United Way Foundation Receives Large Gift

May 5, 2009  //  United Way

Jim Abel, Chairman and CEO of NEBCO, Inc, announced a $2.1 million gift to the United Way of Lincoln and Lancaster County Foundation, Inc. The gift is being funded by Universal Surety Company, owned by the Abel family and the Thomas A. Tallman family. Tom serves as President of Universal. The gift coincides with the 100-year anniversary of NEBCO, Inc., founded by George P. Abel, Sr., the grandfather of Jim Abel and Tom Tallman. Several local non-profit agencies will benefit from the gift, including both operational and capital grants.

“In celebration of doing business in this community over the past century, our family is committed to doing what we can in helping fellow Lincoln citizens. We hope this gift will give the human service agencies substantial assistance,” said Abel.

Before his death in 1937, George P. Abel, Sr. wrote out six “rules of guidance” for his children, one advocating doing “social or charity work.”

Jim Abel served as Campaign Chair of United Way of Lincoln and Lancaster County in 1990 and Board Chair in 1992. “I am a long-time supporter of United Way and have always had great confidence in the United Way system of determining what agencies and programs can best serve priority community needs in the most effective manner.”

The United Way of Lincoln and Lancaster County Foundation, Inc. was established in 2005 to support the mission of United Way. It is governed by an 11-member board, currently chaired by Steve Schmidt of the Community Bank of Lincoln. According to the foundation’s by-laws, a majority of its board are also regular United Way board members.

“We are honored that Jim Abel, Tom Tallman and their families would choose the United Way Foundation as a recipient of this very generous gift, and we are proud to play a part in celebrating the 100-year anniversary of NEBCO. They have been a leader in supporting United Way and other community agencies over the years and providing a model for other companies to follow,” Schmidt said.

“The agencies targeted to benefit from the Universal gift include some with strong ties to the family, however, the vast majority of the donation reflects our intent to align this gift with United Way’s priorities” said Abel.

United Way funds agency programs addressing two major areas: “Investing in Lincoln’s future: our children” and “Assisting those in Crisis.” The goal is to ensure that Lincoln’s children have the educational and emotional support they need to get a good start in life and become productive citizens. United Way partner agencies also address hunger, homelessness, and domestic violence.

Potential recipients of the gift were required to submit a proposal outlining how the new funds would move their agency to a higher level of service and also how the service will be sustained after the grant runs out. Abel hopes this contribution will encourage other donors to step forward and help fellow Lincolnites in a similar way.

“NEBCO has traditionally run a very strong United Way drive, as well as contributed corporately, so it was a natural fit for us to partner with United Way,” Abel said. We sincerely hope that other donors will follow suit and try to make a substantial difference to those in need in our great community, and feel United Way is the best way to accomplish this.”

The following agencies and initiatives will benefit from the gift:
  • ARC of Lincoln and Lancaster County
  • CenterPointe
  • Community Learning Centers
  • Cornhusker Council Boy Scouts
  • El Centro de las Americas
  • Fresh Start
  • Friendship Home
  • Homestead Girl Scouts
  • Junior Achievement
  • Lincoln Children’s Museum
  • Lincoln Children’s Zoo
  • Lincoln/Lancaster County Child Advocacy Center
  • Lincoln Literacy Council
  • Madonna
  • Matt Talbot Kitchen and Outreach
  • People’s City Mission
  • St. Monica’s Home
  • Salvation Army
  • Stronger/Safer Neighborhoods
  • Voices of Hope
  • United Way of Lincoln/Lancaster County and YWCA

Robin Mahoney
Sr. Director – Fund Distribution/Community Planning
United Way of Lincoln and Lancaster County
402-441-6070 (work)
402-580-5568 (cell)