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Annual Report: Fielding Dreams, One Gift at a Time

Derrel Martin grew up in Southwest Nebraska, and though he didn’t consider himself a star athlete, he played every sport his school offered—all three. “Playing football, basketball, and running track all instilled the concept of ‘teamwork,’ and winning and losing together became hugely important,” says Derrel. 

It shouldn’t be surprising that most people who have participated in a team sport recognize its value. Derrel Martin and his late wife, JoAnn, understood the importance of athletic facilities for the students in Lincoln. Because of their help and a generous gift from U-Stop (Chris & Mark Whitehead) to the Fielding Dreams Campaign, Lincoln now has exceptional tennis courts at Lincoln Standing Bear High School - the JoAnn & Derrel Martin Courts at U-Stop Tennis Complex.

"This is all about enriching the experience all kids can have while their in school."

“Providing a quality facility is truly important and not because it’s nicer to play on a good court, but because it represents what Lincoln has to offer,” said Derrel. “A big part of growing is having the chance to participate in a team event and utilizing the facilities around the city.”

Derrel was driven to donate to the Fielding Dreams Campaign to provide opportunities for kids who wanted to be involved in extracurricular activities. “I’m excited for the chance for this to be a year-round facility and not just for schools, and I hope that it fosters involvement from others. This sponsorship worked for us.”

One in three Lincoln Public Schools high schoolers will join one or more team sports each year, and thousands more will cheer them on. These activities go beyond trophies and cheers. They’re the launchpad for success, where confidence, resilience, and teamwork are forged. But, Lincoln students need more space to participate in the activities they love.

The Fielding Dreams Campaign, a project for the whole city, is helping fund the improvements and expansions Lincoln facilities need to accommodate all kids and draw other Nebraska families to Lincoln.

Derrel recognizes that not all individuals have an athletic background or passion, but he doesn’t think that should limit supporting this campaign. “A gift, no matter the size, is still impactful. This is all about enriching the experience all kids can have while they’re in school. Kids need to have the opportunity to develop their unique talents and skills, and it’s up to us to ensure they have the option to have a well-rounded education.” 

While classrooms offer an enriching educational environment, Derrel emphasizes that growth extends beyond the school walls. “Young people can face challenges when it comes to making good decisions. The more opportunities the community can provide, the better.” 

Derrel is excited about the future of this campaign and recognizes the benefits it will have on the Lincoln community. “Not everyone can make a large gift, but many people can afford to make a small donation, and when many do that, it can create a huge difference.” 

The 2020 LPS bond provided a crucial $15.4 million investment toward phase one of construction for two new athletic facilities located on the Lincoln Northwest and Lincoln Standing Bear campuses. The Fielding Dreams Campaign has a goal to take these facilities to championship-level, by adding new fields, training centers, grandstands, lights, and more to the existing facilities. The next phase will be raising money to build the buildings. To learn more about the Fielding Dreams Campaign, please visit


The Numbers

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  • Focus & Specialty Programs Served


  • Students Empowered


  • Teachers & Staff Supported


  • Funds Received This Year


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