoln Cares funds will go toward refreshing and updating those spaces. We're especially excited that Lincoln Cares will also support School Family Nights, community-based activities that introduce new families to the library and celebrate learning and literacy. All of this supports children's success in school, and Lincoln's success as a community."
"Aging Partners, together with Parks and Recreation and Lincoln City Libraries, is pleased and excited to use the donations from Lincoln Cares to improve the quality of life for our citizens in ways that make Lincoln a great place to live," said June Pederson, Director of Aging Partners. "As life expectancy increases, we all want to live healthy and stay independent for as long as possible. Remaining active through regular exercise is one way to do just that. To all the LES customers who helped provide the new fitness equipment at the Aging Partners Health and Fitness Center through donating to Lincoln Cares we say, 'Thank you for keeping us active and healthy.'"
"Each dollar generously donated to Lincoln Cares makes a difference in our community," said Lynn Johnson, Director of Parks and Recreation. "Collectively, the donations keep seniors fit, prepare pre-schoolers for reading, provide recreational opportunities for at-risk youth, and improve our parks and trails. We thank those who donate each month, and we hope that others will consider becoming part of the Lincoln Cares program. It's as easy as contacting LES and asking the $1 be added to the monthly billing statement for Lincoln Cares. A dollar really does make a difference!"
2 For Trees
Through March 2015, LWS customers have donated $188,501 to the 2 for Trees program. More than $115,000 in additional funds have been contributed through grants and direct donations to the City. In-kind donations come from Finke Gardens and Nursery; Campbell's Nurseries & Garden Centers; Earl May Nursery and Garden Centers (North and South); Hofeling Enterprises: "The Tree Guys"; Lanoha Nurseries; Nebraska Nursery and Garden Center; and Eagle Nursery.
This year, 2 for Trees is funding the planting of 250 trees along streets and in parks throughout Lincoln with support from a $20,000 "Trees for Nebraska Towns" grant from the Nebraska Forest Service and the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum. The program will also support tree planting along the "N" Street bikeway, 200 vouchers to help residents plant street trees in their neighborhoods as well as equipment and materials for tree establishment, monitoring and watering.
"Lincoln's public trees are valued community assets," Johnson said. "We thank generous donors who add $2 to their Lincoln Water System payments for the 2 for Trees program to support planting and establishing trees along our streets and in our parks for the future. We hope that others will join in this community effort to sustain Lincoln's community forest."