Independence Academy receives $530,000 donation

Students in the Lincoln Public Schools program the Independence Academy will never know Pat Campbell but they’ll know her legacy of generosity for years to come.


The retired LPS elementary school teacher passed away in January 2020 and left $530,000 in her will to benefit young adults with special needs. Through the Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools, that money will go toward the renovation of one of the sites of the Independence Academy, whose mission is to prepare students with disabilities, primarily ages 18 to 21, to gain the skills and connections they need to facilitate a positive transition into adult living.


“The LPS Special Education Department is extremely thankful and cannot wait to see all the opportunities for students that come from the renovation,” said LPS Director of Special Education Jenny Fundus.


The funds will allow for major updates to what’s known as “the duplex,” a small house in the Capitol Beach neighborhood where Independence Academy students learn tasks such as doing laundry, cooking and cleaning.


LPS will add classrooms, update appliances, expand bathroom space and add a sensory area for autistic students. The additional space will allow it to accommodate twice as many students - from 10 to 20. LPS also will set aside some of the funds for upkeep and future furniture renovations.


Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools President Wendy Van DeLaCastro said Campbell had a “zest for life” and loved to sing and dance. She also had a special place in her heart for students with disabilities.


“Pat was a saver and a great protector of her legacy,” she said. “She wanted to make sure the money that her family had accumulated over generations was used to make a difference for students.”

Published: March 19, 2021, Updated: March 19, 2021