Batting 1000

In his second year as Grants Coordinator for Hillsboro, Ore., Lodge No. 1862, Richard Shipley batted 1000. With a talented team of players alongside him, Rick helped his Lodge apply for and receive every ENF-funded grant possible!

“I’m 9 for 9 when it comes to grants in the last few years, Shipley says. “But it really is a team effort—everyone at the Lodge pitches in.” This dedication and team spirit are just a few of the reasons Richard Shipley is the 2013-14 Community Investments Program Volunteer of the Year!

The Stats

Shipley’s stats are indeed impressive when it comes to his time as Grants Coordinator for the Lodge. A rundown of Hillsboro’s grant accomplishments this year is a great demonstration of this.

Fresh out of spring training in 2013, the Lodge connected with a Promise Grant to hold drug-free activities for teens. The Lodge reached out to students at all area high schools for the event, and ensured that students with disabilities were especially welcome. The Halloween party was a hit and the Mardi Gras-themed spring dance was a wild time. More than 200 students attended each event!

“They filled the banquet, dining, and lodge rooms,” says Project Manager Rick Shipley. “But once the DJ cranked up the music, the dance floor was filled to the maximum, including students in wheelchairs and scooters.”

Next Up

Batting second was the Beacon Grant, fresh off an impressive rookie year. This new grant didn’t pose any challenges for Rick and his hard-hitting team though. In 2013 and 2014, the Lodge used its Beacon Grant to partner with Rebuilding Together. Tools in hand and full of energy, Elks spent hundreds of hours repairing and rebuilding homes for seniors and families in need in the community.

“The project served the community well in that many low-income families would not have had the help without the Elks and without the ENF Beacon Grant,” Shipley explains. “The homeowners and the community have been very receptive and very appreciative.”

Clearly, Elks in Hillsboro keep busy, and they stay that way year-round. The Lodge uses its Gratitude Grant to serve children in need with a weekly backpack program. Each week during the school year, Elks buy food and pack it into backpacks for 80 local students to take home over the weekend. The program takes the dedication of many Lodge volunteers but that’s not a problem for Shipley and the rest of his team.

“We’re all very busy, but I think most people could find a little time in their schedule to help out and volunteer,” he says. “There’s always somebody out there who’s worse off than you.”

A Home Run

The Lodge’s biggest undertaking, funded with an ENF Impact Grant, is the Hillsboro Elks Leading Progress (HELP) project. With Shipley as Project Manager, the Lodge partners with the local Hillsboro Family Resource Center, a group dedicated to helping children and families in need. The center is well-known in the community, and couldn’t always help everyone who needed it. With the Elks’ support through the Impact Grant, the center has recently been able to serve many more families in the community. Several times a week the Lodge stocks the onsite pantry with food, clothing, hygiene items, and even emergency pet food. Elks volunteers are on call any time to deliver food and supplies to families in need who can’t make it to the center. Elks have also helped to create a children’s play area at the center, and worked to get the center’s Healthy Kids program off the ground.

“Many families in the Hillsboro school district are poor and impoverished,” says Shipley. This is a very worthwhile project and is making a huge difference in the community.”

An All-Star Team

Clearly, Shipley benefits from a stellar team of volunteers alongside him.

“You have to find people’s passion,” he explains. “We all joined for different reasons.”

Volunteering is his passion, and he has a talent for getting Lodge members to join in. He offers this advice on keeping volunteers engaged, but not burned out.

“Be careful not to overwhelm your volunteers. At the same time, have volunteers see the results. It’s easy to talk about projects in terms of money but it’s a whole different thing to have the volunteers with you when you go to the school, and see the kids eagerly waiting for their food, and hear the teachers and counselors so excited about the work you’re doing.”

The Postseason

Shipley has set the bar high for other Grants Coordinators, but he’s not one to keep his secrets. Over the past year, he’s been making the rounds in his state spreading the word about how ENF grants have helped his Lodge community, and how others can do the same.

Next up: he’ll be spreading the word about grants in New Orleans this summer, as he attends the 2014 Elks National Convention and officially accepts his 2013-14 CIP Volunteer of the Year award. Despite the town’s reputation as the Big Easy, something tells us Shipley is unlikely to take it easy while there.

The Elks National Foundation will help Lodges meet local needs by investing up to $8.68 million this year in Elks communities through Beacon, Gratitude, Promise and Impact Grants. These grants offer Lodges opportunities 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, please visit www.elks.org/enf/community.


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