History of the Paint-A-Thon

Paint-A-Thon is like an old fashion “Barn Raising”, it is people helping people in the best spirit of giving to others. The phrase “many hands make light work” applies to this project. Historically, Paint-A- Thon has been going on in this country since neighbors worked together for a common cause. Officially, the first organized Paint-A-Thon started in Denver, Colorado in 1979 through the help of Brother’s Development Corporation. That program continues to this day. The second longest running program was started in the Twin Cities as a Chore Program run through the Minneapolis Council of Churches.

BRUSH UP NEBRASKA Paint-A-Thon was started in 1989 by Norwest Bank, U S West, ConAgra, and Diamond Vogel Paints. A total of 50 homes were painted in September of 1989, mostly through teams from the sponsoring corporations. In 1990 Union Pacific Railroad, ENRON Northern Natural Gas and Northern Border Partners and Mutual of Omaha joined as partners and added many new teams. Total number of homes painted in 1990 was 120. In 1991 First Data Resources, Barnhart Press, Lozier Corp, Lincoln Financial Group and Rigel Corporation (KFC and Krispy Kreme Donuts), joined as partners and the total number of homes swelled to 137. Convergys was added as a sponsor in the year 2000, Tenaska and the Gary and Mary West Foundation were both added in 2009. The Gavilon Group, U.S. Bank and Pay Pal were added in 2012; Dunkin Donuts joined in 2014 as a contributor along with strong support from TD Ameritrade.

We are currently looking for new “House Sponsors”, especially in Council Bluffs, who will either form a team or financially partner with a community team.

From 1992 the number of teams has stabilized to between 80-85 each year. In 1992 several programs were formed in different cities as Affiliates of BRUSH UP NEBRASKA Paint-A-Thon, Inc. non-profit corporation. Programs began in Lincoln, Grand Island, Marshalltown, Iowa, and Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Each program has its own Corporate Sponsors, budget, and general program structure. However, each program also ran under guidelines established by the BRUSH UP NEBRASKA Board. Marshalltown, Sioux Falls, Lincoln, and Sioux City now run their own program and are no longer affiliates.

Executive Directors of the programs are Tom & Sheila Pettigrew who started the program in 1989, and continue as executive directors to this day. BRUSH UP NEBRASKA Paint-A-Thon has helped launch 13 programs in Iowa, one in Montana, one in Wyoming, and several small programs in communities throughout Nebraska. These programs have no affiliation with the corporation and were simply mentored by Tom and Sheila.

By the year 2016, our 28th year of operation, the Omaha Project reached a new milestone in homes by painted totaling 2,794 homes of elderly and disabled homeowners in the Omaha Metro Area.