Thursday, May 30, is Give To Lincoln Day. This annual 24-hour display of community spirit benefits Lincoln nonprofits, many of whom we’ll join at downtown’s Tower Plaza from 10 am to 2 pm Thursday. When you give to Civic Nebraska, you help us earn a proportional share of the Lincoln Community Foundation’s $450,000 match fund. But more importantly, you help our democracy. Here are just five ways that we build democracy in Lincoln and Lancaster County:
1. We fight for voting rights at the statehouse and the polls.
Civic Nebraska actively protects our most sacred of democratic rights. Our Team Voting Rights works to expand pro-voter initiatives through litigation, education, and Legislative measures. We publish research, testify, and work with elected officials to organize opposition to defeat harmful bills. And we regularly deploy Election Protectors to observe elections across Lancaster County.
2. We build Lincoln's next generation of civic leaders.
Civic leadership is key to democracy, and it needs to start early. Children and teens who are exposed to service learning in school are more likely to be active in their communities and, eventually, to vote. Civic Nebraska empowers youth at our four local Community Learning Centers – Campbell and Randolph elementary schools, Lincoln High, Lincoln Northeast High – providing civic leadership and problem-solving skills.
3. We create resident-led change.
Civic Nebraska leads Collective Impact Lincoln, which creates lasting, meaningful, resident-led investment and positive progress in Lincoln’s core neighborhoods. Through canvassing, community events, organizing, and our regular Community Builder Workshops, we help neighbors examine their communities’ natural strengths and take up new ways to improve. Collective Impact Lincoln focuses on the Belmont, Clinton, Everett, Hartley, Near South, and University Place neighborhoods.
4. We provide a deep dive into our government.
Our Capitol Experience Days go beyond a simple statehouse tour for middle- and high-school students. “Cap Days” teach critical thinking, civil discourse, and the governing process through engagement with a state legislator, an executive branch official, and a Supreme Court justice. Participants then engage in a mock committee hearing to deliberate a piece of current legislation from different viewpoints. By the end of the day, participants earn a thorough understanding of state government and their role as citizens. We also offer “Cap Days” for New Americans.
5. We prevent the 'summer slide.'
Middle schoolers become stronger in mind, body, and citizenship at Civic U., our democracy-focused spin on the summer academy experience each July. Civic U. participants enjoy daily civic leadership opportunities, including meeting elected officials, plus career and college readiness programs and meaningful service learning projects. Civic U. is a transformative summer academy that empowers and activates young people to be the change they wish to see in their communities.
Your gift during Give To Lincoln Day goes directly to supporting these and other programs that benefit Lincoln kids, teens, neighbors, voters, and civic institutions. Click the link below to donate and to help us defend and sustain democracy from the ground up in the Star City. Thanks!