Online Community Conversations
During this period of quarantine related isolation, Leadership Lincoln is helping people stay connected in a variety of ways. Each Friday at noon, community leaders will be featured in an online presentation/discussion about what’s happening in their part of the community, what challenges they’re facing and how people can get involved. The online sessions will be hosted on Leadership Lincoln’s Zoom platform. The link to each event will be shared on Facebook and www.leadershiplincoln.org.
“Two things prompted us to offer this series of community conversations,” noted Interim Executive Director Brendan Evans. “First, a key ingredient of Lincoln’s success has been the active involvement of our citizens in making this such a great community. And, second, we know that people are social creatures, and that during this time of quarantine isolation, they’re looking for ways to connect and interact.”
The first event, scheduled to begin at noon on Friday April 10, will feature Morrie Enders, Executive Director of the Lincoln Community Playhouse. We’ve asked him to talk about how the quarantine has impacted the Playhouse and share how people in the community can help. The Playhouse was in the midst of rehearsals for The Penguin Project and other on-stage productions when the quarantine was announced. The shutdown will have a significant impact on the organization.
On Friday April 17, Leadership Lincoln’s Community Conversations will hear from Suzanne Sughroue, Director of Development for the Madonna Hospital Foundation. Among other topics, she’ll discuss the impact of the quarantine on the operations of the Madonna Hospital and how the Madonna Foundation is responding.
Liz Ring Carlson, Second Vice President of Corporation Communications and Community Relations at Ameritas Life Insurance Company in Lincoln will be our guest on Friday, April 24. Even before government requirements to reduce or eliminate large gatherings including corporate work places, Ameritas switched one of its corporate operations to remote employee home offices.
Leadership Lincoln was among the first in Lincoln to jump online with its programs. “We’ve been amazed at how our participants have adapted to our new online format,” noted Leadership Lincoln Program Director Laura Uridil. “Of course our youth took the lead and were at ease with the transition. And, we were amazed at the willingness of our adult participants to connect and interact online as we spent nearly a full day together in late March.”
“We’re beginning to accept applications for our 36th year,” noted Evans. “While we’ve made the transition to online programs during the quarantine period, we fully expect our programs to be in person when they begin in August and September.” Details about the organization’s four cohorts as well as applications can be found at www.leadershiplincoln.org
Leadership Lincoln is celebrating its 35th year of helping people in Lincoln engage with the community, connect with one another and learn how they can serve in a variety of ways. Among the more than 3,500 graduates are leaders of our city, county and state, heads of corporations and educational institutions and leaders of nearly every nonprofit in the community. The organization was among the earliest to transition to online events and programs once the Corona Virus situation began to grow across the United States. Their current classes and programs are now all online including graduation ceremonies for the three adult and one youth program.
For immediate release April 9, 2020
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Even as folks were quarantined because of the spread of the Covid 19 virus, a broad cross section of folks in Lincoln connected online Wednesday April 8 to discuss the City’s developing plan to help alleviate the affordable housing shortage. Leadership Lincoln hosted the event as part of its Hot Topics series. The gathering included City officials, City Council representatives, neighborhood association representatives, business leaders and the directors of some of Lincoln’s nonprofit organizations.
“I was impressed with the great discussion during the event,” noted Dan Marvin, Director of Urban Development and point person for developing the plan. “Not only did we have a good size group, they were engaged and gave us some good suggestions.”
Nearly 100 connected to the Zoom webinar hosted by Leadership Lincoln and another 200+ watched the Facebook live video for the hour-long forum. “We typically conduct these events in person,” noted Brendan Evans, interim Executive Director. “However, once the Mayor halted large gatherings, we decided to host the event online. I’m thrilled with the number of people we reached, it’s two to three times our normal audience.” A video of the entire program is available on the Leadership Lincoln website www.leadershiplincoln.org and YouTube channel. https://youtu.be/3xnRNoCxylM
Panelist's on the seminar included Dan Marvin and Wynn Hjermstad from the City of Lincoln, Shawn Ryba, Executive Director of the South Downtown Lincoln Project, and Matt Kirkland of Realty Works which owns and manages more than 800 rental properties across the city of Lincoln.
Laura Uridil, Leadership Lincoln Program Director noted, "With the move to online we checked with our panel to make sure they were on board with keeping the discussion flexible and responsive to questions and concerns with the developing new realities. Their answer was absolutely.”
The program included some presentations and comments from the panel members outlining the challenge and the city’s plan under current review. Marvin noted that as Lincoln continues to grow, the challenge will only increase. Over the next twenty years he pointed out, as the population grows there will be a need for an estimated 17,000 units. And within that growth roughly one third will need to be affordable to purchase or rent. Hjermstad noted that it will not be feasible to build that many rental units, so the city is seeking to encourage the conversion of some single-family homes to multiple rental units.
Ryba pointed out that his organization is working with the city and NeighborWorks Lincoln to help increase home ownership in the South of Downtown area. And, they are working to help develop leadership within neighborhoods to help residents maintain quality housing choices.
Kirkland noted, in his remarks, that at the present time, there are very few rental units in the $500 per month range, a cost identified by studies as well within the affordable range. And, he noted, those more affordable rentals are typically single bedroom or efficiency apartments which make them undesirable for families with children.
There was discussion of the ‘Missing Middle’ Unicameral bill put forth by Lincoln Senator Matt Hansen. The bill seeks to encourage cities and towns in Nebraska to help provide housing for two, three and four families in addition to single homes and large apartments.
"Following the presentations by our four guest speakers, we broke up the participants into discussion groups each with a specific topic," said Lily Sughroue, program coordinator for Leadership Lincoln. "Each group then reported back after about ten minutes to share the highlights of their discussion." The discussion topics included developing strategic partnerships, ways of sharing risk, preserving existing affordable housing units and ensuring policy and code enforcement. Responses to those questions can be viewed on the video.
"In times of change there are also opportunities to learn and grow. Moving our Hot Topics panel discussion online gave us an opportunity to broaden the conversation with local property owners and renter advocates participating online," continued Evans. "As noted by the panel, there isn't just one person or group that can solve this problem, we have to work together to improve affordable housing in Lincoln. We are all in this together," Evans concluded.
Leadership Lincoln is the largest program of its type in Nebraska and nearby states. Each year, more than 150 enrollees take part in one of three adult and a high school youth program. The organization just completed its 35th year and boasts more than 3,500 alumni, many of whom are helping Lincoln grow and move into the future by serving in elected office, on boards and commissions and as heads of companies and nonprofit organizations.
Congratulations to Leadership Lincoln Alumni
Leadership Lincoln has started its 35th year of developing strong leaders for a stronger Lincoln with the largest number of participants in the organization’s four cohorts. Leadership Lincoln is the largest leadership program in Nebraska and one of the largest in the nation. Participants come from many of Lincoln’s leading companies and organizations, and all high schools in Lancaster County.