By Mary Jo Pankoke, President
Here in the office at Nebraska Children, we’ve been asking our staff and supporters why we should ask others to fund our work over the many other worthy causes out there. We all have our own reasons, but few of us could explain those succinctly. The reasons, for many of us, are tied to our beliefs and personal experiences. In other words, it’s complicated. But eventually, someone stated the case in one, simple statement that all of us could agree upon:
Children matter most.
Our donors, partners, staff and board members are very community-focused and give to many causes, all of which make our communities great places to live. But when asked why they prioritize children in their philanthropic giving, here is what they said:
- Our most pressing (and expensive) social problems – chronic unemployment, drug use, crime, violence and poverty – can be mitigated and avoided if we give every child the opportunity to thrive.
- 85% of brain development happens within the first three years of a child’s life. How many future interventions can we avoid by helping vulnerable parents do a great job from the start?
- Nebraska’s economic future depends entirely on the workforce we produce now. Nurturing the curiosity, love of learning, persistence and work-ethic of our students is crucial to the kinds of workers and entrepreneurs we’ll have in the next generation.
- We can help reverse the current mental health crisis by training parents and caregivers to create experiences and environments that optimize social and emotional development.
- Most of all, they’re children. They can’t look out for themselves. They need you to make sure they have the opportunities to build a great life, great communities and a great future for our state.
When children thrive, they care for others. They seek solutions. They create art and music. They treat animals kindly. They grow up to support local music, discover new medical innovations and raise money for the community garden.
They become great parents, caregivers, friends, coworkers and citizens.
Children matter most because when they reach their full potential as adults, they’ll help us solve the greatest challenges facing our communities. And they will bring new ideas we never even considered. Invest in children. Great things will follow.
That’s how we see it at Nebraska Children. Do you agree? If you do, please make a gift through Omaha Gives on May 21. And consider scheduling a donation through Give to Lincoln Day. All donations will be matched in part by the Lincoln Community Foundation.