During the 2021-2022 Lodge Year, the Elk Lodges in Maine continued their outstanding support of their communities through Community Investment Program (CIP) Grants offered through the Elks National Foundation (ENF). The Community Investment Grant Program includes Beacon Grants, Gratitude Grants, Freedom Grants, Spotlight Grants, and Impact Grants. During this past year, 17 Elk Lodges in Maine received $130,500 in grants from the ENF for community projects that benefit our youth, our veterans, charities, and the community at large. Leading the way was the Augusta Elks Lodge #964 that applied for and received $20,000 from all five grants. In addition, the Maine Elks Association received $181,630 for programs that support our youth, our veterans, our communities, and charities such as the State’s Major Project, the Maine Children’s Cancer Program.
The Beacon Grants are $4,000 grants are for active projects that are charitable in nature. Projects that relieve the poor, distressed, or underprivileged, advance education or science (but not through scholarships), lessen the burden of government, lessen neighborhood tensions, eliminate prejudice and discrimination, and combat juvenile delinquency.
Gratitude Grants are the ENF’s way of saying thank you for meeting the Grand Exalted Ruler’s per-member goal in the prior fiscal year. That goal is currently $4.80 per member. These grants offer between $2,000 and $3,500 (through fundraising bonuses) Gratitude Grants must be used to support local, charitable activities such as hosting a community clean-up day, purchasing supplies for a homeless shelter, or organizing a school literacy fair.
Freedom Grants range from $1,000 to $3,000 for projects that serve veterans in need. The grant must focus on employment, homelessness and housing, military families, health, and educational support. Lodges can receive higher amounts by conducting a project that involves its members. For a concise description of the Freedom Grants click here.
Spotlight Grants are $2,000 grants that a pressing need facing American communities. The Spotlight Grants provide money for Lodges that want to conduct a community project, but don’t really know where to start. The ENF has established the following readymade projects for Lodges to conduct by applying for a Spotlight grant:
- COVID-19 Relief
- Warm Welcome to the Library
- Suds & Stories
- Community Baby Shower
- Welcome Home
- Stand Down
Impact Grants are offered to Lodges working to make a significant and meaningful difference in the community through a charitable project. These competitive grants of up to $10,000 inspire Elks to dedicate themselves to service and volunteerism.
With each Elk Lodge potentially receiving as much as $20,000 in free money from the ENF to support their communities, now is a great time to apply, as many of these grants are first come-first served. If you need ideas for conducting a Community Project to use the grant money, check out the CIP Resource page on Elks.org.
Last year, the Maine Elks Association Lodges and Members contributed a total of $113,149.45 to the Elks National Foundation and received back $1.60 for every dollar contributed. Where else can you get type of investment return, especially in today’s markets. Elks believe in supporting our youth, our veterans, our communities, and charities, and as an Elk you have the opportunity to show that Elks Care–Elks Share by making a contribution to the Elks National Foundation. There are many ways in which you can contribute, including one-time online donations, or ongoing monthly donations that can be automatically charged to your credit card, make a donation through your Lodge by contacting your local Lodge ENF Chairperson, or by mailing a donation directly to the Elks National Foundation with a completed donor card and send to: Elks National Foundation, 2750 N. Lakeview Ave, Chicago, IL 60614-2256.