10 reasons why supporting military families makes sense for fraternals…
As you know, earlier this year NFCA’s Board of Directors adopted a resolution encouraging its member societies to support the National Military Family Association’s (NMFA) “Operation Purple” program. “Operation Purple” is NMFA’s summer camp program for children of military families. NMFA designs the camp curriculum specifically for children with one or both parents actively serving in the military and provides scholarships to every camp participant. The cost of sending one child to camp is $500 and NMFA operates hundreds of camps serving thousands of military children across the country.
NFCA’s resolution encouraged member societies to consider making corporate contributions to fund scholarships, urging their local lodges to conduct fundraisers to support the program (and to send a child from their community to an “Operation Purple” camp in 2011), and/or hosting an “Operation Purple” camp at one of their organizations’ facilities. NMFA Executive Director Joyce Raezer made a compelling presentation to members attending NFCA’s recent Annual Meeting, and fraternals’ support for the program is gaining momentum.
Modern Woodmen Sets the Pace
Modern Woodmen of America has just announced that the organization is committed to raising $30,000 through a combination of chapter fundraising efforts along with a corporate match in the first quarter of 2011. Just like that, Modern Woodmen has assured that 60 children of America’s military families will have a spot in “Operation Purple” camps next summer. And Modern Woodmen has set the standard for other NFCA members to join them in this effort. Hats off to Modern Woodmen President and CEO Kenny Massey, Fraternal Director Stephen Van Speybroeck; and Director and General Counsel Darcy Callas (Modern Woodmen’s representative on the NFCA Board) for making this happen.
I know that Joyce Raezer and the leadership team at NMFA are energized by the potential of partnering with fraternals on the “Operation Purple” program, and that they are in discussions with other societies about initiating efforts similar to those undertaken by Modern Woodmen. Here are just a few reasons why your society should consider jumping in to support this program:
- Every society can participate – It doesn’t matter how large or small your society is or how many lodges you have, every NFCA member can participate in this program. In fact, Degree of Honor has committed to funding one $500 scholarship and we’ve received a check from one of our smallest members – Workmen’s Benefit Fund – for $100.
- It makes a great JHD activity – Are your local lodges struggling to come up with a project for JOIN HANDS DAY? How about an “Operation Purple” fundraiser? Better yet, have your local lodge leaders reach out to other military-related organizations – the VFW, American Legion, etc. – and encourage them to “join hands to touch lives” by participating in the fundraiser.
- Local lodges need some direction – An “Operation Purple” fundraising campaign may be just the ticket to rejuvenating local lodges that have been less than active. Give folks a purpose and a mission and it’s amazing what they can accomplish.
- Friendly competition – Make it even more appealing by having your local lodges compete for the most innovative and successful “Operation Purple” fundraiser. Recognize the winners on your Web site, in your publications, in a news release to the local media, and at your society’s meetings.
- It’s in our DNA – The majority of fraternals have “patriotism” as a component of their common bond. What’s more patriotic than supporting one of the most overlooked groups so integral to our national defense: the children of men and women serving in the military?
- Make it local by sending someone you know to camp – You can make the fundraising program even more relevant to your local lodges by having them dedicate their efforts to sending children of military families who live in their communities to an “Operation Purple” camp.
- A common cause for all fraternals – We all take great pride in the many different community service activities in which our societies and local lodges are engaged. But sometimes that diversity can “water down” the impact that the fraternal system can have as a whole. By having every society and local lodge doing one or two things in common – in addition to all their other activities – we can have a huge impact on national basis, demonstrate our cohesiveness and community service power, and build a brand identity for the fraternal system that would benefit every member society.
- It fits our public policy agenda, too – And by rallying around a common cause, we could create a terrific message to communicate to state and federal public policymakers!
- The need has never been greater and won’t go away any time soon – U.S. service men and women are deployed across the nation and around the world. Their children have unique needs and the NMFA is committed to fulfilling them. Those needs will only increase in the coming decade. Fraternals can play a key role in ensuring that “Operation Purple” can continue to provide the support that these children – and our nation – require to ensure healthy families and a strong defense.
- It’s easy – Want to know how you can participate? Just contact Elizabeth Snyder, Director of Advocacy and Public Policy, at firstname.lastname@example.org and she’ll provide you everything you need to get started…