Lincoln Financial’s three-year initiative seeks to celebrate communities and families, as well as the inspiring vision of the president for which it was named.
President Abraham Lincoln left our country a tremendous legacy of freedom, opportunity, and equality—ideals Lincoln Financial celebrates on an ongoing basis. However, through 2015, a special three-year initiative called Lincoln’s Legacy may help the organization make these ideals more personally significant to the people and communities it serves.
The initiative comprises a series of events and experiences, which began in 2013 to mark the 150th anniversary of the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation, and will culminate in 2015 with the 150th anniversary of the adoption of the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution.
“We knew we were approaching a period of great historical significance,” said Nancy Rogers, senior vice president of Corporate Responsibility and president of the Lincoln Financial Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Lincoln Financial Group. “As an organization, we saw an incredible opportunity to publicly recognize the inspirational legacy of our namesake, to educate children and adults on the historical relevance of his work, and to underscore the continued importance of freedom and opportunity to America’s future.
“In 1905, our founders wanted a name that spoke to the integrity with which we intended to operate as a company. Abraham Lincoln embodied that for them. They asked Robert Todd Lincoln—the president’s only surviving son—for permission to use his father’s name and image. We take that association and our obligation as his namesake seriously.”
And that they do. According to Allison Green, senior vice president and chief diversity officer for Lincoln Financial Group, their values-driven environment is a draw for candidates and customers alike. “We do use words like integrity, opportunity, freedom, and equality. And today, as we mark the progress that’s been made over the past 150 years, we thought it was especially important to celebrate these values externally, because we celebrate them internally every day. They are woven into the very fabric of our organization.
“Both Lincoln’s Legacy and our Diversity and Inclusion strategy, revolve around our purpose and our work.”
Celebrating the Past
The Lincoln’s Legacy initiative was launched in July 2013, with the unveiling of a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation at the opening reception of the 2013 National Urban League Conference at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.
Proclamation, which served as the precursor to the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution effectively outlawing slavery in our country, paved the way for freedom, opportunity, and equality—values that form the cornerstone of the American experience.
The copy of the Proclamation to which Lincoln Financial has access is known as the Leland-Boker Authorized Edition. It’s part of the Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection, which the company owned until donating it to theIndiana State Museum and Historic Sitesin 2008. Only 25 of the original 48 printed copies of this edition signed by President Lincoln remain in existence today.
Celebrating Our Future
Lincoln’s Legacy is also dedicated to recognizing the contributions of each generation. Its Oral Histories project gives families and communities the opportunity to commemorate and pay homage to their family experiences through storytelling. Selected oral histories will be featured in the Lincoln’s Legacy oral history anthology at lincolnslegacyoralhistories.com.
“We’re trying to gather as many of these oral histories as we can, so that children can see themselves reflected in the stories,” said Green. “The opportunity to sit down with a child and talk about things that are important to you, what you hope for them, and your advice to them, is very exciting. We’ve really been gratified that nearly everyone we’ve spoken with about this initiative has been receptive—and excited to participate.”
While participants in the project come from every walk of life, some capture on film a piece of history we might have otherwise lost. For example, among those who have already shared their oral histories are civil rights leaders Julian Bond and Dr. Franklin McCain (Dr. Franklin died earlier this year). Green explained, “Through our diversity engagement in the community, we have been able to involve many notables in this project. Each has been enthusiastic about creating a piece that they can share with their own children, as well as their communities.”
The ultimate goal is to create an anthology that can serve as an educational supplement for use in classrooms across the country. “If we’re going to impact this next generation—if they are going to be able to achieve their hopes and dreams—we want them to hear how important the legacy of freedom, opportunity, and equality is to their families and community,” Green said.
Celebrating Educational Opportunity
The Lincoln’s Legacy Award recognizes nonprofit organizations whose education mission embodies and perpetuates the 16th president’s legacy of freedom, opportunity, and equality. One $50,000 Legacy Award is being presented during each year of the initiative.
Last year’s inaugural winner was Brigade Boys & Girls Club of Wilmington, North Carolina. The Club was recognized for its holistic approach, continued mentoring, grade-progress tracking, and family involvement in student success.
Applications for this year’s award are being accepted through June 6, 2014, with the winner chosen by the Lincoln Financial’s social community on Facebook.
“Our company has a rich history of supporting education in the community,” said Rogers. “From a practical standpoint, research tells us that educational attainment helps raise earning potential and helps create secure financial futures. We continually support, and specifically target, those organizations that help children obtain that high school diploma and get ready for college.
“Through the Lincoln’s Legacy Awards, we can recognize organizations whose mission, vision, and programs create the level of educational access and opportunity that our namesake envisioned for this nation.”
“The Lincoln’s Legacy Awards have been a great source of pride for Lincoln Financial employees and advisors,” said Green. “We hear again and again how important our people believe it is to be personally involved in the communities we serve. There are many opportunities to do that here; it’s always been part of the culture. It is why the Lincoln’s Legacy initiative has resonated so well.”
About Lincoln Financial Group
Lincoln Financial Group is the marketing name for Lincoln National Corporation (NYSE:LNC) and its affiliates. Headquartered in the Philadelphia area, the companies of Lincoln Financial Group had assets under management of $209 billion as of March 31, 2014. Through its affiliated companies, Lincoln Financial Group offers the following: annuities; life, group life, disability, and dental insurance; employer-sponsored retirement plans; savings plans; and comprehensive financial planning and advisory services. For more information, including a copy of our most recent SEC reports containing our balance sheets, please visit www.LincolnFinancial.com.