by Joann Donnel PDD
ENF Grants Chair
Is your Lodge looking to do a project in your community, but you don’t have the funds? Would you like to start a new community service event and you need ideas? Well, the answer is with the Elks National Foundation Community Investments Program which offers grants to every Lodge in the country. The ENF has appropriated $15.7 million to invest directly into Lodge communities through this program. Applications open on April 1 for grants in Lodge year 2022-2023. You must be in compliance with the CIP for this year before being eligible to apply, so make you sure you finish your 2021-2022 grants and get your final reports done ASAP.
The Freedom Grant has substantial changes this year. The application is only open from April 1 to April 15, and it is a competitive grant. This year, there will be two options when applying for this grant. A Lodge can apply for a $3000 grant (Classic) to hold an active project that directly serves veterans in need, or Lodges can apply for a $1000 (Spark) grant to hold a smaller project with more flexibility. There will be 200 Classic grants available and 400 Spark grants.
The Gratitude Grant is the ONLY grant that requires a Lodge to meet the GER per-member-giving goal the prior year. Hopefully, all Lodges in Connecticut will be eligible this year! This grant starts as a $2000 grant, but there are three bonus options. First, if 15% of a Lodges members donate at least $10 to ENF, you will receive a $500 bonus. Second, is a Fidelity Club bonus. If 5% of a Lodge’s prior year donors are Fidelity Club members, you will receive a $500 bonus. And lastly, there is a Chair Challenge bonus. If the Lodge’s ENF Chairperson attains a score of 550 points or better in the prior year, you will receive a $500 bonus.
The Spotlight Grant is a $2000 grant available to every Lodge to shine a light on pressing issues facing American communities. Lodges can select one of the mandatory projects listed on the CIP site to implement in their community. They focus on COVID relief, veterans’ homelessness, and literacy.
The Beacon Grant is a $4000 grant available to every Lodge. Typically, it was to establish an active reoccurring community service project, however, rules have relaxed during the pandemic, and there is a lot of flexibility with this grant now. It can be an active project or a donation. It can be split between two projects, and it can be merged with a Spotlight Grant, making $6000 available for a single large-scale project.
Additional information is available on the ENF website. All of these grants have relaxed rules about holding in person events due to the COVID pandemic, and most can be given directly as donations, if they meet all other criteria for the particular grant. In addition, feel free to contact Joann Donnel, PDD, CT ENF Chair, for further questions, at 860-823-9839, or