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Showing posts from 2017

But Last, Coffee

by Makenna Cannon
Programs Assistant

Last month, I moved to a new city, into a new apartment, and, most importantly, started a new job at the Elks National Foundation. From taking the wrong bus to work one morning to volunteering at my first Standdown for Chicago veterans, it has been a month punctuated by stand-out experiences. That said, most of my November was spent learning; the ins and outs of the Most Valuable Student scholarship contest, what it means to be a member of the #ElksFamily and, of course, the correct bus route to work.
I started a month before the end of the Most Valuable Student scholarship contest deadline, the largest of the ENF scholarship programs. These past weeks have been a whirlwind of important deadlines for applicants and volunteers alike. The MVS contest relies on a national group of passionate, dedicated volunteers that judge applications at their local Lodges. I am constantly struck by how the volunteers, whether from Missouri or Alaska or Vermont, have …

Going through the Chairs

by Billy Donnelly
Youth Programs Associate


The process of becoming an Exalted Ruler at a Lodge is simple. Before you can become a leader, you first need to follow. Working your way up the ladder, or going through the chairs, is a perfect way for you to get hands-on experience with every aspect of Lodge business, thus allowing you to make informed decisions when elected as Exalted Ruler. It makes sense.
My experience with the Hoop Shoot has been the exact opposite of that. When I started as the Youth Programs Associate at the Elks National Foundation, I had never even seen a Hoop Shoot contest in person. My first contest was my own Lodge’s—Chicago Northshore, Ill., No. 1316—and it was an eye-opening experience.
Two years ago, I went to the Goethe Elementary gymnasium in Chicago ready to take notes and observe my first Hoop Shoot from the sidelines. I should have known better. Without skipping a dribble, my Lodge Secretary Paul Ronzani called me off the bench and told me that I was goi…

The Elks Stand Up to End Veteran Homelessness

by Taylor Odisho Communications Assistant

Hundreds of volunteers and sponsors bustled around the Illinois National Guard Northwest Armory in Chicago, preparing for the rush of homeless veterans. The line for the winter Standdown went well past the front doors, and since it was the middle of November, everyone rushed to get people through the doors and out of the cold.

A group of Elks Headquarter staff and Elks scholars lined up to help veterans collect winter boots, thermal clothing, toiletries, shelf-stable food and more.
Before veterans headed down the line, they were given a small, white envelope—thank-you notes written by local students. When some veterans opened their cards, they quickly disguised their misty eyes with a smile, and gently placed the letter in a place for safekeeping.
A veteran named Mike who helped organize the event shared his gratitude for the volunteers. “You’re going to change a lot of lives today and make people really happy,” he promised.
People like Marine vete…

Servant-Hearted Scholars

by Jenna Johnson Elks Scholar Fellow
The CIP office and Ihit the road in September for a week-long excursion through the Carolinas affectionately titled#ScholarCIPMegaTrip!From visiting college campuses that look like castles to eating biscuits the size of our faces at a local cafe, the Carolinas did not disappoint. From witnessing Elks members facilitate incredible Impact Grant Projects, to meeting Elks scholars actively serving their surrounding communities, the people we met made the trip beyond worthwhile. 
During the week, we had the opportunity to visit four Impact Grant Project

Album Review: Road Tripping through the Carolinas ft. Jenna & the CIPsters

by Chelsea Dennis Programs Assistant