Thursday, March 31, 2011

Elks Community Builder of the Week

Coos Bay, Ore., Lodge No. 1160


Thanks to its ENF Impact Grant, the Coos Bay Lodge provides weekend snack packs to children at Blossom Gulch Elementary School. Check out this video coverage of the Lodge’s project!

The ENF awards Impact Grants to help Lodges significantly address unmet needs in Elks communities. Impact Grants are competitive grants worth up to $10,000 and are open to all Lodges. To find out more about Impact Grants, visit www.elks.org/enf/community.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Per Capitaology

By Director Jim O’Kelley

How’s your bracket looking?

Last year, I took Butler to the final game. But this is not last year, and I reminded myself of that fact as I filled out my bracket. I knocked Butler off in the second round, same as VCU.

Kentucky and UConn? I wasn’t feeling them, either. I eliminated them in the Sweet 16 and regional final, respectively.

So, for my bracket, the NCAA men’s basketball tournament is over. Fortunately, I still have a shot in the annual ENF employee per capita contest.

We have our own version of March Madness at the ENF office. As the close of the fiscal year approaches, we all compete to see who can come closest to predicting the final mark for per-member giving. The winner gets bragging rights and a coveted spot in the exclusive club of former champions.

The defending champion is Paula Lukos, one of our gift processors. She won last year with a guess of $6.300. The final per capita was a record $6.324.

Here’s a look at this year’s guesses:

2011 Per Capita Contest
Staff Member
Guess
Henri
$6.8880
Paula
$6.7000
Debbie
$6.6440
Kristen
$6.6120
Erin
$6.5980
Jim
$6.5970
Marcee
$6.5580
Christine
$6.4580
Mary
$6.4370
Jon
$6.3870
Anne
$6.3800
Sandy
$6.3560
Brianne
$6.3310
Kate
$6.3140

You’ll note that with the exception of Development Manager Kate Edsey, we all predicted a new record. Is Kate’s pessimism a result of insider knowledge? Nope. It’s a typo. She claims that the three was intended to be an eight.

My guess is not really a guess. It’s our fundraising total through February 28 plus the average March take over the past three years. That puts us at exactly $6.597.

Development Associate Erin Rohan got to pretty much the same place just by adding $1 million to our February 28 total. We’ve topped $1 million in six of the past seven Marches. The three-year average says we’ll fall just short this year.

The three-year average is one of three indicators that I track throughout the year to measure our fundraising progress. I also look at the eight-year average (which predicts a final per capita of $6.623) and the first five years of the eight-year period ($6.638). These indicators are usually in the ballpark. Two years ago, with four months remaining in the fiscal year, the three-year average called the final per capita within 0.2 cents.

Despite my reliance on trends and sophisticated analysis to predict the future, I’ve managed to win the contest only once in the 11 years we’ve held it. Still, that’s one more time than I’ve ever won an NCAA pool.

If you’d like to join the fun, submit your guesses by commenting below with your name and per capita prediction, but get them in before we update again on Friday. You can track the per capita here: http://www.elks.org/sharedelksorg/enf/files/summaryofdonations.htm.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Start the Press!

By Kristen Scaletta, Communications Specialist
 Each quarter, the Elks National Foundation publishes Heartbeat, a newsletter full of the latest ENF news and stories. We just wrapped up producing the spring 2011 edition, and wanted to see what happens between the time we hand off the files to the printer and when the newsletter arrives in your mailbox.

Enter Envision Graphics. Our printer, John Schmudde agreed to take Development Manager Kate Keating Edsey and me on a tour of the plant that prints and mails Heartbeat. We drove for an hour in Chicago morning rush hour traffic until we reached the plant in Bloomingdale, Ill., but the long drive was worth it!

When we arrived, we met Account Executive Dave Shanahan, who took us on a full tour. We started with the pre-press room, where the Heartbeat files are checked for errors and a printer proof, a preview of what the newsletter will look like when printed, is generated.

Next, Dave whisked us through a series of cubicles (where the smell of fresh brewed coffee greeted us—a welcome scent in the morning) into the pressroom, where the magic happens. We got to see newsletters being printed on huge printing presses, and checked consistently for quality. Much to our disappointment, during our visit everything ran smoothly so no one had to yell “Stop the press!”
Printing the newsletter is just the beginning of the process. Heartbeat comes out of the press on large sheets of paper, two full issues per sheet, and is cut to size and folded. A binding machine sews a remittance envelope inside each issue. The newsletters then go through an addressing machine, where they are sealed, addressed, and made ready to go to the post office. A different person operates each individual machine. It was great to see how so many people played a role in printing and mailing this newsletter.

Thanks to the work of Envision Graphics, the spring issue of Heartbeat will arrive in mailboxes soon!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Elks Community Builder of the Week

Danville, Va., Lodge No. 227

Batter up! With the help of Danville, Va., Lodge No. 227’s Promise Grant, the local high school baseball team holds a successful pancake breakfast fundraiser! Here, the team stands ready to serve breakfast to attendees.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Most Wonderful Month of the Year

By Henri Moustakis, Donor Services Coordinator
Henri (top left) and Paula (bottom right) are busy processing gifts. Sandy (top right)
opens the mail and Jon (bottom left) prepares acknowledgment letters.

Once upon a time, in the land of Elkdom, there was a check named Charlie. His name was really #1744, but everyone knew him as Charlie. One day, his owner designated him with the amount of $500.00, and mailed him to us. Who are we? We are the Donor Services Department at the Elks National Foundation.

Donor Services is the first department to receive mailed checks like Charlie. We open mail, scan and process checks, send acknowledgments and finalize reports. During our fiscal year we process thousands of Charlies. So far this year, we’ve received more than 31,710 checks!

March is our busiest month of the year. We’re preparing to close our current fiscal year, and anticipate receiving $1 million in donations. The year-end increase of donations makes it possible for the ENF to continue our good work with scholarships, Drug Awareness, Hoop Shoot, Veterans Services and the Community Investments Program.

We’re well equipped to handle the many donations that come in March. Every member of our team has a specific job. Sandy Supancic opens the mail and scans checks.  Paula Lukos and I primarily process donations. Jon Flaherty sends out acknowledgements. Our fearless leader, Marcee Northey, is responsible for reports. Together we work as a team.

Our team also includes our hardworking volunteers, who are charged with rallying their Lodges, districts and states to support the ENF’s work. We have online forms on our website, along with free supplies to help volunteers. When volunteers submit donations, we always appreciate well written remittances. The volunteers and Donor Services work as one team. Like they say on the A-Team, we love it when a plan comes together.

March is a very busy month at the ENF, which is how we like it. We continually surpass prior year donations, and with your help, hope to do the same this year. Help Charlie find a good home and further the cause of Elkdom. His experience at the ENF is sure to be a happy one.

The donation deadline for the 2010-11 fiscal year is March 31, 2011. Donations must arrive at the ENF office on or before March 31 to count toward the 2010-11 per capita. We also accept online donations until midnight on March 31, 2011. Thanks for helping to make this year our best one yet!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Elks Community Builder of the Week

Huntsville, Ala., Lodge No. 1648

Huntsville, Ala., Lodge No. 1648 uses its Impact Grant to mentor local high school students involved in the F.I.R.S.T. Robotics program. Through this program, students learn real-life applications of math and science, and are inspired them to become leaders in these fields. Here, Elks are helping students construct a robot.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Lessons of Loyalty (and Pins!)

By Erin Rohan, Development Associate


Sometimes, I think of fables like ‘The Tortoise and the Hare’ or ‘The Grasshopper and the Ant’ when I think of our ENF donors. From them, as a member of the ENF Development department, I learn similar lessons of steady commitment, hard work, charity and cooperation.

The Elks National Foundation persists no matter what—that’s something I appreciate. But more so, I appreciate my position to witness charitable, generous Elks supporting the Foundation year after year. Saying thank you to these donors is one of my favorite parts!

In 2007, the ENF Loyalty Club began. Because donors give in different ways, we recognize donors in different ways. The ENF Loyalty Club exists as one of those ways.

The members of the ENF Loyalty Club teach us the most valuable lesson about winning. They have made a donation to the Foundation each and every fiscal year for the past 10 or more years. A decade and more of consecutive giving? Now that’s something special to recognize!  We applaud their commitment and consistency. Unlike the goal for the tortoise and the hare, there isn’t a finish line at the end. Our most loyal donors know that the ENF endures and the charity doesn’t stop.

Erin shows off the new Loyalty Club pin.
Since its start, ENF Loyalty Club benefits included an exclusive sticker for one’s membership card and donors’ names listed on the online honor roll. Oh, and bragging rights, of course. Those benefits remain, but in 2011, the ENF is introducing a brand new ENF Loyalty Club member pin! And a fitting new logo for the club.

We anticipate more than 5,000 Loyalty Club members this year; it keeps growing. I can’t wait to generate the list after we close this fiscal year! Then in May, I’ll put a record 5,000 or more pins and membership-card stickers in the mail! So, look around your Lodge this summer and spot a dedicated decade-donor sporting a new pin. View the ENF Loyalty Club Honor Roll to see a list of exactly who from your Lodge or state is included.

Our hope is, no matter what you gave the first time, you’ll give it again or more. It’s the accumulation of each and every gift since the founding of the ENF in 1928 that makes the record $21.7 million in grants and appropriations for 2011-12 possible. Wow!

Stay loyal, you donors, and inspire your peers with the lessons of your loyal support. Like these famous fables, you and the work of the ENF will stand the test of time. Thank you!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Elks Community Builder of the Week

Galesburg, Ill., Lodge No. 894

These shoes are made for walking—thanks to Galesburg, Ill., Lodge No. 894. The Lodge used its Gratitude Grant to fund Project Shoes. Elks volunteers took students in need in to WalMart, where the students picked out brand new shoes and pairs of socks. In a note to the Lodge, Kevin, a local student, writes, “Thank you! I love my shoes so much. I will wear them every day.”

Friday, March 4, 2011

Danke Wayne

By Mary Morgan, Programs Associate

When you get off the plane at the Las Vegas airport, you are surrounded by larger-than-life-sized pictures of all the local celebrities—Barry Manilow, Celine Dion and even Louie Anderson all smiling down to welcome you to town. After a recent trip, I would like to add Wayne Leroy of North Las Vegas, Nev., Lodge No. 2353 to this welcome committee.

Assistant Director Debbie Kahler Doles and I had the opportunity to visit with Wayne, who is the Project Manager for his Lodge’s Impact Grant, the Veterans Outreach Project. The Lodge uses its grant to help run the Las Vegas Veterans Stand Down, but that’s just the kick-off event. The Lodge continues its outreach to homeless veterans throughout the year, partnering with U.S. VETS and other groups to hold support events. Wayne marks this year-round support as the part of the project he is most proud of. As well he should be—the Stand Down reached out to 477 veterans last year, but the rest of the events reached more than 900 additional veterans throughout the year. 

As Debbie mentioned in her post last week, we were already in town to check out the Region 7 Hoop Shoot, but we always take the opportunity to visit our Impact Grant Lodges. So the morning of Friday, February 18, Wayne picked Debbie and me up at our hotel, the Palace Station. (Our hotel’s slogan was “We love locals,” but they were fond of out-of-towners too. Or so they told us.)

As we drove, Wayne talked about the different groups and people involved in the project, particularly the main partner, U.S. VETS. So our first stop was the U.S. VETS campus, where veterans live, work and receive help with anything from counseling to finding employment. In true Las Vegas form, we were met by a Wayne Leroy impersonator upon our arrival at the facility, a clear sign of Wayne’s superstar status amongst those working with veterans in the area. (In reality, it was a U.S. VETS employee who was also named Wayne Leroy. Small world. Or is it?)

Wayne proceeded to greet everyone at this facility by name, from the receptionist to the security guard to the social workers. At the adjacent outdoor patio used for some of the outreach events, we met Mike, who is the cook at the U.S. VETS facility. Mike also helps with all the Veterans Outreach Project’s events. We chatted for a while, and Mike promised he was ready to cook for the upcoming Stand Down. We also met with the director of the facility, Shalimar Cabrera. Shalimar showed us around the facility, and we talked of Stand Down preparations.

After we left, Wayne took us to the part of North Last Vegas where many of the homeless veterans spend their time. In the area, we visited last year’s location for the Stand Down, and chatted with the pastor of the church next door, who brings volunteers to the Stand Down. We moved down the road a bit and visited the bright, sunny new Community Senior Center—the site for this year’s Stand Down. The use of this new building was negotiated with the outgoing mayor, whom Wayne had spent years trying to get to support the Stand Down. Lesson learned, Mr. Mayor—you just can’t stop Wayne Leroy. (Insert cartoon superhero theme song here.)

We ended the trip with a drive past the new VA hospital in Las Vegas. The sprawling new building is under construction, and Wayne is a member of the building advisory committee. Wayne is also an Elks VAVS representative. Wayne, in my eyes, is a true Las Vegas superstar. Now can we get to work on that airport poster already?

The ENF awards Impact Grants to help Lodges significantly address unmet needs in Elks communities. Impact Grants are competitive grants worth up to $10,000 and are open to all Lodges.  Click here for more details on the Community Investments Program.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Elks Community Builder of the Week

Weehawken, N.J., Lodge No. 1456

Weehawken, N.J., Lodge No. 1456 used its Promise Grant to hold a series of Youth Nights at the Lodge. The Elks work closely with the local Peer Leadership Program, a program for students to set an example by mentoring and serving their community. These students volunteer at many Lodge events throughout the year, including seasonal food drives, veterans’ events, and the Elks Walk Out on Drugs event. The Youth Nights are the Lodge’s way of celebrating these exemplary students’ achievements!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, adieu!

By Christine Wagner, Donor Services Associate

While these lyrics come from my favorite musical, they are a little bittersweet to sing right now. After a little more than three years, I am saying “so long” to the Elks National Foundation to pursue a new career opportunity. While I am very excited to embark on new experiences, I regretfully leave behind a special and unique group of people.

Working in the Donor Services department for the past three years gave me the wonderful opportunity to see all of the generous donations the ENF receives on a daily basis. Down on the first floor, we definitely appreciate the ENF Chairs who have neat handwriting and alphabetized lists! My job also allowed me to talk to volunteers from all across the country; one of my favorite parts of the job! However, it was always hard to hear from the Florida, Arizona, and California Elks about how warm it was in their area of the country while Chicago was still feet deep in snow!

I will look back on my time at the ENF fondly. Whether we are celebrating weddings (we are on a streak of four in four years…I think there is something in the water!), competing in K-Kup (our annual team-building event), or having our end-of-year pizza party (Deep Dish of course. We are in Chicago after all!), the ENF has always been a warm and welcoming place to work. 

What will my coworkers miss about me? Definitely my “impressive” singing voice. Karaoke is one of our favorite hobbies at the ENF! My go-to song? “Born to Run”Long Live the Boss!