Today Nebraskans mourn the loss of Richard Holland, a man whose life was dedicated to the betterment of life for every person and his community as a whole.
Throughout his life, Mr. Holland’s philanthropy and efforts worked consistently to bring a significant and positive influence to Omaha and communities throughout the state of Nebraska. Richard Holland’s generosity and philanthropic efforts to improve all lives are seen in a plethora of ways, all of which will undoubtedly have a lasting impact for years and years to come. Whether providing sustainable funding for major projects benefiting Omaha such as the Holland Performing Arts Center, a beacon of fine arts and culture in the city, being a major supporter toward the advancement of medical research through the Mary and Dick Holland Regenerative Medicine Program at UNMC, or as a lead supporter in the passage of the state initiative to raise the minimum wage in Nebraska, Mr. Holland believed in making his home and state a better place for everyone.
Mr. Holland’s activity in the political arena came as an avenue to advocate and champion the best life for all Nebraskans, especially for children and those living in poverty. He believed that every family and child, especially the most vulnerable in our community, should have access to high quality health care, child care, and education programs. In his tireless efforts to improve the quality of life for all children, Holland founded the Holland Children’s Movement and the Holland Children’s Institute, which work to ensure that the well-being and success of each child is at the center of our state’s policy making.
“He cared about the lives of all people and to him everyone mattered,” said Andy Holland, daughter of Richard Holland. “He wasn’t born rich and he never forgot what it was like to have to struggle and work hard.” Andy currently serves as the Nebraska Democratic Party Finance Chair.
Mr. Holland also advocated for working families and was a top supporter of Nebraskans for Better Wages, the successful effort to increase the minimum wage in Nebraska. Holland passionately supported the fundamental belief of the movement—that working 40 hours a week should be enough to afford basic necessities for one’s family. As a result, tens of thousands of working Nebraskans received a raise in pay due to the committed effort of Mr. Holland to ensure the success of the 2014 ballot initiative.
In his endless and lifelong fight for social justice and fair policies, Mr. Holland was a tireless supporter of many key democratic political figures whose mutual values were rooted in fairness and providing a better life for everyone they served. In an interview with the Journal Star Mr. Holland stated, “I’m a liberal Democrat. I made a decision to do more to try to help elect Democrats. The Republican majority in the Legislature and the governor continually ignore serious problems.”
“The Nebraska Democratic Party is at a great loss with the passing of Richard Holland, who was truly a representative and advocate for the democratic values our party holds dear. We send our love and prayers to the entire Holland family during this difficult time,” said NDP Chair, Vince Powers. “Mr. Holland’s generosity, compassion, and tireless dedication to social justice, advocacy for others and the democratic party as a whole, will continue to live on, improving the quality of life for families and children across Nebraska for years to come,” said Powers.
Many influential Democratic elected officials in Nebraska received continuous support from Holland throughout their careers in public service including former Rep. John Cavanaugh, Mayor Chris Beutler, former Mayor Mike Fahey, Rep. Brad Ashford, as well as former Governors and U.S. Senators James Exon, Bob Kerrey, and Ben Nelson. Mr. Holland believed in not only a stronger Nebraska, but also a stronger nation, and actively supported Democratic Presidential candidates such as President Bill Clinton and President Obama, and was also a major supporter of the Democratic National Committee. In addition, this year he remained active in his national campaign support as a significant contributor to 2016 Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton.