SIGNATURE PROJECT 2020

The Downtown Lincoln Rotary Club #14 was founded in 1910 as the fourteenth Rotary club in the world. The club’s started a foundation in 1997 to make annual grants to qualifying organizations on a yearly basis and to support a major “Signature Project” approximately every ten years. Rotary #14 celebrated its centennial in 2010 by awarding a $100,000 Signature Project grant to design and build the street side entrance to Elliott School. The grant inspired other giving and helped fulfill the more than $600,000 cost of the overall project. 

The 2020 Signature Project grant celebrates the 110th anniversary of the organization. On Friday, August 7, 2020, at 9:30 a.m. Downtown Lincoln Rotary Club #14—Lincoln’s oldest and largest service club—presented Lincoln Parks Foundation with a $200,000 check to help renovate the Bicentennial Cascade Fountain, also known as the “Teachers’ Fountain.”

In honor of Rotary #14’s 110th Anniversary, club members selected the Cascade Fountain as the featured Signature Project. The $200,000 donation is a combination of funds from Rotary #14 and its foundation counterpart. Located at the corner of 27th Street and Capital Parkway across from the Sunken Gardens, the Cascade Fountain was built in 1978 as a result of a collaboration between the Lincoln-Area Teachers Association (known today as Lincoln Area Retired School Personnel) and Lincoln Parks and Recreation to commemorate Nebraska’s Bicentennial.
 
After 42 years, the Cascade Fountain is experiencing significant wear and is in need of refurbishment. The estimated cost to complete the project is $1.6 million. The Cascade Fountain’s refurbishment will include several critical enhancements, as well as a plaza redesign. The newly envisioned plaza will feature donor bricks that honor current and retired Nebraska teachers.
 
Rotary #14’s Eric Drumheller, club president, shared, “During these unprecedented times, teachers have stepped up to the challenge to bring classwork online and assist students adjusting to this new normal. As the upcoming school year nears, Rotary #14 wants to thank educators both past and present for their significant accomplishments and helping inspire the leaders of the future.”
 
Community members joined Rotary #14 alongside local officials for this celebration and donation check presentation. During the event, club members recounted memories of teachers who made a difference in their lives. “It’s a great way to culminate a successful Rotary year and campaign,” added Mailani Veney, Rotary #14’s immediate past-president. Nearby areas surrounding the Cascade Fountain have been previous service projects for the club, including the Rotary walking park, Sunken Gardens’ gazebo, and Antelope Park water fountain.