A Letter From Mike Lutzenkirchen
It is that time of year again. Only this time, it is different.
It is different in that we cannot meet in person or be together the way we enjoy being together in December or through Christmas and New Year holidays. It is different in that we are all still a bit nervous about how the near future will play out.
It is different in that our lives have been upended by the COVID-19 pandemic that has traversed the world.
But in many ways and for many reasons, I am thankful.
Your unwavering support and encouragement as you have stood by us, shown us loyalty and your friendship fuels our excitement about the future.
We focus our efforts to return your support by continuing to provide scholarships through our Prepared for Life (PFL), the School of Communication and Journalism at Auburn University “Philip Lutzenkirchen Excellence in Public Speaking Award” and the Town of Bluffton Scholarships. This year, we awarded sixteen $4,300 scholarships and three $1,000 scholarships to nineteen deserving students across Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina. To date, the foundation has awarded 53 scholarships totaling $222,700.
As the pandemic began in mid-March, we focused our efforts on reserving cash and controlling our expenses. I am excited to share that our financial position is stronger in December than when we encountered the pandemic.
While the Lutzie 43 Foundation’s mission is not focused on frontline workers, we seized the opportunity to leverage Giving Tuesday Now on May 5 by fundraising to provide frontline and essential workers with $43 gas cards. Through the generosity of our supporters, we raised over $8,000 and delivered 140 gas cards to frontline personnel in Auburn, Montgomery and Birmingham. The balance was used to cover foundation operational expenses.
Our 43 Key Seconds initiative will fuel our purpose and growth in 2021 as we deliver our talk, “Philip’s Legacy…what legacy are you leaving?” and share Philip’s passion to serve others while presenting the key elements that contributed to Philip losing his life. Education to take 43 Key Seconds to be distraction-free is a focused element of our talk, and putting keys in cars to serve as a physical reminder of safe driving is a critical part of our mission. Students (high school and college) and employers (employees, their spouses and driving-age children) benefit from our 43 Key Seconds initiative to promote safe driving as a deliberate focus before turning the vehicle’s ignition.
A gift of $4,300 funds one scholarship or one talk, with each student receiving our 43 Key Second key, countdown card and lanyard for a school with 550+ students (average high school enrollment in the US).
The foundation’s future is bright as we make progress each day in establishing our 43 Key Second key as a national symbol to be recognized as a visual tool not to drive distracted or impaired. Through the first half of 2020, nationally, we have reduced our miles driven by 17 percent, yet roadway fatalities have increased by 20 percent. Our nation’s goal is ZERO fatalities due to distracted and impaired driving. You can see we have a lot of work to do. I pray you will continue to support us or join us on this journey.