Helping students envision a better future for themselves
Two retired Lincoln Public Schools educators are giving back to their old schools and former students.
Neil and JoAnne Bateman taught middle school at Culler and Mickle middle schools for decades. They recently created a
fund at the Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools to benefit students in need at both schools as well as the LPS Student
“We planned on this gift for a long time,” Neil said. Their first gift to the Foundation was nearly 30 years ago – a $10
monthly recurring gift.
“The whole idea of having a Foundation for LPS was important to us (when we first started giving),” JoAnne said. “It seemed like a good way to support the profession we work in and the District we work in, sent our kids to, and our grandchildren
JoAnne taught at Mickle for 33 years – Neil at Culler for 26 years. Working there, they learned firsthand about the struggles many students and families endure. Both schools serve student populations with high poverty rates.
“There is some disparity between schools – there was when we were teaching, too,” Neil said. “And the Foundation can
help fill that gap. There are a lot of needs in education that are above and beyond the budget. The District has always
worked to provide equity for schools and students, and Lincoln does a wonderful job of taking care of kids’ needs in and out of the classroom.”
Donor gifts to the Foundation help provide equity across the District. The Batemans’ recent gift is an endowed fund that, in perpetuity, will provide support to Culler and Mickle to help students there envision a better future for themselves.
Additionally, students in the LPS Student Parent Program will benefit from this fund to encourage them to further their
education and assist with childcare and other necessities. The Batemans donated shares of Microsoft stock to the
Foundation to create the fund.
As children of parents who live through the Great Depression and WWII, the Batemans saw the value of giving modeled for them at a young age through their families and friends. This value is woven into their work and lives. “We are so grateful for a community that values the school district we have and maintains the caliber of education for the kids in our community,” JoAnne said.
Mickle Principal Gene Thompson said the school is thrilled to have a source of ongoing support for students.
“The contributions the Batemans have made as educators have forever touched the lives of many students,” Thompson
said. “We are proud and honored to be associated with the values Mr. and Mrs. Bateman have established through their
many years of educational service.”
The couple recently visited Culler Middle School to share the good news with Principal Michaela Hahn and other teachers. They ran into former colleagues, as well as former students who are now Culler teachers.
“Going to Culler and seeing the teachers who will benefit from this gift made it seem more real,” JoAnne said. “And it was so good to see so many young teachers who are just as excited about what they are doing and as dedicated to their
students as we always were. To see this will help them is so gratifying.”
To learn more about creating your own legacy gift, contact Gary Reber at the Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools at
firstname.lastname@example.org or 402-436-1612.