By Mary Morgan
I was an employee of the Elks National Foundation for 6 years, and I’ve been a donor for longer. Now that I work at the Elks National Veterans Service Commission, nearly our entire budget comes in the form of a grant from the Elks National Foundation.
So, you could say I have many reasons to celebrate ENF Month. And you’d be correct.
My first job at the ENF was in the Donor Services department, which processes the donations that come in, maintains all donor records, and helps to ensure that every gift is acknowledged.
Often, donations would come in with jokes, notes and updates. Reading these was one of the joys of the job, and it helped to deepen my connection with our donors and supporters.
Donors like Roy aka Mouse Weichold who always sent in jokes with his donations. Mouse passed away a few years ago, but here’s one of his favorite jokes: Why are the streets of Paris lined with trees? So the Germans can march in the shade.
One such note really made an impact on me. It arrived with a $10 donation, and a note that said, “I’m retired and on a fixed income, so this is all I can give.”
That’s it. Just a short, simple note from a donor who was willing to sacrifice so he could contribute. If you’re strapped for cash, $10 can be a decent amount of money. It could buy a much-needed meal at a restaurant, a cup of coffee every day for a week, or a couple pieces of pie for you and a friend.
This Elk could have used that money to buy himself something he wanted or even needed, but instead he donated it. He trusted the Elks National Foundation to use those funds wisely. I don’t take that trust lightly. In fact, I’ve thought of that note often, when I was working for the Community Investments Program and now that I’m with the Elks National Veterans Service Commission.
It’s also a great reminder that in this day and age when the news is full of stories about millionaires and billionaires pledging vast sums of money, that it is regular people that have the power to make a difference in their communities.
The Elks National Foundation is powered by the donations and support of hundreds of thousands of those people, who believed in its mission over the past 90 years. Its programs are powered by those same people. I’m proud to call myself one of them.
Happy ENF Month!