Fund a Need by Gary Reber

Donors want to make a difference. When generosity positively affects people, it warms the heart.

“It’s one of the most enjoyable projects I’ve been a part of in my nearly 30 years of teaching. The donors’ generous contributions have let loose a happy, creative storm at East High!”

What led Jane Holt, East High School librarian, to say that was a phone call I received from a dear donor who read about Jane’s project in the newspaper. It was a cool project Jane was doing to convert an old-timey candy machine into a dispensary for art, supplies, and tchotchkes. “She should create a Fund-a-Need,” the donor suggested.

Message received!

A short time later Jane posted a campaign through our Fund a Need platform at the Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools and our donor quickly funded the entire thing. But not before many other donors joined in – such is the beauty of crowdfunding.

Fund a Need is a perfect vehicle to connect innovative ideas with donors’ passions.

Teachers and other LPS employees can create a Fund a Need campaign for a field trip, classroom technology, musical instruments – you name it. One of my favorites was a campaign to purchase a bearded dragon for a Saratoga Elementary classroom. The campaign was fully funded and it is not uncommon to walk by the classroom and see the lizard perched on a student’s shoulder in the reading corner of the classroom.

Our newly improved Fund a Need platform (shout out to Nelnet and FoundationGIVE!) puts more control in the hands of the teachers and staff creating the campaigns. The results have been good so far. Since the launch in October 2017:

  • There have been 344 gifts from 267 different donors
  • That means that more than 28 percent of donors are giving again!
  • The most active campaign this calendar year has been another Jane Holt project: Free little libraries.

While Jane has been dispensing materials through her Make-O-Matic machine, she has also started a new project. Her East High Little Free Library campaign was fully funded to help students build and stock the libraries, research the most effective locations, and promote the project. It has also become much more – in the process, East High has created a partnership with Everett Elementary School and its students.

"Educators are always encouraged to dream big, but, often, it takes financial and community support to make those dreams come to fruition,” Jane said. “I've had the joy of dreaming big and seeing those dreams take flight, thanks to two generous Foundation for LPS Fund a Need campaigns for the East High library. Those campaigns and that support made all the difference."

There are many loyal Fund a Need donors who watch for interesting projects, or campaigns from specific schools or teachers but campaigns continue to go unfunded – like a 3D printer, support for students with hearing loss, or musical instruments at a school with many high-need students. Please take a look at Fund a Need and pick a project to support. The results are amazing.

 

Gary Reber

Development Officer