As an ENF Chair, a dedicated veterans’ advocate, an ENF donor and a member of the John F. Malley Society, John Markiewicz of Jacksonville, Fla., Lodge No. 221 is truly committed to furthering the mission of the Elks National Foundation. We caught up with him this month to discuss his experience as an ENF Chair and a proud Elks member.
ENF: What motivated you to become involved with the ENF, and why did you first decide to donate?
JM: I’ve always believed in charity and felt that I should be donating regularly. I was very impressed with the Elks National Foundation’s commitment to veterans and to children, so it was an easy decision to start donating.
ENF: Your Lodge has met the GER’s per-capita goal for many consecutive years. What have you done to ensure this and motivate the members of your Lodge to donate?
JM: Several years back, when I first took over as the Lodge ENF Chair position, I resolved that so long as I was involved, Jacksonville Lodge No. 221 would meet its per-capita goal. I have continued that pledge to this day, and in the years when the contributions were not sufficient, I personally donated enough extra to ensure that the goal was met. I give a report at every Lodge meeting I attend and ask the membership to make a contribution or to make a pledge. I also attend new member Indoctrinations to talk about the ENF’s work.
ENF: What is the biggest challenge you face as your Lodge’s ENF Chair?
JM: Declining membership and economic hard times that have affected everyone, myself included, for the past couple of years has made it more difficult to get sufficient donations.
ENF: What do you think has been your biggest accomplishment as an ENF Chair? What do you like best about the job?
JM: I’m proud of the fact that Jacksonville has met the per-capita goal every year that I served as Lodge and District Chair. I enjoy talking about ENF and the good works that are funded by our contributions.
ENF: What do you find to be the most effective way to raise money from Lodge members?
JM: Mostly I encourage new members to sign up for a pledge or make a donation when they’re initiated. I also encourage all of our members to make a donation when they pay their dues (this has proven our most effective way thus far). Finally, I approach the Officers and members who regularly attend our meetings and remind them on an individual basis if they have not signed up for a pledge or made a donation during the current Lodge year.
ENF: What advice do you have for other Lodge ENF Chairs?
JM: Don’t be afraid to ask for a donation. Nobody is out there standing in line or knocking on your door to give you money; if you don’t ask, you will not receive.
ENF: In 2003, you joined the ENF’s John F. Malley Society, which recognizes individuals who plan gifts to the ENF. What inspired you to leave a bequest to the ENF?
JM: I’ve donated to ENF throughout my 30 plus years as an Elk and want to continue to support the Foundation after I’m gone.
ENF: Why do you think it’s important to have a will?
JM: For many it’s important to ensure that their family is taken care of after they’re gone. I have no children and very little family left so my family is the Veterans and our youth who are the future of our Order and our nation. I want to be sure that they’re taken care of after I’m gone.
ENF: What do you like about being a member of the John F. Malley Society?
JM: It helps to keep me focused on a goal and gives me the satisfaction and comfort of knowing that I’ve taken care of helping the ENF and its programs long after I’ve passed on.
ENF: What is your proudest moment as an Elk?
JM: It is indeed hard to pick the proudest moment from so many. It could have been when I was elected for the first time as an officer of my Lodge, or both times I served as Exalted Ruler of my Lodge. It could have been when I was elected as District Vice President or when I was installed as District Deputy Grand Exalted Ruler for the Northeast District of Florida. Even more likely it was when I achieved the Bronze ($5,000) level of giving to the ENF. But the most satisfying achievement and the one that I think gave me the greatest pride was my service as Lodge, District and State Chairman for Veterans Services for the Florida State Elks Association.
ENF: What advice do you have for other Elks who are considering including the ENF in their plans?
JM: I’ll answer that with a quote from the inspiring theologian, philosopher, and physician Albert Schweitzer: “I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve.”