Strengthening the Community of the Future

Twenty-five years ago, no one could have imagined a world with Google, gene therapy or smartphones. Yet-to-beimagined realities like these were one reason Pat and Ellen Beans decided to establish an unrestricted endowment at the Lincoln Community Foundation.

“We are placing our trust that the needs of tomorrow will be identified, and that our funds will help support the effort to address them,” said Ellen.

This commitment to community runs deep in the Beans.

“My mom and dad were great role models,” said Ellen. “They were very giving of themselves.” Ellen is in her 38th year with Bryan Health, where she oversees volunteering, patient experience and customer care.

“Bryan is a great example of a caring community,” she said. “It’s been a great journey for me, because health care and volunteerism are ever-changing.”

Pat, finance manager of Amandla LLC, began volunteering while attending Doane University and credits their sons Beau and Winston with strengthening his commitment to the community.

“There’s a lot we couldn’t have experienced or done if we didn’t have our kids,” he said. As a Meals on Wheels volunteer, he’d sometimes take Winston with him to make the deliveries. Ellen said they often took the boys whenever and wherever they volunteered. Those outings proved to be eye-opening experiences for the family.

“Volunteering for a non-profit really changed our journey,” said Pat. “By volunteering, you can see the needs of our community.” By making such efforts a family event, the Beans have helped pass along their community spirit to their sons.

“We have a firm belief in volunteering and have tried to raise our sons with that belief,” said Ellen.

With passions that range from health care to the arts, the Beans were drawn to the open-ended possibilities that come with an unrestricted endowment.

“While I’m alive, I have the option to be passionate about a project or need,” said Ellen. “After we’re gone, I hope our funds will be used in a way that reflects others’ passions and needs.”

Pat sees great potential in the flexibility that comes with the unrestricted endowment. “The needs of the community will change, but the need will always be there. By not being limited to a specific area, each year, those funds can go towards different needs,” he said. “This allows the Lincoln Community Foundation to put the money where that year’s greatest needs are.”

Ellen sees another advantage to this type of giving. “With the unrestricted endowment, those needs can be addressed sooner because the funding is already in place,” she said.

Pat believes that Lincoln is a better place today because of the impact of a previous generation’s endowments. “Today, we see funds being distributed from someone’s endowment that was set up years ago,” he said. “By setting up our endowment now, we have the chance to strengthen the community in the future.”

Ellen considers the unrestricted endowment to be an extension of volunteering and hopes that people see the validity of doing both.

“We can either choose to observe or to participate. We have to make that choice while we are living,” she said. “The endowment gives me a sense of peace, a way of making sure that the good continues.”

The Beans may not know what the future holds for Lincoln, but they do know that they can help make sure the community’s needs will continue to be addressed.

“We truly believe in this community and have placed our trust in the Lincoln Community Foundation,” said Ellen.

To learn more about establishing an unrestricted endowment at the Lincoln Community Foundation, contact Paula Metcalf at 402-474-2345 or