Donor Profile

As Lead Gift donors, Milford and Lenora Hanna clearly understand the transformative power of charitable giving. For each of them, an important part of that understanding has been the chance to see the impact of people’s generosity firsthand.

For Milford, a key moment came during Kiwanis International’s first global service campaign to virtually eliminate iodine deficiency disorders (IDD). As the campaign’s fundraising chair for the Nebraska-Iowa District, he got a chance to observe UNICEF’s work in the South Asian country of Bhutan.

“After you’ve seen the life-saving impact of UNICEF’s work firsthand, it’s easy to give,” Milford says.

Milford and Lenora were major donors to the IDD campaign—but for Lenora, the first opportunity to see what gifts can do came in June 2010, during The Eliminate Project’s first donor field visit to the Philippines. Lenora can still vividly recall seeing two babies suffering from neonatal tetanus and speaking with a mother who had lost a child to the disease just two months before. Two years later, a new addition to Lenora’s family puts that tragedy in a new perspective.

“We have recently been blessed with our eighth grandchild, a baby girl,” Lenora says. “I can’t imagine what we would do if we didn’t have her.”

For the Hannas, family experience has been an influence. Lenora’s parents were farmers with limited means, but they always found a way to help those in need. Milford’s father was also a farmer—and his financial success, after starting with nothing, tended to make him more skeptical about charitable giving. Like his father, Milford had nothing to give in his early years; however, the experience of seeing people’s gifts in action opened his eyes to the power of giving.

“It’s a matter of priorities and having a clear understanding that you’re not taking your money with you in the end,” Milford says. “So you might as well do good with it while you’re here.”

In fact, Lead Gifts are helping to ensure that the birth of a child remains a joyous event for women around the world. In fact, the Hannas’ gift will save or protect more than 55,000 women and their future babies.

“It’s incredible to think that the number of lives we have saved or protected through our Lead Gift is double the size of the town I grew up in,” Lenora says. “If you look at your gift in terms of lives saved, the choice is simple.”

Photo (top): Milford and Lenora on their way to the City Health Office in Dumaguete City.

Photo (below): Lenora and a mother who had lost a son to tetanus.

Donor Profiles


Club: Lincoln-Northeast

Kiwanis position: Milford: Past Foundation Board member; Region Coordinator, The Eliminate Project; Lenora: Club Secretary (since 1999), NE-IA District Circle K Administrator; District Coordinator, The Eliminate Project

Length of membership: Milford: 37 years; Lenora: 19 years

Profession: Milford: Interim Head—Biological Systems Engineering and Acting Director— Industrial Agricultural Products Center, University of Nebraska; Rental property manager; Lenora: Rental property manager

Favorite pastime: Milford and Lenora both enjoy traveling in the U.S. and abroad. They also enjoy going to their lake house on weekends. Family is the most important thing in their lives, and they are fortunate to have all four of their children and eight grandchildren in Lincoln, Nebraska. All of their children, their daughter-in-law and son-in-law are Zeller Fellows. According to Lenora, “Kiwanis pretty much is our ’free’ time, and we enjoy it in a big way.”