A grand effort to support higher education

While all full-time Lifespace team members are eligible for tuition reimbursement from the company for educational opportunities, residents often rise to the occasion to support part-time team members through The Lifespace Foundation. There’s no better example of that generosity than at Grand Lodge at the Preserve, where quick action was taken in 2018 to ensure team member scholarships would be funded for years to come.

“We planned to award six scholarships, and when our residents realized there wasn’t enough money in our fund to pay out those scholarships, they sprang into action and raised nearly $60,000 in about six weeks,” said Lisa Henning, executive director of Grand Lodge.

“Our residents on the Scholarship Committee made pledges as a way of showing other residents their level of commitment to this fund, and it was really inspiring to see so many residents working together to make sure the money was there,” Henning said.

In addition, the Lifespace home office Foundation Advisory Committee was exceptionally impressed with the community’s commitment and contributed an extra $1,000 from the home office team member giving fund, adding to the good news.

For sustainability of scholarship funds, and to increase their impact in 2019 and beyond, award amounts have been doubled from previous years, now providing up to $2,000 per recipient, but not to exceed 20% of the total available dollars in a community’s scholarship fund. These procedural changes ensure the fund will continue to be available each year for those who apply and qualify.

Henning said the bond between residents and team members drives the scholarship effort, and the connection the community shares with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) also plays a role.

“We have a lot of residents who are former faculty members at UNL,” she said. “There’s a great level of passion for education and the importance of pursuing higher learning, and I think that translates into the commitment we’ve seen with regard to scholarships.”

Grand Lodge resident Irv Omtvedt, who’s been involved with The Foundation Advisory Committee for several years, said it’s the most popular way to support part-time team members.

“It’s extremely important to support the pursuit of higher education, and our resident population understands that,” he said. “It’s very rewarding to have graduates stop back in to say thanks for the money we were able to donate to their future.”

Thanks to their efforts, the fund is positioned to continue the scholarship program for several years, and Henning says she has no doubt the residents will continue their generosity for many decades to come.