Thanks to Dick & Betty Nelson – Tree Planters

Richard C. and Betty M. Nelson

The Community Foundation of Greater Lafayette completed a gift matching opportunity to support the 5th Quarter Summer Learning Program at Lafayette Urban Ministry, which was announced in the summer of 2022. Richard C. & Betty M. Nelson inspired this matching campaign through their generous offer to match gifts dollar-for-dollar up to $100,000, for a total impact of $200,000. In total, five new endowments were established by the below donors for the LUM 5th Quarter Summer Learning Program:

  • Richard C. & Betty M. Nelson
  • Dennis & Jeanne Gernhardt
  • Jim Leslie in honor of Diana Sue Leslie
  • Dennis & Sharon Schlott
  • Anne & Kumares Sinha

The LUM 5th Quarter Summer Learning Program is dedicated to closing the academic achievement gap for students who are struggling, and providing summer enrichment for students who are doing well for ages pre-kindergarten through 6th grade. The Nelsons said of the accomplishment, 

Blessed are they who plant trees under whose shade they will never sit (Indian proverb that dates to the 1860s). This states succinctly the reason for our gift for the LUM 5th Quarter through the Community Foundation. In different ways we, as children, were the beneficiaries of tree planters in our communities in Massachusetts and West Virginia – it was time for us to find Lafayette arborists who would join this effort to create shade for the next generation. And we did, and we are grateful to all!”

LUM executive director, Wes Tillet said, 

“I am overjoyed about the visionary generosity of Dick & Betty Nelson and all those inspired to give due to their generosity. This endowment is uplifting for multiple groups of people. It uplifts the children who participate in the LUM 5th Quarter Summer Learning Program. It uplifts the families who benefit from the costs of 5th Quarter remaining low. It uplifts all of the LUM staff and board, as we embrace such generosity as a vote of confidence in the work we are doing. It uplifts future children, families, LUM staff and board members who will continue to receive this generosity long after we are gone.”

The Community Foundation of Greater Lafayette, established in 1970, serves the Tippecanoe County area. Its mission is to inspire, nurture, and practice philanthropy, stewardship, and leadership in the communities served.

Lafayette Urban Ministry is an organization of more than 45 churches that serves as a social safety net for individuals, children and families in Tippecanoe County. For 50 years, LUM has worked to give back the hope, the future, and the self-respect to our neighbors in need. LUM takes an active role in trying to change social injustices and improve the quality of life for the individuals, children and families in our community.

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