Rotary 14 and Habitat for Humanity help immigrant family of 7 | neighborhood supplement

BY RANDY BRETZ for Neighborhood Extra

An African woman and her six children will soon have a new home in Lincoln thanks to Rotary 14 and Habitat for Humanity of Lincoln.

Construction on Martha and her children’s home will begin soon, giving them a place to live that isn’t cramped and has a yard for the family to enjoy. Martha’s salary can only afford a two-bedroom apartment, but with the help of nearly $40,000 from Rotary 14, Habitat for Humanity will be able to build a three-bedroom home on land in Lincoln that she can afford to buy.

“We were overwhelmed with the support and donations we received during the event,” said Kate Holman, who along with Penny Johnston co-chaired “Rise.Shine.Give,” Rotary’s 14th annual fundraiser. “Sponsorships, silent auctions and a raffle raised over $86,000 during our event on Saturday, February 12. After a year off due to COVID-19, nearly 100 people gathered at the Nebraska Innovation Campus for the event. Jon Gayer, Mike Wortman, Karen Barrett, Joel Stoltenow and Mark Stephens were part of this year’s organizing team.

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“Each year, our club president appoints a nonprofit organization to receive half of the funds raised at our event,” said Christina Usher, 2021-22 president of the downtown club. “I wanted an organization focused on building community, an organization that helps provide affordable housing, so Habitat for Humanity was my recommendation to attend this year’s event.

“Each year we choose a theme that illustrates our areas of focus for that year,” Usher continued. “Our theme during my year as President has been ‘Building Community, Sharing Smiles.’ Place, filling Little Free Pantries, hosting a picnic for international students, and activities at Everett Elementary, among so many other things. And no matter where we are or what we’re doing, we always share smiles.

The “Rise.Shine.Give” event was started several years ago when then-president Mark Stephens asked club members Erin Dobesh and Brett Ebert to host a brunch. They devised a plan to seek corporate sponsorships, silent auction donations and a raffle for a special prize. The formula worked well, raising funds for community projects as well as the Rotary 14 Foundation.

In recent years, the event has provided funds to renovate the Everett Elementary School playground, support the South of Downtown project, help build a home in the Everett neighborhood, and provide a new system of HVAC for The Gathering Place.

Habitat for Humanity in Lincoln was founded in 1988 and since then the nonprofit has built, rehabilitated or repaired nearly 200 homes for families in need. Each house built involves the supervision of a professional construction company with the help of hundreds of volunteers. Many of the furnishings in these homes are from the organization’s ReStore, which will have a new location at 56th and Highway 2. Josh Hanshaw, the organization’s CEO, shared his excitement at the Rotary event.

“I was thrilled with the amount Rotary 14 raised,” Hanshaw said. “This will help us finance the construction of the new house for Martha and her family. In fact, they will buy the house, which helps them to be proud and encourages them to maintain it. »

Hanshaw spoke about family and involving children in their school and sports activities during his presentation at the event. He also said the six children, who are in elementary, middle and high school, want to embark on medical careers that will give them the opportunity to help others.

Rotary 14 is the oldest and largest service club in Nebraska. The nearly 300 members represent a cross section of Lincoln’s business, educational, and nonprofit organizations. The club’s foundation not only supports projects such as this for Habitat for Humanity, but has funded major playground renovations at Elliott and Everett Elementary School, installation and maintenance of facilities in several Lincoln parks, and is a major contributor to the Cascade fountain. renovation nearing completion at 27th and Capitol Parkway. The club meets Tuesdays at noon at the Embassy Suites Hotel. For more details, visit

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