Skip to main content

For the Love of Nonprofits



by Nathan Kriha
Donor Services Coordinator

One of the most consistent passions in my life has been a love for nonprofits—especially ones that focus on education and the development of impoverished communities. This love can be traced all the way back to my high school days when my mother (quite forcibly) suggested I teach a kindergarten religious education course with her.

After my introductory class, I thought that this decision would easily be one of the biggest regrets of my life: The children would scream, cry, launch their crayons into space, tear up their books, and cry a little more. While I was initially stunned by this preliminary lesson, I witnessed my mother corral these angsty students and gradually create a heartwarming and quite soothing environment. At this moment I realized the true influence that a teacher can have on their students, and I became captivated with the study of successful teaching methods.

This interest persisted into my coursework at the University of Notre Dame, where I majored in liberal studies with a minor in education. There, during my second summer, I had the incredible opportunity to work at Camp John Marc, a nonprofit in rural Texas. The next summer I worked at Reach Higher, another nonprofit, located in DC. Both experiences allowed me to interact with students and educators from around the world and discover the importance of community assistance. I fell in love with the missions of nonprofits, so I could not be happier that I ended up at the Elks National Foundation.

I am currently on the Donors Services team, where I assist with the processing of both online and mailed gifts. While different from my past nonprofit experiences, I absolutely love the work and every day has been filled with something new and exciting! In addition to donations, I help manage Foundation Fellowship, which is our annual giving recognition program; contribute to ENF publications; run several different online reports and updates; and conduct some database maintenance.

There are so many impressive initiatives that the ENF supports, but my favorite one has to be the Community Investments Program. After my two previous nonprofit experiences, I learned that a community understands its own needs more than anyone else. The ENF clearly recognizes this importance, and so CIP allows individual communities to allocate money toward what they find most significant. The funny thing is I learned about CIP during my sophomore year at university. I was a community service chair for my dorm and while looking online for volunteer opportunities, I stumbled across a post about South Bend, Ind., Lodge No. 235 and their different community projects. Never would I have guessed that I would be working for the same organization one day!

I have only been working at the ENF for a few months, so I am confident there will be much more for me to learn and do, but it is truly heartening to know that I contribute to an organization that offers so much assistance and love to communities and people in need.

Comments

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Serving by the Blue Ridge Mountains

by Gabriella Haire 2015 Most Valuable Student Scholar
My name is Gabriella Haire and I am a junior studying biomedical engineering at the University of Minnesota. Beyond dreaming up medical innovations, I enjoy volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House, training for cross country ski races, and exploring new cities one ice cream shop at a time.

Following a typical track practice in March 2015, I received an atypical email. It was an invitation to the Elks Most Valuable Student Leadership Weekend and the promise of an Elks National Foundation scholarship. I was elated as I celebrated in the locker room, but I didn’t fully realize how that email and the Leadership Weekend were just the beginning of my relationship with the Elks.
After a physics lecture in November 2015, I received an email confirming my acceptance to the Winter Elks Scholar Service Trip in Oakland, California. I was eager to connect with Elks scholars for a whole week, rather than just a weekend. As it turned out, a week w…

What I'll Remember Most

by Cullen Edens
2016 Most Valuable Student Scholar Cullen, along with 19 other scholars, came together to serve the San Antonio community in the name of the Elks from June 26 to June 29. These 20 scholars then joined 130 of their fellow scholars for the 150 for 150 Service and Celebration Weekend, where all 150 scholars worked together to serve the city of San Antonio from June 29 through July 2. 



My name is Cullen Edens and I am a junior at East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma where I am majoring in Accounting. When I was selected as an Elks Most Valuable Student scholar, I simply thought I would collect my award and move on with my college education. I had no idea the impact that the Elks National Foundation would have on my life.
In late June, I traveled to San Antonio not knowing that this service trip would transform the way I viewed the communities around me. Arriving at Trinity University, I met 19 other Elks scholars from across the country from Maine to California. We instan…

Show Me the Heat

by Billy Donnelly Youth Programs Associate
While low temperatures afflict most of the United States in January and February, things are really starting to heat up for the Hoop Shoot. In gyms all across the country, Hoop Shoot contestants have been competing in state contests--another stop on the road to Chicago.
This year I had the privilege of attending the Missouri State Hoop Shoot contest, just outside of St. Louis. Randy Eaton has been the Show-Me State’s Director for more than 30 years, but after all that time, you can tell he has not lost his fire and passion for the program.
I left a looming snow storm in Chicago, happily heading south to help out with Randy’s event. It didn’t take long after my arrival before we could start to get to work. The hotel was practically ready to go—a Holiday Inn with an arcade and a large indoor pool meant that the 48 best free-throw shooters in Missouri weren’t going to have to go far to have some fun.
Randy took me to go help set up for the Awar…