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From Dollars to Dunks

by Youth Programs Associate Billy Donnelly

The past year has been quite a ride. I have spent it working at the Elks National Foundation as the Development Coordinator. This position allowed me to do many things that will have a lasting impact on my life. I have met and worked with some of the most amazing people in the world in the ENF office. I’ve worked with some of the best volunteers any organization could ask for.

Earlier this summer, I joined Lodge No. 1316 in Chicago and attended the 2015 Elks National Convention. I wouldn’t change anything I’ve done over the past year. However, I must look forward to the future—and my future is with the Elks Hoop Shoot. I could not be more excited for the opportunity to be the new Youth Programs Associate at the ENF. Though much will change, much will remain the same. I will still be able to work with the best staff and the best volunteers available. I am still looking forward to a fun week at the Convention in Houston next summer. I am still planning on volunteering at Lodge 1316’s Hoop Shoot and Soccer Shoot. But now, I will be truly fulfilling my passion. Youth programs have been the main focus of my professional career and volunteer opportunities. I believe programs like the Elks Hoop Shoot install values and lessons in children that are a necessity. The lessons learned from something as simple as shooting free throws will help the contestants develop into the future leaders of our country. It is very important that the youth of our country have the opportunity to have fun and compete in a safe environment.

The Elks Hoop Shoot allows them the opportunity to connect with others and their community, strengthening bonds and building relationships. This will allow them to opportunity to succeed in their future endeavors. The Elks Hoop Shoot has always been my favorite ENF program. In fact, I participated in it as a youth myself. I have a brief memory of the event, but recently asked my mother about it. She replied “Well you weren’t very good, and you didn’t make it very far.” My experiences with the Hoop Shoot and other youth programs have stayed with me my entire life. I am looking forward to taking what I have learned from these programs in the past and applying them to the Hoop Shoot of today.

I will work my hardest to ensure that every child has the opportunity to Compete, Connect, and Succeed, and has a lot of fun while doing so!

Billy Donnelly
Youth Programs Associate


Through the Elks National Hoop Shoot Free Throw Program, the Elks National Foundation offers youth the opportunity to engage in healthy competition, connect with their families and community, and succeed both on and off the court. In 2015-16, the ENF allocated $924,070 to fund this program, which includes the exciting addition of a Hoop Shoot app for contestants. For videos, news from the court, and more information about the Hoop Shoot, visit www.elks.org/hoopshoot.

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