Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Elks Community Builder of the Week

Kent Island, Md., Lodge No. 2576


Kids near Kent Island, Md., Lodge No. 2576 are having a reel-y good time! The Lodge used its Elks National Foundation Promise Grant to hold a fishing derby for local kids. Elks partnered with several businesses and community groups to hold the event, which featured food, raffles, games, and presentations on safety and drug awareness. There was even a special presentation by the Department of Natural Resources’ working dogs! 

The ENF awards $2,000 Promise Grants to the first 500 Lodges that pledge to host an event that helps build the character and competence of youth in their community. To find out more about Promise Grants and the Community Investments Program, visit www.elks.org/enf/community.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Elks Community Builder of the Week

Grapevine, Tex., Lodge No. 2483

Grapevine, Tex., Lodge No. 2483 used its Promise Grant to hold a Christmas party with the police department. Word spread through the grapevine and more than 400 local families attended! Elks and police also donated toys, stuffed animals and bicycles to children in need. Above, Lodge Secretary Janet Rose poses with her grandchildren in front of the food and toys Lodge members collected.

The Elks National Foundation awards $2,000 Promise Grants to the first 500 Lodges that pledge to host an event that helps build the character and competence of youth in their community. To find out more about Promise Grants and the Community Investments Program, visit www.elks.org/enf/community.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Elks Community Builder of the Week

Cartersville, Ga., Lodge No. 1969

Cartersville, Ga., Lodge No. 1969 partnered with DCFS to reach out to children in need at Christmas. The Lodge used its Community Investments Program Promise Grant to throw a party complete with a holiday meal, decorations, gifts and winter clothing for each child. Of course, the highlight of the party was a visit with Santa!

The ENF awards $2,000 Promise Grants to the first 500 Lodges that pledge to host an event that helps build the character and competence of youth in their community. To find out more about Promise Grants and the Community Investments Program, visit www.elks.org/enf/community.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sandals and Snowshoes in Sault Sainte Marie

By Jimmy Tomczak, 2011 Elks Alum of the Year and 2006 MVS scholar

This summer, the Elks National Foundation recognized me as the 2011 Alum of the Year during the Elks National Convention in Phoenix, Arizona. After accepting the award and speaking at the convention, I met Michigan Elks President, Keith Alverson and his wife, Greer. While talking, he mentioned a major Michigan Elks gathering and we agreed to keep in touch.

A few months later, Keith invited me to speak in Sault Sainte Marie at the Michigan Elks Association’s 55th Annual Fall Conference. As the ENF Alum of the Year, I addressed the Michigan membership at both their business session and ladies luncheon to share my Elks scholar story and represent the Elks National Foundation’s focus on programming that benefits Elks, Elks scholars and other programs recipients and our communities.

More than 300 people listened closely as I shared my not-so-distant memories of applying for an Elks Most Valuable Student Scholarship at my local Lodge, Detroit-Redford, Mich. Lodge No. 2097, and watching my application work its way up from district, to regional, to state—and finally receiving notice that I would be honored at the national level.

I recounted how the Elks sponsored my little sister, allowing her to attend a Down Syndrome speech and language therapy camp where she learned how to sign and eventually talk.

I described the value of the Alum of the Year opportunity and activities like Elks scholar meet-ups on campuses across the country, and other community and youth initiatives led by active young Elks scholars.

Finally, I shared how my company, TOMBOLO, is changing the world by introducing youth to hands-on social entrepreneurship and promoting awareness of conscious consumption and creative reuse.

Before I could sit down, everyone stood up—with applause, photos, handshakes, and smiles that followed.

But my conference interaction didn’t end at the mass audience level; I engaged on a deeper and more personal level with long-time, active and committed Elks. I met people with exciting stories like Walt Muellenhagen whose friend launched a company that, in contrast to my summer sandals by TOMBOLO, manufactures snowshoes out of recycled tires right here in Michigan. I met Brad Saegesser, Michigan State Scholarship Chair. He introduced me to the Water Warriors program—a group of volunteers who brave the cold Great Lakes water by riding Sea-Doos hundreds of miles to raise millions of dollars for the Special Olympics. I talked with Ray Chase who is connecting me with his Lansing Lodge to speak, and is encouraging young adults to get involved in their community and give Elkdom a try. And these are just a few examples of the great connections I made.

The Elks impact goes beyond statistics and scholarship dollars. Find a local Lodge, find a friend, and attend one of the events there. If you like what you see, who you meet, and your overall experience, submit your application to become an Elk.

For more information about Elks scholar opportunities, including the Alum of the Year Award, please visit www.elks.org/enf/elksscholars.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Elks Community Builder of the Week

Madison, Tenn., Lodge No. 2473

Madison, Tenn., Lodge No. 2473 used its Community Investments Program Gratitude Grant to make sure students have everything they need for a successful school year. Elks partnered with local schools to purchase clothes for students in need, which will be distributed throughout the year. 

“Community Investments Program grants really heighten the awareness of the Elks' work in the community and spread good will toward the members,” says Project Manager Randall Vaughn.

The ENF awards $2,000 Gratitude Grants to Lodges to directly address local needs. Lodges are eligible to apply for Gratitude Grants after meeting the GER’s per-capita goal. To find out more about Gratitude Grants and the Community Investments Program, visit www.elks.org/enf/community.   

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Elks Community Builder of the Week

Bryan, Tex., Lodge No. 859

Bryan, Tex., Lodge No. 859 partnered with the local VFW to reach out to all veterans. Elks used their Community Investments Program Gratitude Grant to provide a free catfish dinner for the veterans, during which the Lodge honored veterans' contributions with a ceremony. More than 200 people attended the dinner.

“Vets from all over came, ate a great meal and felt proud to have served our nation,” says Lodge Secretary Anna Perez.

The ENF awards $2,000 Gratitude Grants to Lodges to directly address local needs. Lodges are eligible to apply for Gratitude Grants after meeting the GER’s per-capita goal. To find out more about Gratitude Grants and the Community Investments Program, visit www.elks.org/enf/community.