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Richard Holland Honored

Citizen of the Year

 

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He built one of Omaha’s most successful advertising agencies. And, in his retirement, he has made a substantial impact on the arts, health care, human service and education through his philanthropy. On March 29th, United Way recognized Richard Holland with its Citizen of the Year award, with more than 350 guests in attendance.

 


 

Holland and his late wife, Mary, have given their both their personal time and financial support to a variety of organizations including the United Way’s Tocqueville Society, University of Nebraska Medical Center and UNO, the Nature Conservancy and Child Saving Institute. Their love of the arts translated into gifts for Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha Symphony, Opera Omaha and ultimately, the lead gift for the Holland Performing Arts Center.

Richard Holland’s most recent project is perhaps the most encompassing; Holland is a founding member and chairman of Building Bright Futures, a unique effort to improve the academic success and future opportunities for children who live in poverty in the Omaha metro area.

“The Hollands have always said that their philanthropy is nothing more than giving back in partial repayment for those who supported and educated them,” said Bob Bates who received the “Citizens” award with his wife Judy in 2009.

“When someone impacts our community the way Dick has, our community feels very strongly about saying ‘thanks.’”

-Bob Bates

The presentation included a brief video with personal comments by Warren and Susie Buffett, Walter Scott, Mike Yanney and John Cavanaugh.

United Way bestowed several other awards at the Monday event. BlueCross BlueShield of Nebraska (BCBSNE) received the Community Service Award. CEO Steve Martin accepted the honor; he has served United Way as board chair, executive committee member, and as campaign co-chair. BCBSNE is a long-time supporter of United Way’s annual fundraising drive and “Day of Caring” volunteer projects. Its other community service efforts include support of the Lions Foundation’s Mobile Health Screening Units, sponsorship of Nebraska’s Well Workplace program in Central and Western Nebraska, and founding support of Activate Omaha.

For its long-time pro-bono legal assistance, the law firm of Lamson, Dugan and Murray LLP received special recognition for its dedicated service to United Way and the community-at-large. Two Lamson partners, Will Johnson and Carr Heaney, Jr. have served on the boards of United Way and the UWM Foundation for a number of years. Two organizations received Chair’s Partnership Awards. Legal Aid of Nebraska (LAN) is one of the key partners at the International Center of the Heartland, a United Way community impact initiative. LAN offers refugees, asylees and immigrants assistance on the path to citizenship; it recently expanded its hours of service at the center, with the goal of helping newcomers fully understand their civic and legal responsibilities. Executive Director David Pantos accepted the award on behalf of Legal Aid.

Two Men and a Truck also was honored for its partnership on a number of local projects. The Omaha-Lincoln franchise has donated transportation and countless boxes for donated food and personal products that were collected by United Way’s adult and teen volunteers. The company also helped the local Medical Reserve Corps move its emergency response supplies to a local warehouse for safekeeping. Owner Eileen Marrison and general manager Craig Kirchman accepted the award.

After several months of follow-up, United Way’s 2009 fundraising drive has concluded. A total of $21,110,512 was raised in contributions from companies, foundations, labor unions and other organizations, and approximately 80,000 individual donors. The goal set for the drive was $21 million-plus.

Loretta Carroll served as emcee of the annual meeting and awards luncheon; Pastor Greg Berger of Messiah Lutheran Church in Ralston delivered the invocation. The event was held at the Scott Conference Center in Omaha.

United Way of the Midlands celebrates 87 years of service in 2010 by mobilizing the caring power of people who live and work in Douglas, Sarpy and Pottawattamie counties.

-end- metroMAGAZINE

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