2016-2017 Citizens of the Year
The amount of support we receive from a multitude of generous donors and engaged volunteers, it is with extreme difficulty to choose an individual or a couple for special recognition. There are so many caring and committed community members.
Thankfully with the advice and counsel from the previous Citizens of the Year recipients, United Way of the Midlands is proud to name a special couple for this year’s recognition: Bruce and Gerry Lauritzen
They live very active civic lives in Nebraska and are prominent philanthropists in the metro area, state and region. With generations of family history in the Omaha area, Bruce and the Davis-Lauritzen family were a central part in redeveloping Omaha’s business district. Following the family business, Bruce became president of First National Bank of Omaha in 1987. He is now the chairman of the bank’s holding company, First National of Nebraska and the parent company, Lauritzen Corporation. Bruce was named the Omaha World-Herald’s “2015 Midlander of the Year” for his role in downtown’s rebirth, for contributing to the success of one of the nation’s largest family-owned banks and for his leadership as head of the family dedicated to Omaha since the city’s founding. Under Bruce’s leadership, First National Bank has consistently been one of the top performing campaigns for UWM. Bruce and Gerry married in August 2011. Continuing advancements in the metro area, they enhanced what is now the Lauritzen Gardens, a center of community activity and tourism. Bruce’s civic involvement includes serving for more than four decades on the Clarkson Hospital and Nebraska Medical Center boards. Gerry has served as Chairman on the Nebraska Environmental Trust and is Co-founder of Fontenelle Forest Trustees. She also serves on the Omaha Community Playhouse board, Filmstreams board and is involved in many other community activities. In March of 2017 she was awarded the Boy Scouts of America Citizen of the Year. Bruce and Gerry were recently awarded the Edward F. Owen award for their long time support of the Playhouse. In 2016 Nebraska Medicine named its new Outpatient facility Lauritzen Outpatient Center.