Lindsay Gillott and Jeff Beck didn’t spend hours inspecting china patterns or picking out coordinated dish towels after getting engaged.
Instead of registering for gifts for their July 11 wedding, they asked friends and family members to help them establish a scholarship fund for Omaha Public Schools graduates.
“The idea of registering freaked us out,” Jeff said.
Once things were in place for the scholarship, said Lindsay, “we were more excited about the scholarship than the wedding. Not the marriage, just the wedding.”
The couple had lived in their own apartments for five years and had more than enough dish towels, furniture and pots and pans. So they decided to do something for someone else.
Their 175 guests came through. They received four or five gifts and more than $3,000 in contributions to the fund. Luanne Nelson, executive director of the Omaha Schools Foundation, said donations still are coming in.
Lindsay, 26, has worked as a paraprofessional at Liberty Elementary in downtown Omaha for four years while working on a teaching degree at Creighton University. Jeff, 27, is an accountant for Saddle Creek Records. Both were raised in Omaha, they went to her high school prom together, and they dated off and on through college. Then it clicked.
They agree that giving someone an education is the most important gift they can give.
On their Web site, they put it simply: “We’ve been blessed with the love of our family and friends, and we already have so much while some have so little. Now we want to give back to the community.”
The couple plan to seek matching, tax-deductible donations from local businesses and foundations. The couple will make a contribution of their own at the end of the year and ask for contributions rather than holiday gifts into the future.
Jeff volunteered a lot while attending at Creighton Prep. Lindsay did some as a Marian High School student, and she hopes their children will someday do the same.
Once they’ve raised $50,000 to endow the scholarship, the couple will interview scholarship candidates. All candidates must be first-generation college-bound students from low-income families. An essay will be required. The couple hope to choose one recipient per year and make the scholarships renewable as long as the student maintains a 3.0 grade point average while attending college full time.
When the first Gillott/Beck scholarship is awarded, contributors will get a note, Lindsay said.
“We might be inspired eventually to come up with a better name” for the scholarship, Jeff said. Maybe by the time they tell their kids about the importance of volunteering and giving.
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