Nebraska State Treasurer Don Stenberg today launched Nebraska NEST Birthday Babies, a year-long sweepstakes open to parents and guardians of Nebraska newborns in recognition of the state’s 150th birthday celebration, which began Jan. 1.
Stenberg said a parent or guardian of a Nebraska newborn will be chosen at random to receive a $529 contribution to a Nebraska Educational Savings Trust (NEST) account for the newborn each month of 2017. In all, 12 winners will be selected at random from entries submitted to the sweepstakes. The winners will be announced throughout the year.
Nebraska NEST Birthday Babies has been approved by the Nebraska 150 Celebration as an Official Program of the Nebraska Sesquicentennial. The sweepstakes is sponsored by NEST, Nebraska’s state-sponsored 529 college savings program. NEST is a division of the State Treasurer’s Office. First National Bank of Omaha is program manager.
Stenberg, who is Trustee of NEST, announced Nebraska NEST Birthday Babies at a news conference at CHI Health Good Samaritan in Kearney. Also speaking at the event in the Family Birth Center was Michael Schnieders, president of Good Samaritan.
“At NEST, we want to be part of the excitement surrounding Nebraska’s 150th birthday celebration. For us, the best way to celebrate is to look to the future and to help young families start saving for their children’s higher education needs through our excellent NEST college savings program,” said Stenberg. “We are looking forward to meeting our newest Nebraskans and their families and sharing our commitment to helping young families save for their future educational goals, just as we have done for the past 16 years.”
Stenberg said, “Nebraska’s Sesquicentennial is an opportunity for all Nebraskans to celebrate the accomplishments of Nebraska’s proud past 150 years and to look to the future with a bold vision for our families, our institutions, and our state. Babies born in 2017 will graduate from high school in 2035, better prepared than ever to meet demands and challenges we can only imagine. We at NEST wish them all the very best.”
Regan Anson, executive director of the Nebraska 150 Commission, said Nebraska NEST Birthday Babies “fits perfectly with our mission, and we are excited to add it to our celebration.” She said she is thrilled to partner with the Nebraska State Treasurer’s Office and NEST for this historic occasion.
Stenberg noted that, for the first time, Nebraska’s population exceeded 1.9 million residents in 2016, ranking 17th among states and exceeding the growth rate in neighboring states Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Wyoming. Based on current growth and projections, Nebraska could top 2 million by 2025, when this year’s newborns are in elementary school.
“Good Samaritan has been proudly welcoming new Nebraskans into the world for 92 years,” said Schnieders. “We’re honored to join in our state’s 150th birthday celebration by helping to launch the NEST Birthday Babies sweepstakes.”
A parent or guardian may enter the Nebraska NEST Birthday Babies sweepstakes by filling out a form at www.NEST529.com/NewbornDrawing. Entries also may be sent by mail on a 3-by-5-inch card and No. 10 business envelope to First National Bank of Omaha, Attn: Nebraska NEST Birthday Babies Sweepstakes, 1620 Dodge St., Stop 1105, Omaha, NE 68197. One entry per child is allowed.
The entry must provide contact information for the parent or guardian, including first and last name, street address, city, zip code, phone number, and email address. The entry also must include the child’s first and last name and date of birth and the words, Nebraska NEST Birthday Babies Sweepstakes. Entries are accepted between Jan. 6, 2017, and Jan. 10, 2018, for babies born in calendar year 2017. To allow time for babies born in late December to be entered, the final drawing will take place in early 2018.
To qualify for the sweepstakes, the baby may be born in Nebraska or outside Nebraska, but must be a Nebraska resident. Babies born in 2017 before the beginning entry date of Jan. 6 are eligible to be entered.
NEST is a tax-advantaged 529 college savings plan and provides four plans to help make saving for college simple and affordable: NEST Direct College Savings Plan, the NEST Advisor College Savings Plan, the TD Ameritrade 529 College Savings Plan, and the State Farm College Savings Plan. The Nebraska State Treasurer serves as Program Trustee. First National Bank of Omaha serves as Program Manager, and all investments are approved by the Nebraska Investment Council. Families nationwide are saving for college using Nebraska’s 529 College Savings Plans, which have more than 261,000 accounts, including 84,000 in Nebraska. Visit NEST529.com and treasurer.nebraska.gov for more information.
About First National Bank of Omaha
First National Bank of Omaha is a subsidiary of First National of Nebraska. First National of Nebraska and its affiliates have more than $21 billion in assets and 5,000 employee associates. Primary banking offices are located in Nebraska, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, South Dakota and Texas.
About CHI Health Good Samaritan
Established by the Sisters of Saint Francis in 1924, CHI Health Good Samaritan is a 287-bed regional referral center in Kearney, NE. A member of Catholic Health Initiatives, Good Samaritan provides specialty care to more than 350,000 residents of central Nebraska and northern Kansas. Good Samaritan boasts Nebraska’s first accredited Chest Pain Center, a Level II trauma center featuring AirCare emergency helicopter transport, advanced orthopedic care, comprehensive neurosurgery and a nationally accredited cancer center among its many unique tertiary care services. In the spirit of its founders, Good Samaritan serves not only as a medical facility, but also as a community partner. Good Samaritan is called by its core values of reverence, integrity, compassion and excellence to devote funding and resources to programs and services that benefit the health of the greater community.