As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage on throughout the country, uncertainty remains for the foreseeable future. Project planning continues to be difficult, but not impossible. By following state and local mandates, along with C.D.C guidelines, we believe Lodges can plan for COVID-sensitive Community Investments Program grant projects.
Here’s what’s on deck for Phase III.
Typically, Beacon Grants must be used for active projects. But, since nothing is what it was, we’ve built in flexibility for Lodges to meet pressing needs in their own backyards. Here’s how we are relaxing Beacon Grant guidelines.
We announced way back in the pre-pandemic days of late February that the Beacon Grants were set to be $3,000 for FY2021. However, by suspending both Promise Grants and new Impact Grants, we can offer Beacon Grants at $3,500. With the increased grant amount and built-in flexibility, we’re confident that Lodges will continue to rise to the occasion and help communities where it’s needed most.
Read on for how we arrived at these decisions.
In a typical year, Promise Grants must be used for active projects; however, in many parts of the country, active projects are not feasible. That's why we relaxed the Spotlight Grant guidelines to permit passive projects (donations) and encouraged Lodges to donate their Gratitude Grants.
The relaxed approach works for Spotlight Grants, because every Lodge is eligible to use one, and for Gratitude Grants, because every Lodge that met the GER's goal last year is eligible to use one. But there are only 300 Promise Grants. Relaxing the Promise Grant guidelines would have kicked off a frantic cash grab.
This decision means that some Lodges will receive less money in CIP grants this year than they did last year. That's unfortunate; however, there's no way that we could justify giving $750,000 to 300 Lodges based solely on which Lodges had the fastest typists.
We applied the same logic to consideration of new Impact Grants during the time of COVID-19. We think of Impact Grants in terms of new and renewals. New Impact Grants are projects we are not currently funding; renewals are the ones we are currently funding.
The budget the Board approved in February contained $200,000 for new Impact Grants and $300,000 for renewals. For FY2021, we will not be accepting applications for new projects. Instead, we are reallocating the $200,000 budgeted for new Impact Grants to Beacon Grants.
We are in the throes of reviewing the 64 2020 Impact Grantees’ Second Quarter reports. The decision to move forward with the renewals will be announced on September 1.
On August 1, we’ll make an additional $6.5 million available to Lodges through Beacon Grants. This is on top of the $6.4 million in grant funds already available through Gratitude Grants and Spotlight Grants. There is no more pressing issue facing American communities than the response to the pandemic. Lodges across the country continue to rise to the occasion to meet the challenges brought on by the pandemic, which means our communities are stronger because #ElksAlwaysCare.
We'll get through this and our grants are helping. Check elks.org/enf for updates.