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Prosper Lincoln's four leaders wake up every day focused on making progress on their goals to Lift Lincoln Higher. The backgrounds of each leader serve them well to achieve the community agenda priorities by year 2020: to nurture every child on the path to success; to provide opportunities for people to realize career aspirations; and to create a vibrant culture of innovation.


As Prosper Lincoln's Early Childhood Developer, Michelle Suarez is a life-long educator whose career has been spent serving our most vulnerable children and families. Suarez retired as a 19-year Lincoln Public Schools elementary principal (Calvert and Everett). Before becoming an administrator, she taught preschool-age children, kindergarten, first grade and sixth grades over 15 years in three school districts. Throughout her public school career, Suarez specialized in parent engagement and community partnership to support strong schools. She earned her bachelor's degree in elementary education and her master's degree in educational administration from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Suarez and her husband, John, are the proud parents of two daughters who are both elementary school teachers. 


Connecting people with part-time jobs to full-time careers has become a passion for Bryan Seck. Prior to joining Prosper Lincoln as the Employment Skills Developer, he was the Homeless Outreach Specialist for Lincoln Public Schools where he helped 500 homeless students each year. Before relocating to Lincoln, Seck was a program evaluator/auditor of federal public health programs as a Senior Associate for ICF International in New York City, and also served in the Peace Corps in Kazakhstan. Seck holds a master's degree in Public Administration from the Wagner School at New York University. He is married, has two dogs, and tries to grow vegetables.


After a 30-year career in a nationally-recognized advertising firm, Rich Claussen is now spurring innovation and entrepreneurship as Prosper Lincoln's Innovation Ambassador. As a Partner, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Bailey Lauerman, Claussen was recognized as the Marketer of the Year by the American Marketing Association's Lincoln Chapter (AMA), Advertising Man of the Year and Silver Medal recipient by the Advertising Federation of Lincoln, served three years on the AMA's National Professional Chapters Council and in 2013 was inducted into the AMA Hall of Fame. A 1982 graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a bachelor's degree in Broadcast Journalism and Telecommunications, Claussen and his wife, Ginna, are the proud parents of two sons - Richard and Bruce.

Quotes From Our Supporters

Prosper Lincoln is one of the most exciting community engagement and community-building efforts happening in the country.  It’s a real model!

Dan Cramer, Co-founder, Grassroots Solutions, St. Paul, MN

Prosper Lincoln will not only benefit all of your kids and your community; it is also a model for similar efforts around the country, thanks to the leadership of LCF.

Richard Ober, President & CEO, New Hampshire Charitable Foundation; Founder Community Foundation Opportunity Network; Concord, NH

Communities across the US are searching for innovative initiatives to improve economic opportunity and mobility.  We can all learn from the amazing work of Prosper Lincoln!

Brian Collier, Executive Vice President, Foundation for the Carolinas

Prosper Lincoln is breaking new ground in economic revitalization without displacement.

Ellen Shepard, CEO, Allies, Chicago, IL

To see an entire community come together to ensure all Lincoln residents are successful is very inspirational.  Congratulations!

Nancy Van Milligen, President/CEO, Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque, Dubuque, IA

In my regional and national work in community development this is one of the most unique and exciting strategies for true change I have seen!

Del Gines, Senior Community Development Advisor, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City Omaha, NE

Bringing together a multi-sector group of committed Lincoln residents will support prosperity for all.  Congratulations on this excellent collaboration.

Holly C. Sampson, President, Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation, Duluth, MN

Diverse voices from across Lincoln came together so that current and future generations can thrive. This is no small feat, and it’s inspiring to see that collective vision inch closer to fruition. You can consider yourselves a model for other communities starting to embark on this work.

Megan Powers, International Program Officer, The McKnight Foundation Minneapolis, MN

There is no better example of the power of convening than Prosper Lincoln! Bringing together members of the community from all walks of life to enrich the City is inspiring.

Regine Webster, Vice President Center for Disaster Philanthropy, Washington, DC

Prosper Lincoln is creating a national model for building vibrant, equitable and resilient communities.  Systems thinking + the right resources!

Sandy Wiggins, Chair, Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) Washington, DC

Prosper Lincoln is an important approach to solving community problems. By bringing together local businesses, nonprofits, neighborhoods, government and faith organizations, they are bridging divides, building connections, and sparking opportunities in way that shows true community engagement.

Vikki Spruill, President and CEO, Council on Foundations

This is one of the most impressive community focus efforts I have seen. You are making considerable progress!

Cynthia Hardin Milligan, Trustee and former Chair of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Battle Creek, MI

Lincoln is one of a few cities across America where citizens and leaders from across different sectors have come together to tackle their community’s most complex challenges. Your ability to already show results and persevere is inspiring.

Ben Hecht, President and CEO of Living Cities, Washington, DC

Solving tough national problems like the opportunity gap begins locally, and Prosper Lincoln is leading the way.

Robert D. Putnam, Professor of Public Policy and author, Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

There is nothing more powerful in securing a community’s long-term health than evolving a shared vision through community engagement. Congratulations!

Rip Rapson, President, The Kresge Foundation, Detroit, MI