The Michigan Elks Association’s State Major Project was established in May of 1957 in order to provide financial support to children with disabilities for expenses related to equipment, therapy, camps, technology, and any other health related necessity.
Since then, the State Major project benefits between 400-500 children across the state each year! Applications are reviewed based on financial need, and the only requirements are that the recipient has a disability, is under 18, and is a resident of the state of Michigan.
Local Elks Lodges are involved in the project year-round as every Lodge in Michigan has a Major Project Lodge Chairman. The role of the Major Project Lodge Chairman is to help guide the applicant and their family through the process from start to finish. Recipients are either directly contacted by the Lodge or recommended to the Lodge. From there, the Chairman works with the family to evaluate the proposed request, prepare a Request for Assistance, gather documentation, and submit the application to the Major Project Commission. On top of working directly with recipients, the Lodge Chairman is responsible for charitable reports, hosting awareness events and fundraisers, crafting newsletter articles, and sharing information from the Major Project office with the Lodge.
When asked about specific cases, Executive Director, Diane Dusendang, said the one at the top of her head was, “We were able to provide a bath lift for a young lady with multiple diagnoses, and past physical abuse. As she has grown, many tasks become more difficult to be able to do safely. The lift will make daily bathing safe for both her and her caregivers!”
She went on to say, “We recently closed the fiscal year but right before it closed, we were able to provide equine therapy sessions for two separate recipients as well as a full campership for another recipient!”
The annual budget for the Michigan Major Project Commission includes, $60,000 for individual Case Requests, $200,220 for partial Camp Scholarships to more than 19 different camps for children with disabilities, and $15,000 in Emergency Fund Grants, which are available to a child in an emergency situation.
If you live in Michigan and are interested in more information or becoming involved check out their new webpage. Or, for more information on the different State Major Projects and how you can become involved, you can view them by State Association or view them by category.