Thursday, September 20, 2018

Practice What We Preach

by Makenna Canon
Programs Assistant 


The Elks National Foundation 2019 scholarship contests are underway, and our office has spent the last few months supplying scholarship materials and information to our dedicated volunteers across the country. We’ve been encouraging volunteers to promote the contests in their local communities and to communicate directly with applicants, families, and guidance counselors.  



While we consistently push our volunteers to go out in the field to promote our programs, most of our promotion at the Elks National Foundation is online or by proxy. This week, I had the chance to practice what we preach and promote the contest in our own local community of Chicago. I attended the second Annual Scholarship and Resource Fair hosted by Chicago Scholars. Ten scholarship organizations presented their scholarship programs, ranging from local scholarships to national programs, like ours, to 150 high school seniors and their families.  

Most of my interactions with applicants are virtual, either through email or over the phone. This was my first chance since starting at the ENF to speak with applicants face-to-face about our scholarship programs. Spending an evening speaking with students about scholarships, answering their questions regarding our programs, and hearing about their future plans and dreams was both enlightening and inspiring. I learned that applicants are most curious to hear how their specific experiences fit into the criteria of our scholarships. They want to know how the work they’ve done will be reflected on their application and how to best share that with the judges. Their stories are important, their achievements are notable, and their dreams are big. They hope that they’re able to convey that all through a few short answer questions and a 300-word essay.

By representing the Elks National Foundation at the event, I was able to share the experience that you, our Elk volunteers, have with the applicants and gain a sense of the hard work Elks put in every year. It was easy, at least for me, to believe that scholarship promotion was presenting materials and facts to interested students. After interacting with students directly, I realized the true scope of the work the Elks put in each year. They are in their communities, giving their time at fairs and meetings, to provide students with an opportunity to share their stories and continue dreaming. I’m proud to be even a small part of that.

For 2018-19, the Elks National Foundation appropriated $4.6 million to fund ENF scholarship programs, which ensure a bright future for our nation’s youth. As important members of the Elks family, Elks scholars have many social and service opportunities to connect with the Elks and one another. For more information about our scholarship programs, and for ways Lodges can get involved with Elks scholars, visit elks.org/scholars.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Just the Beginning


by Maryann Dernlan 
Senior Associate, Program Relations


At the Elks National Convention in San Antonio, we brought together 150 Elks scholars to celebrate the Elks’ 150th anniversary through the 150 for 150 Service and Celebration Weekend. Have you watched one of the 150 for 150 videos, read a blog post from a scholar who attended, or scrolled through the more than 3,000 pictures from this unforgettable weekend and thought, “I wish I could have been a part of that!”


Whether you’re an Elks scholar or an Elk, know that this event was just the beginning. We offer opportunities for Elks scholars to connect with one another or serve in the name of the Elks every year, all year round. The events that happened at 150 for 150 showcased, on a large scale, our scholar relations efforts that have been in place since 2009. You can pick how you’d like to get involved and bring the Elks family network to life in your local area!


A note to Elks scholars:

There are more than 3,050 Elks scholars heading back to campus this fall and thousands of alumni across the country. On top of that, there are nearly 800,000 Elks members who are serving their communities––many are in careers or retired from careers in areas you may be interested in learning more about.

With the start of the academic year, it’s the perfect time to plan how you’ll connect with your #ElksFamily this year. 2014 MVS scholar Cecily Froerer recently shared, “I encourage all Elks scholars to reach out to their local Lodge. It may seem intimidating to walk into a Lodge filled with strangers, but I promise, you won’t leave as strangers. It’s because they’re Elks. They help people. It’s who they are, and it’s what they do. And as Elks scholars, we’re blessed to be part of it.”

Click here to see all the opportunities available to you as an Elks scholar!


A note to Elks:

MVS scholar Marlena Pigliacampi poses with PER,
past scholarship chair and Legacy scholar Erika Barger.
There are three things we know for sure about Elks scholars. First, they’re service-minded (100 percent of Elks scholars were involved in community service in high school compared to 27 percent nationally). Second, they want to thank you, personally, for your support of their education. Third, they’re highly involved on and off campus with everything from classes to jobs to extracurricular activities.

These three pieces come together to mean that scholars will try their best to get involved if they’re given a clear opportunity to give back meaningfully with your Lodge. If you have a meeting coming up you’d like a scholar to speak at, or a great event they could serve at, an invitation from the Lodge is the first step they need to start their involvement. Click here to read about a scholar’s recent experience visiting her Lodge––how she was intimidated at first, but ultimately felt at home with her Elks family.

After reading her post to get the scholar perspective, brainstorm with your Lodge about how you can engage scholars near you. Then, email scholarship@elks.org and we’ll connect you with scholars in your area. Today’s Elks scholars can be tomorrow’s Elks if we engage them in meaningful service. Your Lodge has an opportunity to make it happen!


For 2018-19, the Elks National Foundation appropriated $4.6 million to fund ENF scholarship programs, which ensure a bright future for our nation’s youth. As important members of the Elks family, Elks scholars have many social and service opportunities to connect with the Elks and one another. For more information about our scholarship programs, and for ways Lodges can get involved with Elks scholars, click here.