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The Art of Raising Funds

by Taylor Odisho
Communications Coordinator

This may come as a shock to no one, but starting and running a nonprofit is not easy. Every initiative must be calculated; every mailing needs a purpose; and every volunteer and staff member should overflow with passion for the cause, or it just won’t work. Luckily, since I started working at the Elks National Foundation a year ago, I’ve noticed that last part comes pretty easily. 

Recently, I had the privilege to attend a week-long fundraising course taught by two experts in the field—Jeri Pat Gabbert and Tim Seiler from Indiana University. They were engaging and provided fruitful information that seemed applicable to everyone in the class, from the students who worked for established nonprofits like the Salvation Army to one-person fundraising teams there to learn the basics. 

The biggest lesson I took away from the course—aside from understanding the fundamentals of fundraising—is that the ENF is a well-oiled nonprofit machine. This is, in pa…
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Back to Biloxi

by John Kavula
Elks Scholar Fellow



As the chilly fall weather crept in on Chicago, Programs Relationship Senior Associate Maryann Dernlan and I had the chance to escape to the sunny, 80-degree weather of the Mississippi Gulf Coast for a site visit in preparation for the 2019 Winter Elks Scholar Service Trip.

When I accepted the position of Elks Scholar Fellow nearly five months ago, one aspect of the position that drew me in was the opportunity to choose the location for the Elks Scholar Service Trips. When I found out that Community Collaborations International (CCI), a service organization we had worked with on a past trip, had a program in Biloxi, Mississippi, I knew that I wanted to go to a place that meant so much to me: The Gulf Coast.
Before going to college, I lived just an hour east of Biloxi in Mobile, Alabama, so I jumped at the opportunity to bring a group of Elks scholars, many of whom may have never been to the Gulf Coast, to share the experience of the place I called home …

Happy ENF Month from the ENVSC!

by Mary Morgan
Elks National Veterans Service Commission Director

I was an employee of the Elks National Foundation for 6 years, and I’ve been a donor for longer. Now that I work at the Elks National Veterans Service Commission, nearly our entire budget comes in the form of a grant from the Elks National Foundation.

So, you could say I have many reasons to celebrate ENF Month. And you’d be correct.
My first job at the ENF was in the Donor Services department, which processes the donations that come in, maintains all donor records, and helps to ensure that every gift is acknowledged.
Often, donations would come in with jokes, notes and updates—like from Roy Weichold, a.k.a. “Mouse,” who was a member of Carmichael, Calif., Lodge No. 2103. One of his jokes was: Why are the streets of Paris lined with trees? So the Germans could march in the shade. Reading these notes from donors like Mouse was one of the joys of the job, and it helped deepen my connection with our donors and supporters.
The…

Celebrating Through Service in My Backyard

by Megan Kalie
2015 Legacy Awards Scholar
My name is Megan Kalie, and I’m studying English with a concentration in creative writing at Slippery Rock University. I attended the past three Elks Scholar Service Trips in Santa Monica, Asheville, and San Antonio, and the Elks National Foundation has changed my life immensely in only six months.

Not only did being back in San Antonio feel like a homecoming, but getting to see familiar faces from previous service trips did as well. One thing I really loved about the 150 for 150 celebration, outside of all the great service work did, was watching everyone reconnect. Knowing I’d get to see people from the Santa Monica and Asheville trips again made me more excited for San Antonio than I could’ve imagined. I was happy with my own reunions, but seeing other scholars reconnect with friends they’d made on their service trips was a joy to witness, too.


I had always heard of the Elks growing up since my dad is a member of the Hawthorne, Nev., Lodge No.…

Practice What We Preach

by Makenna Cannon
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 applic…

Just the Beginning

by Maryann Dernlan 
Senior Associate, Program Relations