Mayor Chris Beutler today announced the City projects that will be funded through the 2018 Lincoln Cares community donation program. Lincoln Cares allows customers of the Lincoln Electric System (LES) to add $1 to their monthly bill payments for Parks and Recreation, Lincoln City Libraries and Aging Partners. The funds support projects and programming that are not able to be funded through the City budget.
"We started this partnership with LES in 2003 because we believed in the generosity of Lincoln residents and in their desire to support the programs that add so much to our quality of life," Beutler said. "Today, 15 years later, our entire community can take pride in the fact that almost $1.5 million has been invested in our parks, libraries and services for older adults. We are grateful to LES and its customers, the sponsors, the other donors, our media partners and our project partners who have all played a role in making Lincoln Cares successful."
Five media organizations will provide in-kind advertising and promotion for the program -- KOLN/KGIN-TV; KLKN-TV; Alpha Media; Broadcast House; and the Lincoln Journal Star. This year's project partners include Lincoln Parks Foundation, Foundation for Lincoln City Libraries from Allstate, Seniors Foundation, Olsson Associates, Prairie Corridor Partnership and Culver's.
LES customers can support Lincoln Cares by enrolling at LES.com/lcdonate or calling 402-475-4211. The $1 donation is automatically included on the LES bill each month, and customers can discontinue their automatic donation at any time by calling LES.
The average number of LES customers enrolled per month is 3,586. From February 2003 through April 2018, Lincoln Cares has collected $915,708 in donations from LES customers.
More than $600,000 in additional funds has been contributed through direct donations to the City and from local foundations, businesses and neighborhood associations.
The Lincoln Cares program has assisted Aging Partners in renovating a new Fitness Center at 555 South 9th Street with state of the art fitness equipment. "Maintaining physical strength allows our seniors to remain active, healthy and vibrant," said Randall Jones, Director of Aging Partners.
Lincoln Cares funds, matched by Allstate, will allow Lincoln City Libraries to build on the success of its Maker-Space activities. "Hundreds of people have had a great time while learning at the library, due to Maker-Space activities," said Pat Leach, Director of Lincoln City Libraries. "Whether connecting circuits, programming a robot, or even using a sewing machine, people learn together through Maker-Space activities. It's a world-wide trend that's all about learning in community."
Parks and Recreation Director Lynn Johnson said Lincoln Cares will support several programs. "Lincoln Cares donations will again provide opportunities for children from low-income families to participate in swimming, youth sports and other recreation programs," Johnson said. "New outdoor fitness equipment in Cooper Park will bring a new activity to Lincoln's oldest park. Lincoln Cares funding also will continue to assist with development of the Haines Branch Prairie Corridor celebrating and preserving Lincoln's prairie heritage."
Programs and projects funded by Lincoln Cares are selected based on input from the Lincoln Cares Advisory Board, which includes representatives from Parks and Recreation, Lincoln City Libraries and Aging Partners as well as the community.
For more information, visit LincolnCares.info.