Cullen Downing
Claremont, N. H. Lodge No. 879
Members in attendance at the 2004 Grand Lodge Convention were rapt with attention as Stephanie McDonald, the Top Female Most Valuable Student Contest winner, addressed them in Minneapolis, Minn. And Cullen Downing was no exception; as Stephanie told her personal story, Downing’s belief in the principles of the Elks National Foundation intensified and he was inspired to do even more.

Already an active donor and ENF Chairperson of Claremont, N.H. Lodge No. 879, he found another opportunity to continue the legacy of the ENF in the John F. Malley Society. By leaving a bequest to the Foundation in his will, Downing knew he could carry on his support of the ENF for years to come.

“The Foundation is a program I believe so strongly in, I wanted to make sure I left some money to help in its future endeavors,” Downing explains. “Without continued support of the ENF, we may not be able to hear more inspiring stories.”

In Downing’s case, he had planned his will years ago, and simply modified it to include the ENF. He encourages others to create a will if they don’t have one already.

“Unfortunately, I’ve seen enough instances where people haven’t made these important plans,” Downing says. “My wife, Wendy, and I decided we wanted everything in order. It’s one of the few guarantees in life.”

As ENF Chair of his Lodge, Downing aims to spread the word about the John F. Malley Society. At the Lodge and in his Elks travels, he wears his Malley Society recognition pieces––a unique pin and medallion––to inspire others to leave a planned gift to the ENF.

Downing says his greatest accomplishment as ENF Chair is reaching the GER’s per-capita goal every year. He won’t take all the credit for it, of course; the Lodge deserves the recognition.

Among the many deserving causes the Claremont Elks Lodge supports, Downing says it becomes a challenge to remind people how their gifts to the ENF help their community. To show Lodge members that the ENF is making a difference locally, he focuses attention on the Promise Grants and Gratitude Grants his Lodge has received through the ENF Community Investments Program. He also includes information from the Foundation’s website in the Lodge bulletin so members are privy to ENF news.

An inspiring young Most Valuable Student scholar gave Cullen Downing the motivation to support the ENF in every possible way––as a donor, volunteer and member of the John F. Malley Society. Downing has some advice for others who’ve been inspired by the ENF’s good deeds.

“Seek as much information about the Malley Society as you can,” he instructs. “Then do some soul-searching. Think long and hard about whether you feel the ENF is important to the future of the Elks. If it’s the right decision for you, you’ll be proud to do it.”

For more information about planning a gift to the ENF, visit or contact Kate Keating Edsey at 773/755-4866 or For details about recognition in the John F. Malley Society, visit

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