Nestled in rolling hills just 20 minutes outside east Lincoln, Bennet is a community on the rise. From 2010 to 2019, the village’s population grew every year according to census estimates—from 219 in 2010 to 977 in 2019. The growth can be attributed to an influx of young families seeking small town connections while being near the amenities of a larger metro. That was the case for Julie Hippen and her family.
“Bennet was the best of both worlds for my husband and me, offering the perfect mix of rural and urban,” Hippen said. “My husband and I are both ‘farm kids,’ and living in a community with rural roots is important to us. We each have fond memories of our rural hometowns. We wanted to raise our children much the same way we were raised, teaching them the value of hard work and surrounding them with role models who exemplify a ‘salt of the earth, backbone of the community’ sense of service to others.”
They found what they were looking for in Bennet, where the community stretches beyond the village limits to include those living in the more rural areas around the town that encompass the District OR-1 school district, which was certainly a draw for the family who shares in the Panther pride.
“Bennet has many great attributes, and the best thing is the strong sense of community pride that flourishes here,” Hippen said. “Area residents give an all-out effort to develop and foster events and infrastructure that benefit the town now and keep it poised for the future. This cooperative spirit can be found everywhere from the town’s youth-driven disc golf course project at the park to the implementation of a socially distant celebration for the holidays. These common goals, energetic commitment, and investment in the future are something that all Bennet community members take pride in.”
Bennet is home to many organizations dedicated to community improvement, including the Bennet Area Community Foundation Fund, an NCF affiliated fund. The groups’ volunteers —including Hippen—have made significant impacts, including a splashpad opened in 2019 at the municipal park. Her son, John, has joined the fun. He and a friend have worked with BACFF to get a disc golf course added to a new park.
“The Bennet Community Foundation, affiliated with NCF, is a vital, ongoing commitment to invest in Bennet’s future,” Hippen said. “Through our philanthropy and service to the community, we seek to create a better life for us all. I am humbled to be a part of this rewarding work, and grateful that my children have been inspired to do the same.”
Hippen and her family never struggle to find something to do in Bennet. With their community-minded approach to life, they always find their way to impactful projects.
“Greater Nebraska has so many opportunities if you look for them,” Hippen said. “Being active in your community is very rewarding—both personally and community-wide. I am grateful to be a part of something for a greater cause that will have lasting impacts and leave a wonderful legacy.”