Friday, April 4, 2014

Elks Community Builder of the Week

Manitowoc, Wis., Lodge No. 687

Elks shopped 'til they dropped for eight families living in Manitowoc, Wisconsin! Using an Elks National Foundation Gratitude Grant, Manitowoc, Wis., Lodge No. 687 partnered with the Salvation Army to purchase and distribute supplies to local families in need.

Elks provided clothes, toys, tools, kitchen utensils and toiletries for 13 adults and 26 children.

“We served families that otherwise would not have had these items,” says Community Investments Program Project Manager Anne Brogan. “It’s our third year of partnering with the Salvation Army and—thanks to the Gratitude Grant—we have increased our giving from three to eight families.”

Manitowoc was able to apply for the Gratitude Grant after meeting the National President’s per-member-giving goal in 2013-14. Did your Lodge meet the per-capita goal? Then you are eligible to apply for a CIP Gratitude Grant! Don’t miss the opportunity to serve your community with this $2,000 grant. Gratitude Grant applications are due online by May 31. Click here for more information, including access to the online application.

The Elks National Foundation helps Lodges serve their communities by offering $2,000 Gratitude Grants. Lodges are eligible to apply for Gratitude Grants after meeting the National President’s per-member goal for giving to the Foundation. To find out more about Gratitude Grants and the Community Investments Program, visit www.elks.org/enf/community.  

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Joining In

By 2013 Most Valuable Student scholar and Elks Scholar Advisory Board member Nate Baker 


Nate Baker, 2013 MVS scholar sponsored by Tyrone, Pa., Lodge No. 212, is the freshman representative on the Elks Scholar Advisory Board and new to college life. Throughout his first year of college, we’ll be following Nate through monthly blog posts. Check back each month to see what new adventures Nate encounters during this first year at Cornell!

About halfway through January, I was confronted with a decision that would shape my next three and a half years in college. This decision answered a few key questions about my future:  Who was I going to live with?  Where would I live? Who are my best friends going to be? And, most importantly, which fraternity am I going to join? The period referred to as “rush week” was over—my body ached from skiing, paintballing, and walking. Dinners, activities, parties, and about five too many “speed dating” events had decimated my stamina and made my choice extremely difficult.

Three houses extended bids, or invitations to join, to me after all the recruitment was over. I sat in my room contemplating who I would choose. Who had the best house? Who had the best location? Who had the best events? Who has the best GPA? Who has the best sorority relations? As I stared at the three pieces of paper with my name on them, I became more and more confused. Ultimately, the choice came down to one essential question: Who did I like the best? It was then that my stress was lifted and I knew which I would choose:  Sigma Phi Epsilon or SigEp.

It may be cliché to say, but joining SigEp has been one of the best decisions I have made so far in my life. There is sometimes a negative stigma associated with fraternities, but as an insider looking out, it's not all about recreating Animal House. Scholarship, service, fitness, responsibility, leadership, and relationships are what constitute Greek life. 

As for scholarship, joining SigEp has actually eased the stress of schoolwork and given me the opportunity to connect with older brothers who have already taken the courses I am currently taking. It's this mentor aspect and dedication to academics that results in an increase in GPA comparatively to non-Greek students. 

Regarding service, I have been elected as our chapter’s philanthropy chair. I am charged with the duty of planning an event to benefit a charity or organization. I coordinate with other fraternities and sororities in order to attend their events and bring their members to ours. It’s a community of giving unlike any other.

Physical fitness is also important to a successful student. SigEp promotes a “Sound Mind, Sound Body” initiative. Weekly workouts and an in-house weight room have been whipping me into shape and have me feeling more energized and confident.

Lastly, but most importantly, the relationships are what constitute a great experience within a fraternity. No matter what time of day, I can always drop by and have someone to talk to or simply hang out with. Each and every one of the people I have met has become my friend and my brother. Having this support system is most important to me. 

In a similar light, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks is a fraternal organization. Just like SigEp, the Elks promote the same values and have similar programs to demonstrate them. As for scholarship, the scholarship programs provide funds to intelligent, talented, and many times needy students in order to further their education. Service is promoted through Elks scholar volunteers, veteran service, and many community projects at local Lodges. The Hoop Shoot Program is an example of the Elks’ commitment to physical fitness. Lastly, but again, most importantly, are relationships. The relationships formed within Elks Lodges are just like the bonds created at my fraternity. Members are held responsible for each other, can bond over shared values, and are working toward a common goal. 

Overall, joining Sigma Phi Epsilon has been a time-consuming, yet rewarding decision.  I have enjoyed nearly every second and I can't wait to see what the next few years and the rest of my life brings as being a SigEp. At the end of every message, we sign-off with “VDBL” which represents our founding principles—Virtue, Diligence, Brotherly Love. Fittingly, the founding principles of The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks—Charity, Justice, Brotherly Love, and Fidelity—even share a core principle with SigEp. So, until next time...

VDBL + CJBLF,

Nate Baker
Freshman Elks Scholar Advisory Board Representative
2013 Most Valuable Student Scholar
Cornell University


 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Elks Community Builder of the Week

Lake of the Ozarks, Mo., Lodge No. 2517


Not even the polar vortex this winter could stop the Elks from helping community members in need! Using an Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant, Lake of the Ozarks, Mo., Lodge No. 2517 purchased and distributed coats, hats, shoes, gloves and jeans for local youth in need.

Elks partnered with the Osage Upper Elementary School to determine which students would benefit most from new cold-weather gear. Thanks to the Beacon Grant, the Lake of the Ozarks Elks provided winter supplies for 44 students—and found 44 new friends!

“Thank you for your kindness,” says Osage Upper Elementary School Counselor Beverly Kincade. “We are blessed to live in such a caring community. Your generosity has made a difference in the lives of children.”

Don’t miss the opportunity to serve your community with $2,000! Beacon Grants, available to every Lodge, help Lodges like Lake of the Ozarks hold ongoing, Elks-led charitable projects. Don’t wait! Applications for 2013-14 Beacon Grants are due on March 31, 2014. Click here for more information about Beacon Grants and to access the online application.

Through Beacon Grants, the Elks National Foundation gives Lodges the opportunity to develop an ongoing, charitable, Elks-driven community project. These $2,000 grants are available to all Lodges. To find out more about Beacon Grants and the Community Investments Program, visit www.elks.org/enf/community.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Meet the ENF Staff

Marcee Northey
Donor Services Manager

How long have you worked at the ENF?
I have worked at the ENF for just over seven years.

What projects are you/your department working on right now?
The Donor Services department is gearing up for the end of our fiscal year, which is just around the corner.

What’s your favorite part of working at the ENF?
My favorite part of my work with the ENF by far is speaking with Elks across the country. I love solving problems and speaking with them about what great things they are doing in their communities. I also really enjoy working with the Donor Services team. We work really hard but also enjoy our jobs.
 
Describe your average day at the ENF.
We say in the DS department that there is no average day, but we do have average weeks. As I mentioned earlier, communicating with Elks is part of that but also processing donations, updating records and reports, responding to requests, assisting the team with questions, and meeting with other departments comprise an average week here for me.

What are you looking forward to this year?
My husband and I purchased a house two years ago and this will be the first summer where we do not have a major fix-it project to do.  We built a deck last year and I’m looking forward to spending time outside enjoying it with family and friends—after this currently very difficult and snowy Chicago winter.

What’s one thing about you that might surprise people?
I’ve gone walleye fishing almost 40 summers in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I don’t always catch a lot but usually have a great “The one that got away” story for the trip.

What TV show do you never miss?
I am embarrassed to say that I watch too much TV. Two of my favorite programs are Scandal and Parenthood, which are on at the same time!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Elks Community Builder of the Week

Fountain Hills, Ariz., Lodge No. 2846


Veterans in need living in Fountain Hills, Ariz. know they can count on the Elks for support. Using an Elks National Foundation Gratitude Grant, Fountain Hills, Ariz., Lodge No. 2846 partnered with local VA hospitals to purchase and deliver household items, books, magazines and movies to veteran residents.

To let active military members know they have the support of the Elks at home and overseas, the Fountain Hills Elks also prepared gifts for those serving in Afghanistan.

Thanks to the Gratitude Grant, the Lodge gained seven new members and showed the community that the Elks are there for veterans in need.

“This project furthered our image as a force for positive change in the community,” says Community Investments Program Project Manager Max Love. “We are seen as an organization that can be counted on to support veterans and our military.”

Don’t miss the opportunity to serve your community with $2,000! Gratitude Grants, which help Lodges like Fountain Hills meet local needs, are available to Lodges that meet National President’s per-member goal for giving to the ENF before March 31, 2014. Click here to check your Lodge’s standing, then click here for more information about Gratitude Grants.

The Elks National Foundation helps Lodges serve their communities by offering $2,000 Gratitude Grants. Lodges are eligible to apply for Gratitude Grants after meeting the National President’s per-member goal for giving to the Foundation. To find out more about Gratitude Grants and the Community Investments Program, visit www.elks.org/enf/community.  

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Elks Community Builder of the Week

Lake Sammamish, Wash., Lodge No. 1843


From Sochi to Washington, the world is focused on winter sports and Elks from Lake Sammamish, Wash., Lodge No. 1843 are going for the gold! Using an Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant, the Lodge partnered with the Cascade Snow Drifters Snowmobile Club to take local Wounded Warrior veterans on a snowmobiling trip through the mountains.

To warm up after the trip, Elks invited the vets to the Lodge for an evening of food and fellowship. Thanks to the Beacon Grant, the community is rooting for Team Elks!

“Our partnership with the Cascade Drifters has grown thanks to the Beacon Grant,” says Community Investments Program Project Manager Erica Sargeant. “Our Lodge plans to continue this project on a yearly basis.”

Don’t miss the opportunity to serve your community with $2,000! Beacon Grants, available to every Lodge, help Lodges like Lake Sammamish hold ongoing, Elks-led charitable projects. Don’t wait! Applications for 2013-14 Beacon Grants are due on March 31, 2014. For more information about Beacon Grants and to access the online application, visit www.elks/org/enf/community/BeaconGrants.cfm.

Through Beacon Grants, the Elks National Foundation gives Lodges the opportunity to develop an ongoing, charitable, Elks-driven community project. These $2,000 grants are available to all Lodges. To find out more about Beacon Grants and the Community Investments Program, visit www.elks.org/enf/community.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Home for the Holidays: An Elks Scholar Reflection

By Most Valuable Student Scholar Matthew Ramos


My name is Matthew J. Ramos and I am a 2013 ENF Most Valuable Student recipient. While home for the holidays I assisted my sponsoring Elks Lodge—Carmichael, Calif., Lodge No. 2103—with its annual holiday basket event. On the morning of December 22, I arrived at the Lodge at 8 a.m. eager and willing to help put together boxes of food that would distributed to families within our community. I meet with Mr. Murray, the Project Coordinator, and he introduced me to several of the other Elks and gave me an overview of the process. It was like a fine-tuned machine. There were rows of boxes on tables, and stacks of flour, sugar, canned goods and fresh produce all around the sides of the room. We had carts to carry the items to the boxes and each box was labeled with the number of adults and children in the family.

We got busy and filled more than 125 boxes in less than two hours. When the individuals and families arrived, they were signed in and then it was time to locate their boxes and help them to their vehicles. Each family received 10 lbs. of potatoes, several onions, a stalk of celery, sugar, flour, biscuits, butter, gravy, pasta, canned goods and a turkey for a wonderful holiday dinner and beyond. There were also toys, stuffed animals and games for the children. Those 125 boxes helped to feed more than 600 people.

It was nice to be home for the holidays with family and friends, but participating with the Elks to bring the holiday spirit to others in our community was definitely a highlight for me.

I am attending Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and have connected with other Elks scholars on campus. We helped the local Lodge with its haunted house at Halloween and assisted with the college visitation night this fall. It has been really nice to have the opportunity to provide service to others while establishing myself in my new surroundings. I am very happy to be included in the Elks family wherever I may be.

Matthew Ramos
2013 Most Valuable Student Scholar
Sponsored by, Carmichael, Calif., Lodge No. 2103