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Lincoln Community Foundation hosted its first-ever Lincoln Littles giving day in honor of Abe Lincoln’s birthday on Feb. 12. The day, inspired by the Prosper Lincoln agenda on early childhood, raised $637,397 to help more children in need access high-quality early childhood programs.

“Hats off to this generous community,” said Barbara Bartle, president of Lincoln Community Foundation. “Abe would like this birthday gift. He said, ‘When I do good, I feel good.’ Lincoln, you should feel good today. Thank you for your generous support for the little ones in our community.”

“Providing our kids with quality learning opportunities in their first few years sets the stage for success throughout their lives,” said Mayor Chris Beutler. “It’s the first step in preparing them to be our future leaders.”

Eleven early childhood education providers have qualified to receive funding to provide tuition assistance to low-income families. Those providers are CEDARS, The Children’s Place, Community Action – Head Start, Educare Lincoln, Dimensions Education Programs at First-Plymouth, Fingerprints Child Development Center, Kids First Inc., KinderCare Learning Center, St. Mark’s Preschool/KIDZONE, Westminster Preschool and World of Knowledge Child Development Center.

All of these providers are Step 2 or higher on Nebraska’s Step Up to Quality rating scale and are currently serving at least one child from a low-income family. Additional providers may receive grants as soon as they meet the qualifications.

Seed funding was granted by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Buffett Early Childhood Fund. Lead gifts to the Lincoln Littles Early Learning Fund were made by Champions for Children: Harbor of Dreams, Helen Raikes in honor of Sen. Ron Raikes, Bob and Jan FitzSimmons, Jim and Penny Krieger Family Foundation, Mary and Matt Reckmeyer, Mae Whitmer, and the Susan and Jim Stuart Charitable Trust.

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