Not Just Whistling Dixie
When John F. Malley founded the ENF in 1928, he envisioned it would make the Elks “a mighty army for the service of mankind.” Today, you needn’t look far to see evidence of Elks serving their communities. As the Community Investments Program has expanded to help Elks serve, so have the number of dedicated volunteers we come in contact with every day. To recognize the time and effort we know so many Elks put into serving their communities, we launched our inaugural CIP Volunteer of the Year contest this year.

As we read through the nominations, we came across many impressive accomplishments. One name stood out, though. The ENF is proud to announce the inaugural recipient of the CIP Volunteer of the Year Award—Betty Archambault, member of St. George ‘Dixie,’ Utah, Lodge No. 1743.

Pantry Partners for Success

Though she has received numerous Elks awards in the past, perhaps her greatest accomplishment has been her involvement with her Lodge’s Impact Grant project, Pantry Partners for Success. Betty helps to run the project, which provides material and other support for students at a local alternative high school. At the school, Elks provide food, supplies, advice and more to the students, all of whom lack traditional support. The project focuses especially on young parents, independent and at-risk students.

“No one is more dedicated to the pantry’s success,” one nominator writes. “The graduation rates have improved drastically. Students who were cold are warm. Children who were hungry have food. The list goes on and on.”

Since the project started, the graduation rate at Millcreek school has increased from 48 to 70 percent. The attendance rate is the highest it’s ever been—90 percent. Students who would have left school to get jobs have stayed. Students who would leave night class early to get dinner are now provided with meals at the school. Young parents struggling to raise their children and stay in school receive assistance in the form of baby food, supplies, and even a nursery at the school for their children.

A Community Approach

Largely because of Betty’s work in the community, CIP grants are only a small part of the funding for the Pantry Partners for Success project. Betty is great at “getting others to see the importance of the project,” one nominator says.

She regularly gives presentations to different community groups about the project. She is careful not to simply ask for funds. She provides information about the project and its accomplishments. She tells people what the Elks are doing, and asks if they want to be a part of it. Her approach works wonders.

“Just last quarter, Elks and Elks’ partners volunteered thousands of hours to help the students,” says a nominator. “Betty has helped to establish community partnerships with the Salvation Army, the Catholic Church, Deseret Industries, the LDS Church, Dove Center, various cosmetology schools and the food bank. Because of Betty’s work, Millcreek received $104,586 in in-kind donations in just the first three months of 2012.”

“Now that we are in the third year of our grant, there isn’t a student or parent in my building that hasn’t heard about the Elks and how much they care about at-risk students,” says a faculty member who joined the Elks because of the pantry. “The school community knows who the Elks are and the amazing things we do for the community.”

Strength in Numbers

Betty credits the success of this and other CIP grant projects to a strong Lodge community. She praises the members of her Lodge for each of their unique contributions.

“Everybody involved bought into the program,” says Betty.

“Betty represents what Elks and ENF projects should be,” ends one nominator. “She has integrity, dedication, unending energy, commitment, and is the heart and soul of the Pantry Partners for Success project. To honor her as the CIP Volunteer of the Year would validate a life dedicated to education and helping others.”

We couldn’t agree more. Congratulations, Betty!

The Elks National Foundation will help Lodges meet local needs by investing up to $6.5 million this year in Elks communities through Beacon, Gratitude, Promise and Impact Grants. These grants offer Lodges an opportunity to serve the community in ways that will raise the Lodge’s profile, energize the membership, encourage former members to return to the fold, and gain the notice of people who want to be part of an organization that’s doing great things. To learn more about the Community Investments Program, click here.