2017 Inspire Woman of the Year Barbara Bartle has been serving as the president of the Lincoln Community Foundation for ten years. Over those years, the Lincoln Community Foundation’s mission has been to directly impact the nonprofit organizations that help the city of Lincoln be the vibrant and thriving place that it is today.

With the needs of the community being greater than ever, the Lincoln Community Foundation joined forces to collaborate with other community foundations to create the COVID-19 Response Fund (https://www.lcf.org/covid19). The original goal was to create a fund of $500,000 to help local nonprofits continue to support the community. Barbara was thrilled when her original strategic partners contributed to reach the goal, but was blown away when additional generous supporters pitched in bringing the total to over $984,000 to help local nonprofits.

The COVID-19 Response Fund is a ongoing fund that is continuing to help the organization on a weekly basis. The 14 member committee chaired by Bryan Seck and Meagan Liesveld meets every Friday and provides money to nonprofits that are directly helping those that serve the economically vulnerable. So far they have distributed $517,000 in funds to 42 organizations. Organizations that are interested in applying for funds should do so at https://lcf.academicworks.com/opportunities/830.

May 1 also launches the return of the successful Give to Lincoln Day. 2020 marks the 9th year of this successful giving campaign. Bartle remembers when Give to Lincoln Day was introduced nine years ago. The country was trying to emerge from a recession, and nonprofits were hungry for funds in order for them to operate and serve their communities. Give to Lincoln Day was developed as a way for the community to support either specific nonprofits or the entire community and have those funds matched by generous supporters as a way to maximize the impact of giving at a time when these organizations needed it the most. The first year, over 1.2 million dollars were raised to help area nonprofits. Last year, it was $5.6 million. Interestingly enough, things have come full circle with nonprofits needing more help once again from the community due to our current health crisis.

The Covid-19 Relief Fund will be one of the featured nonprofits during Give to Lincoln Day. In total, there will be 440 nonprofits listed on the Give to Lincoln Day website. And with the generosity of the Lincoln Community Foundation and their sponsors, this year there is a record high match of $500,000. Donations will be taken from now until the official Give to Lincoln Day on May 28. Gifts can also be mailed by May 23 to the Lincoln Community Foundation to qualify for the matching funds. Westgate Bank will also be accepting gifts at their branch locations.

Bartel has always known that Lincoln is a wonderful and generous community. She credits the idea of neighbors taking care of neighbors as the reason Give to Lincoln Day continues to grow. She knows that Lincoln realizes how important that nonprofits are helping those who are most vulnerable and deepening our spirits with arts and culture.

“The greatest thing we can do is share our light,” Bartel wants fellow Inspire winners, nominees and honorees to know. “That’s what makes us such a great city. I appreciate everyone shining their light.”