Goodfellows: Gratitude for this couple means sharing blessings -
Published Thursday, November 21, 2013 at 1:00 am / Updated at 7:47 pm
Goodfellows: Gratitude for this couple means sharing blessings
To our readers
Throughout the holiday season, we will highlight the big-hearted people who give to The World-Herald's Goodfellows charity in its annual holiday campaign. We're calling them “Goodfellows Angels.” If you know of a Goodfellows donor whom we should feature, email

In a Gretna neighborhood already glowing with Christmas lights, one front door wears a defiant Thanksgiving banner.

“It makes me crazy we blew by Halloween (to Christmas), and there isn't even a Thanksgiving thing to be seen,” said Connie Lowndes, who owns that front door. “It's a time to reflect on blessings of the past year and be thankful for friends and family. Our culture blows by that too fast.”

For Connie and her husband, Bill, gratitude means sharing their blessings, including annual donations to The World-Herald's Goodfellows charity.

Goodfellows offers one-time emergency aid and provides holiday meal certificates to needy people in the area.

“We love the fact that it's for our community,” said Connie, who volunteers with the Literacy Center in Omaha. “This isn't from far away or for unknown people. And all gifts seem to be gratefully accepted — from the fourth-grade class that collected change to Omaha's wealthiest philanthropist.”

The couple said giving back should inspire a chain reaction.

“Our philosophy on giving is that it needs to be an example to others, too,” Bill said. “It's putting a challenge out there.”

The most important challenge is to their children. When Ben, 26, and Emily, 23, were toddlers, Bill and Connie started donating to Goodfellows in their names each year. Now that Ben and Emily are adults, their Christmas gifts from their parents include donations to organizations they select, most recently Heifer International and spring-break service trips for students.

“They have to choose, it has to be legit, and they have to check it out,” Connie said. “We challenged them, 'Throw in more of your money now. This isn't just our gift, it's your gift.' ”

Bill and Connie, meanwhile, have continued to give to Goodfellows.

The couple said they are inspired by the White Envelope Project, an effort four siblings founded to encourage worldwide giving ( Giving is an opportunity “to put our money where our mouth is,” they said, and influence the next generation to value community.

“We've always felt that for us, it's important to give back, no matter how much or how often,” said Bill, a physician with Alegent/Creighton Health in Gretna. “Our job as parents is mentoring our kids that way, too.”

Contact the writer: Anna Gronewold    |  

Anna is a University of Nebraska-Lincoln fellow who writes for news.

It's a pursuit of pastel at Spring Lake Park's Easter egg hunt
Explosive device blows hole in windshield, damages another car
Financial picture improving for city-owned Mid-America Center
19-year-old arrested in connection with March shooting
No injuries after fire at midtown's old Mercer Mansion
17 senators in Nebraska Legislature hit their (term) limits
Keystone XL pipeline backers blast 'political expediency' as foes hail ruling to delay decision
29-year-old Omahan arrested for 22nd time in Lincoln
Nebraska senators to study tax issues over break
Portion of Saddle Creek Road closed after water main break
Teenager arrested after woman's purse is snatched outside Omaha store
Police identify 21-year-old shot in ankle near 30th, W Streets
Cult murderer's death row appeal denied, but execution in limbo
Beau McCoy strikes Obama doll in TV ad; Democrats are not happy
Police: Slaying of woman in Ralston apartment likely over drugs
Interstate construction to cause lane shifts, closings in Omaha area
Kelly: A California university president returns to her Nebraska roots on Ivy Day
Omahan charged in fatal shooting in Benson neighborhood
Friday's attendance dips at Millard West after bathroom threat
High school slam poets don't just recite verses, 'they leave their hearts beating on the stage'
Crack ring's leaders join others in prison as a result of Operation Purple Haze
Haze in area comes from Kansas, Oklahoma
Man taken into custody in domestic dispute
Omaha judge reprimanded for intervening in peer attorney's DUI case
Intoxicated man with pellet gun climbs billboard's scaffold; is arrested
< >
Kelly: A California university president returns to her Nebraska roots on Ivy Day
The main speaker at today's Ivy Day celebration at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is a college president who grew up roping calves and earned her Ph.D. at the prestigious Oxford University in England.
Breaking Brad: Stuck in a claw machine? You get no Easter candy
I know of one kid in Lincoln who will be receiving a lump of coal from the Easter Bunny, just as soon as he's extricated from that bowling alley claw machine.
Breaking Brad: Mountain lion season's over, but the bunny's fair game!
Thursday was the last day of a Nebraska Legislature session. Before leaving town, legislators passed a bill to hold a lottery to hunt the Easter Bunny.
Breaking Brad: At least my kid never got stuck inside a claw machine
We need a new rule in Lincoln. If your kid is discovered inside the claw machine at a bowling alley, you are forever barred from being nominated for "Mother of the Year."
Breaking Brad: How many MECA board members can we put in a luxury suite?
As a stunt at the Blue Man Group show, MECA board members are going to see how many people they can stuff into one luxury suite.
Deadline Deal thumbnail
The Jaipur in Rockbrook Village
Half Off Fine Indian Cuisine & Drinks! $15 for Dinner, or $7 for Lunch
Buy Now
< >
Omaha World-Herald Contests
Enter for a chance to win great prizes.
OWH Store: Buy photos, books and articles
Buy photos, books and articles
Travel Snaps Photo
Going on Vacation? Take the Omaha World-Herald with you and you could the next Travel Snaps winner.
Click here to donate to Goodfellows
The 2011 Goodfellows fund drive provided holiday meals to nearly 5,000 families and their children, and raised more than $500,000 to help families in crisis year round.
Want to get World-Herald stories sent directly to your home or work computer? Sign up for's News Alerts and you will receive e-mails with the day's top stories.
Can't find what you need? Click here for site map »