Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Meet the Class of 2014 Elks Scholars

Victoria Crynes
2014 Most Valuable Student Scholar

Arizona State University—Global Politics with Pre-Law Major

Sponsored by Sapulpa, Okla., Lodge No. 1118


Elks scholars know the importance of helping their local communities. They also know it’s important to be responsible global citizens. For Victoria Crynes, both come naturally.

In high school, Victoria sent care packages to soldiers stationed overseas, spent many hours tutoring students, and developed educational curriculum on college readiness for at-risk youth. These college-prep workshops aimed to minimize the student dropout rate and earned Victoria a Girl Scout Gold Award.

In addition to her community service, Victoria cultivated an interest in politics and other cultures by hosting foreign exchange students, spending time on political campaigns, and shadowing judges and corporate attorneys to learn more about the legal profession. She plans to combine these interests in a future career as an international lawyer and then an ambassador for the United States.

“The most important part about being an Elks scholar is the opportunity to continue my service to my community and my nation,” says Victoria. “Being an Elks scholar enables me to make a difference in many communities.” 

Watch Victoria's thank you video to the Elks National Foundation here.

For 2014-15, the Elks National Foundation allocated $2.44 million to fund the Most Valuable Student scholarship program, which includes 500 four-year Most Valuable Student Scholarships. For more information about the Most Valuable Student scholarship program, including eligibility and deadlines, visit www.elks.org/enf/scholars.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Double your Gift. Strengthen your Community.

If you could double your gift to the ENF without personally giving twice as much, would you do it?  With more than 19,000 companies offering a matching gift program, there’s a good chance you could double the impact of your donation by requesting a matching gift through your employer. To learn more about matching gifts, we asked Donor Services Associate Jon Flaherty to answer some frequently asked questions about company-sponsored matching gift programs.  Here’s what he had to say.

Q. What is a matching gift?
    A.  It’s when an employer will match a donation dollar-for-dollar to an organization.

Q. What is a volunteer grant?
    A. It’s when a company will match volunteer hours with a check to the ENF. When employees volunteer at the Lodge, they record their hours volunteered and turn them into their employer. Then, their company matches the time volunteered by writing a check to the ENF.

Q. How do I know if my employer does matching gifts?
    A. There are several ways to find out.  The easiest way to check is by using our online database to see if your company sponsors a matching gift program. Search now! Your Lodge’s ENF Fundraising Chair also has a printed copy of companies who participate in workplace giving. Ask him or her if your company is on the list. Or you can always check with your HR department.

Q. How do I start the matching gift or volunteer grant process?
    A. Simply donate to the ENF, and let your employer know. After your company confirms that we received the monetary donation or volunteer hours, it will write a check to the ENF to match the donation. Some companies even allow spouses or retirees to participate in the matching gift program! 

Q. How do I send in my donation?  
    A. You can donate to the ENF as you normally would, either through your Lodge or by sending the donation directly to our office. Read through your company’s matching gift guidelines beforehand, and follow the instructions for requesting a matching gift.  Some employers will ask you to send the matching gift form to us with your donation, while other companies will ask you to submit the matching gift request online.

Q. Will my Lodge get credit for my company’s contribution?

    A. Yes.  Any matching gift or volunteer grant sent from your company will count towards your Lodge’s per member-giving total, and it will count toward your personal recognition total too.

Q. Who do I contact at the ENF with questions about matching gifts?

    A. I’d love to hear from you! Contact me, Jon Flaherty, at JonF@elks.org or 773/755-4862.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Meet the Class of 2014 Elks Scholars


Rohit Gupta
2014 Most Valuable Student Scholar

Rice University—Biochemistry and Cell Biology Major

Sponsored by Englewood, Colo., Lodge No. 2122


Mentor. Advocate. Leader. These words only begin to describe Rohit Gupta’s high school involvement. As a freshman, he started a nonprofit tutoring program to provide free educational services to underserved youth in his community. In the last four years, he has taught hundreds of students from pre-school to college, helping them build a foundation in math, reading and writing.

In addition to providing face-to-face educational support, he also developed educational apps. Downloaded by over 20,000 people worldwide, the free apps provide personal assistance and additional guidance to students.

“I am focused on making students positive and independent self-learners,” says Rohit.

Besides advancing educational resources for countless learners, Rohit has found time to pursue his interest in medicine, assisting hospital staff and advocating for better treatment of mental health at Children’s Hospital Colorado.

“Being an Elks scholar has truly helped me in reaching my goal of attending a top university,” says Rohit. “It has also given me further motivation to continue my efforts in bettering my community and reaching my dreams.”

For 2014-15, the Elks National Foundation allocated $2.44 million to fund the Most Valuable Student scholarship program, which includes 500 four-year Most Valuable Student Scholarships. For more information about the Most Valuable Student scholarship program, including eligibility and deadlines, visit
www.elks.org/enf/scholars.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Meet the Class of 2014 Elks Scholars

Kayleigh Arcos
2014 Most Valuable Student Scholar


Georgetown University—International Business and Relations Major

Sponsored by San Antonio, Texas, Lodge No. 216

Kayleigh Arcos is a young woman with vision. As a leader in the Hispanic community, Kayleigh was selected as a 2012 High School Latino Leader for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, where she promoted Latino involvement in politics and leadership with other Latino youth.

Inspired by her experience, she interned at Communities In Schools of San Antonio, where she helped low-income children improve socially and academically in school through fun and educational projects.

These experiences, coupled with a desire to combat stereotypes and promote education, have motivated Kayleigh to help others through charitable acts and community projects.

“Being an Elks scholar means being a role model for change and opportunity,” says Kayleigh. “We are symbols of hope and passion who have excelled not only in the classroom, but throughout our community.”

With her passion and vision, Kayleigh will ensure real change in her communities at home, in college and beyond.

For 2014-15, the Elks National Foundation allocated $2.44 million to fund the Most Valuable Student scholarship program, which includes 500 four-year Most Valuable Student Scholarships. For more information about the Most Valuable Student scholarship program, including eligibility and deadlines, visit www.elks.org/enf/scholars.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Meet the Class of 2014 Elks Scholars


Sahil Suri
2014 Most Valuable Student Recipient

Purdue University—Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Business Major

Sponsored by Sparta, N.J., Lodge No. 2356


Sahil Suri knows the power of education. With this in mind, he co-founded an organization to help refugee students achieve their full potential despite their circumstances. Dreamers Without Borders has already provided free educational resources to thousands of refugee students worldwide. Sahil, who is in charge of technology and social integration, is hoping to expand the organization’s reach by working with the Boy Scouts to create a badge to spread awareness of refugee issues.

With the help of his Elks National Foundation scholarship, Sahil will continue to initiate social change.

“Global efficacy says that each individual has the ability to make real change in the world,” says Sahil. “Elks scholars genuinely encompass that belief and incorporate it into their everyday lives, striving every day to make a positive change in the world.


For 2014-15, the Elks National Foundation allocated $2.44 million to fund the Most Valuable Student scholarship program, which includes 500 four-year Most Valuable Student Scholarships. For more information about the Most Valuable Student scholarship program, including eligibility and deadlines, visit
www.elks.org/enf/scholars.


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Elks Community Builder of the Week

Vincennes, Ind., Lodge No. 291

Elks from Vincennes, Ind., Lodge No. 291 never imagined they’d be able to serve every veteran living in nearby nursing homes. Thanks to an Elks National Foundation Gratitude Grant, the Vincennes Elks were able to do just that!

Using the Gratitude Grant, Elks purchased and packaged more than 95 bags—one for each local veteran—full of household supplies, flashlights, calendars and writing utensils. Lodge members delivered the bags to the assisted living homes, providing the veterans with needed supplies, friendship and support.

“Among the veterans were those with little to no local contacts,” says Community Investments Program Project Manager Vernon Houchins. “Our Lodge took pride in serving these veterans in need.”

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.   

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Meet the Class of 2014 Elks Scholars

Logan Brown
2014 Legacy Awards Recipient

Vanderbilt UniversityComputer Science and Public Policy Studies Major

Sponsored by Pratt, Kan., Lodge No. 1451


The child of a police officer, Logan Brown developed a passion for law and justice at an early age. She pursued her interest in law enforcement by interning at the local district attorney’s office. While learning about the judicial system and witnessing its effects on real people, Logan realized how a career in law will allow her to help individuals and society. In the fall, she looks forward to beginning her path to law school and dedicating her life to social justice with the help of her Elks National Foundation Legacy Award.

“Being chosen to become an Elks scholar is one of the most humbling and rewarding honors I have ever received,” says Logan. “Being an Elks scholar is not a onetime accolade, it’s a commitment and responsibility that I will have for the rest of my life.”

In 2014-15, the Elks National Foundation allocated $1 million to fund 250 scholarships for the children and grandchildren of Elks. If you know any Elks children who are high school seniors, encourage them to visit www.elks.org/enf/scholars for information, including eligibility and deadlines.