Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Elks Community Builder of the Week

Lebanon, N.H., Lodge No. 2099

For homeless veterans, a secure place to sleep can be the ticket to a fresh start. Elks at Lebanon, N.H., Lodge No. 2099 helped homeless veterans in their community get this fresh start by providing furniture for a local residential facility. Using its Elks National Foundation Gratitude Grant, the Lodge teamed up with Harbor Homes to furnish bedrooms for six homeless veterans. 

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 Foundation giving. To find out more about Gratitude Grants and the Community Investments Program, visit www.elks.org/enf/community.   

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Elks Community Builder of the Week

Sparks, Nev., Lodge No. 2397

Elks at Sparks, Nev., Lodge No. 2397 launched a brand-new tradition of giving back to veterans in need. Using an Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant, the Lodge participated in its community’s first Stand Down for Veterans. The Elks distributed sweatshirts, socks and pants to an estimated 150 veterans in attendance. Members also solicited donations and discounts from local stores to stretch their grant funds as far as possible. The Lodge plans on being a part of this annual event for years to come.

Through Beacon Grants, the Elks National Foundation gives Lodges the opportunity to develop an ongoing, charitable, Elks-driven community project. These $1,000 grants are available to all Lodges. To find out more about Beacon Grants and the Community Investments Program, visit www.elks.org/enf/community.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Elks Community Builder of the Week

Garland, Texas, Lodge No. 1984
Veterans at the Dallas VA Medical Center can count on Garland, Texas, Lodge No. 1984 for support and fellowship. The Lodge uses its ENF Gratitude Grant to host a variety of activities for veterans at the hospital. Elks travel to the medical center once a month to host Bingo. In partnership with the Boy Scouts, Elks distribute food, books and clothes to everyone who participates. The Lodge also hosts a cook-out for these veterans, complete with a horseshoe tournament and karaoke contest.

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 Foundation giving. To find out more about Gratitude Grants and the Community Investments Program, visit www.elks.org/enf/community.   

Monday, November 5, 2012

Elks Community Builder of the Week

Newport, Ore., Lodge No. 2105
Knowledge is power, and Elks at Newport, Ore., Lodge No. 2105 want families to be as powerful as possible when it comes to keeping kids safe. Using its Elks National Foundation Beacon and Promise Grants, the Lodge held its first Family Information Day, providing free eye exams, food, fun games, and demonstrations by local police and fire departments for 55 families.

“From our experience this year, we are already planning next year’s event,” says project manager Michael Goldfarb.

The Elks National Foundation will help Lodges meet local needs by investing up to $6.5 million this year in Elks communities through Beacon, Gratitude, Promise and Impact Grants. These grants offer Lodges an opportunity to serve the community in ways that will raise the Lodge’s profile, energize the membership, encourage former members to return to the fold, and gain the notice of people who want to be part of an organization that’s doing great things. To learn more about the Community Investments Program, please visit www.elks.org/enf/community

Friday, November 2, 2012

A Hand Up

By Programs Associate Mary Morgan

In June, I attended a few days of the National Conference on Volunteering and Service. Knowing the passion many Elks have for supporting veterans, I attended speeches and sessions geared toward effectively serving veterans, active-duty military members and their families. Along the way, I met many wonderful people and learned about many great organizations dedicated to doing just that.

General George W. Casey
While there were no cookie-cutter solutions offered, there were a great many small success stories offered from around the nation. Most of those solutions started locally, a point which would come up again when I went to hear a speech by General George W. Casey on how communities can aid veterans.

General Casey is a retired United States Army General, and served as the 36th Chief of Staff of the United States Army. His speech, entitled “All the Way Home,” kicked off the last day of the conference and focused on ways to help veterans, service members and their families adapt and thrive.

“Start at the local level,” Gen. Casey began. “Don’t wait for government to act. Military depends on public/private partnerships.”

As I listened to his speech and considered what I’d learned at the conference, I realized that as a charitable, community organization, the Elks are in a unique position to reach out and help veterans, military members and their families.

Now that it’s Veterans Remembrance Month, there is no better time for me to share my takeaways from the conference. The Hand Up series is meant to inspire Lodges to use their ENF Grants to do more, or do things differently to help today’s returning service men and women. Veterans have the potential to be great resources in their communities. They simply need a hand up. That’s exactly where the Elks come in.

Click here to read the first installment in the month-long series.