Making a Plan

Some are born into Elkdom, and others have Elkdom thrust upon them. For Karen and Jim McNitt of Frederick, Md., Lodge No. 684, it was a little bit of both.

Karen grew up in Elkdom. Her father served as Exalted Ruler when she was seven years old, and she was born into the service and ideals the Elks cherish. When she and Jim got married, it was practically written into their marriage license that Jim had to be an Elk, too.

Jim’s first involvement with the Lodge was through the Elks National Hoop Shoot, when he started helping the Lodge Hoop Shoot director in 1980. Eventually, Jim would become the Regional Director of Southeast Region 10—a position he has held for more than 15 years.

“Hoop Shoot is a great program to introduce Elkdom to whole families, but particularly the youth who participate in the program,” say the McNitts. “We love to see how it encourages the kids to set new goals, practice more, and learn to win or lose gracefully.”

The McNitts enjoy seeing the influence the Hoop Shoot has on the kids’ development. To give back to the Foundation that helps make the Hoop Shoot possible, the McNitts are both members of the Fidelity Club, the ENF’s recognition program for donors who establish monthly, sustaining gifts to the Foundation.

“The ENF has done so much for us through our Hoop Shoot years, we love supporting that,” say the McNitts. "We have been so impressed with the other ENF programs—like involving the scholars and past Hoop Shooters in the Hoop Shoot. So, any support we can give the ENF for these programs is money well spent!”

Though there are many ways to give to the Elks National Foundation, the McNitts like the Fidelity Club for one important reason.

“It’s easy! The ENF gets money every month and we don’t have to do anything,” say the McNitts.

The Hoop Shoot has given many kids new memories, experiences and firsts, and the Elks have done the same for the McNitts. Both Jim and Karen have served as the Exalted Ruler of their Lodge, been involved in multiple committees, served as ENF Fundraising Chair, and have been part of starting many traditions in their Lodge.

After years of service in Elkdom, the McNitts have many fond memories of their time with the Hoop Shoot and serving with the Lodge. They found best friends in some of the other Hoop Shoot Regional Directors, smiles on the faces of the participants, and a shared joy as their son took on the mantle of Exalted Ruler of their Lodge.

But some of their favorite moments were much simpler. Jim’s proudest moment as an Elk so far was flipping burgers.

“Our Lodge was the meeting place for troops returning from deployment to meet their families. It was a great way for the Elks to support our troops,” say the McNitts. “Even though this event was several years ago, it is still so important to our Lodge that it is the cover photo on our Facebook page.”

Even these small moments in the Lodge have made a lasting impact on the McNitts and the people the Lodge serves. According to the McNitts, they were blessed with the opportunity to plan their estate settlement with their wills, which led them to thinking about their legacy.

“Once we realized that we could leave a legacy to our children but still were able to make some meaningful charitable donations as well, we set aside a percentage of our estate to be donated,” say the McNitts.

The McNitts believe that the work the ENF is doing is something that they wish to support into the future, and they encourage others who are interested in this method of giving to review the options for estate planning found on the ENF website at

“Because we know all the good that the ENF does—the support of these programs, plus the Community Investments Program giving grants to make a real difference in the local communities—we are thrilled to be able to help the ENF Endowment grow in this way,” they say.

The McNitts are ensuring they support the ENF into the far future. You can, too. Visit to learn more about the John F. Malley Society, including information on enrollment and member benefits.

To discuss planning a gift to the Elks National Foundation, please contact Kate Keating Edsey at or 773-755-4866. For more information about the Fidelity Club, visit

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