Lincoln, Neb. (September 7, 2011) - State Treasurer Don Stenberg delivered a check for $9,136 today to the Nebraska Community Blood Bank for unclaimed property that had been turned over to the state. The unclaimed property was shares of stocks and dividends.
What’s more, he gave a personal gift, as well. He became a blood donor, rolling up his sleeves to donate his blood to the Nebraska Community Blood Bank.
Candy Thomazin, chief financial officer of the Nebraska Community Blood Bank, thanked the treasurer for the check, which was thousands of dollars more than expected, and for being a blood donor. “We are appreciative of the Treasurer’s Office being so diligent about finding these funds for us.”
“Happy day,” said Phyllis Ericson, chief executive officer of the Nebraska Community Blood Bank. “We will pass it on and let it multiply.”
The money will go toward the Nebraska Community Blood Bank Scholarship Program, which provides scholarship funds to high schools that meet their designated goals in blood drives held at the schools. In the 2010-11 school year, the Blood Bank gave $24,000 in scholarship funds to 20 area high schools. Since 2007, about 200 scholarships, ranging in size from $170 to $4,000, have been awarded through the program. The schools choose how to award the scholarship funds.
Joyce Halvorsen, communications director for the Nebraska Community Blood Bank, said the scholarship program has grown, and the Blood Bank is constantly looking for sources of funding for the program. “This was a nice surprise. This is a great boost for our scholarship program,” she said about the treasurer’s check. “We will put this to good use. This is wonderful.”
Halvorsen said the process for filing for the unclaimed property was easy and quick.
Treasurer Stenberg said giving blood was also quick and easy. “I am happy to have become a blood donor and to be able to help others in this very simple way,” he said.
“I am also pleased that the money returned to the Nebraska Community Blood Bank by our Unclaimed Property Division will go toward the education of our young people,” Treasurer Stenberg said. “Supporting educational opportunities for young people and encouraging families to begin saving early for college are part of the mission of the State Treasurer’s Office.” The office serves as trustee of the Nebraska Educational Savings Plan Trust, which offers four plans for parents, grandparents, and other family members to save for their children’s and grandchildren’s college expenses.
High school students age 17 and older make excellent blood donors, Halvorsen said. They are healthy and seldom take medications. They are active and athletic, and they rebound quickly. They also are interested in community service and volunteerism, she said, noting that more than 2,600 high school and college students donated blood for the first time in 2010 at Nebraska Community Blood Bank drives and that 66 percent of first-time donors come from high school and college blood drives.
While teens may think they can’t have much of an impact at their young age, “I always tell them that at age 17, they could save a life” by being a blood donor, Halvorsen said. The minimum age to donate blood is 17.
The Nebraska Community Blood Bank, which was founded in 1968 by the Lancaster County Medical Society, collects about 50,000 units of blood a year, serving well over 100,000 patients a year in hospitals in six counties – Lancaster, Seward, Saline, York, Jefferson, and Polk. Halvorsen also noted that the Blood Bank truly serves the state because one out of every two patients in Lincoln hospitals comes from greater Nebraska
The Nebraska Community Blood Bank operates out of four fixed sites in Lincoln and has a mobile team that conducts 300 blood drives at 140 locations each year. The Blood Bank’s first school blood drive of the 2011-12 year is Thursday, September 8, at Norris High School.
The Unclaimed Property Division of the State Treasurer’s Office works diligently to reunite Nebraskans with assets they didn’t know they were missing. The Unclaimed Property Division holds about $100 million in assets for an estimated 350,000 Nebraskans and former Nebraskans. Those assets include commissions, court deposits, dividends, dormant accounts, escrow returns, gift certificates, gold and silver coins, insurance payments, lost IRAs, matured CDs, money orders, payroll wages, rebates, refunds, royalties, safe deposit boxes, stock and mutual funds, and utility deposits. Unclaimed property does not include land, real estate, vehicles, or tax refunds.