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Give to Lincoln Day will look different this year with 'need greater than ever'
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Give to Lincoln Day will look different this year with 'need greater than ever'

Give to Lincoln Day logo - blue box

Lincoln’s Give to Lincoln Day on Thursday will look a little different this year.

But the intent of the ninth annual event will be the same: a 24-hour push encouraging everyone in Lincoln to make a donation toward the organizations critical to the support of the city and its residents.

Because of social-distancing restrictions intended to slow the spread of the coronavirus, there will not be a festival in downtown Lincoln’s Tower Square.

But to celebrate from home, the Lincoln Community Foundation will launch a “Chalk Your Walk” social media campaign.

The campaign will encourage Lincoln residents to spread the word about Give to Lincoln Day with colorful sidewalk chalk in their neighborhoods and to post designs to social media using the hashtag #GiveToLincoln.

The day has traditionally been a showcase for the generosity of the city’s residents. The first year, nearly 5,500 people donated $1.3 million to 185 charities and the pool of matching funds was $200,000.

Last year, Give to Lincoln Day netted $5,581,856, exceeding the previous year’s record. The day has, cumulatively, raised more than $26 million.

Give to Lincoln Day soars past record

Lincoln Community Foundation officials didn’t know what to expect this year, given the economic impact of the pandemic, but since online and in-person giving opened May 1 it appears to be trending upward, said Jenny Chapin, the foundation’s vice president for marketing.

“I feel that Lincoln is going to come together Thursday,” she said. “The need is now greater than ever. It seems like people are digging a little deeper.”

The tone is different this year, she said, not the typical push to beat the previous year’s total, especially since many nonprofits were unable to hold traditional fundraisers.

“This year, it’s about coming together for nonprofits, not beating a record,” Chapin said. “We’re kind of seeing this as a really critical time for them to get some revenue coming through their doors and hopefully keeping their doors open."

Local View: Giving matters more now than ever

Although people have been able to give since the beginning of the month, the official Give to Lincoln Day will open at midnight Wednesday and run through 11:59 p.m. Thursday.

Donors may search for nonprofits and give online at The minimum donation is $10 per charity. Donations will be charged to a credit card.

In-person donations will be accepted until the end of the business day Thursday at West Gate Bank’s Lincoln locations via the drive-thru windows. 

A look at charitable giving after the tax law changes

This year, the match fund offered by the Lincoln Community Foundation and sponsors has been increased to a record $500,000. Each participating organization will receive a proportional share of the matching funds based upon its percentage of total dollars raised.

Another record this year: the number of nonprofit organizations participating has grown to 448, including 39 for the first time.

How to get help in Lincoln during the pandemic


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On Twitter @LJSreist

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Education reporter

Margaret Reist is a Lincoln native, the mom of three high school graduates now navigating college and an education junkie who covers students, teachers and policymakers inside and outside the K-12 classroom.

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