MICHIGAN ELKS ASSOCIATION
Major Project Commission
Lodge Chairman’s Informational
and Instructional Manual
The “Questions People Ask” brochure has recently been revised and explains, in detail, our Major Project program, eligibility rules, what assistance is given, how to apply for assistance and how the program is funded. This may be sent out with your bulletin or handed out at one of your Major Project functions.
The Major Project “365” Bank program involves the Lodge or member filling up a “365” bank with coins as a contribution to Major Project. The name “365 Bank” comes from the calendar year of 365 days. The slogan is “A coin a day to aid a special needs child” This program has been very successful in raising funds for the Project.
The yellow gift/memorial envelope is explained in this Major Project manual.
The above three items are available on request from the Major Project office. They also should be placed in the information package given to each new member initiated or transferred in from another lodge.
This manual also covers instructions, along with samples of the white contribution form, yellow Request for Assistance form, the pink Authorization for Assistance form and our Golden Crutch program.
If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact this office.
MICHIGAN ELKS ASSOCIATION
MAJOR PROJECT COMMISSION
Big Rapids, MI 49307-1134
Eligibility Rules for Assistance
The Elks will assist any special needs child in Michigan, regardless of race, creed, or color, who is unable to obtain assistance from other agencies or organizations; whose family’s monthly income will not allow them to give the child the needed treatment. Relationship to a member of the Order of Elks is not required.
What Is A Special Needs Child?
Elks define a special need as any deformity in a child that restricts his or her ability to function in a normal manner. The only cases presently excluded are orthodonics, severe heart or mental conditions and organ transplants. This program is not classified for educational purposes, such as tuition for special education schools, nor outings in camps designated for vacation purposes.
Any applicant under the age of 18 years may apply. The main objective of the program is to assist children from one month to 12 years of age, however; ages up to 18 years will also be given consideration.
What Kind Of Help Is Given?
We will provide assistance that is medical in nature rather then educational. Tuition for schools for mentally retarded children does not qualify. However, if the condition of the child indicates that treatment would improve the child’s condition, it will be given consideration.
How Are Children Selected?
Major Project Chairmen in each lodge receives the requests from families in their lodge area of jurisdiction. They will submit an application to the Major Project office for approval or rejection. Information from doctors, health departments, social services, and schools will be accepted and submitted by the Chairmen. In submitting cases the families are asked to share a portion of the expenses if they can possible afford to do so. Also, the Major Project would like to share expenses with any other agency, if they so desire.
Amount of Assistance Given
Financial aid will be given up to a maximum amount, depending on the circumstances and the family income. At no time will the Major Project become obligated for care beyond the limit of funds available. All contacts regarding any case being financed by the Major Project will be between the family and the Elks, with no other persons involved.
The Major Project does not distribute funds to any family who applies for assistance, funds are only paid directly to doctors, hospitals, vendors of medical equipment, camps for special needs, pharmacies, special therapy institutes, etc. Purchases are exempt from Michigan Sales Tax.
Dental Treatment Qualifications
At the present time the only dental work that will be considered for funding by the Major Project are cases associated with cleft palate and hare lip.
Purchase of Equipment
Appliances and equipment may be supplied upon recommendations of a competent authority. This includes braces, wheelchairs, wheelchair ramps, orthopedic shoes (prescription required), hearing aids, communication devices, and such other equipment that may be helpful in the child’s progress. Intricate items of equipment which serve as a convenience, not required in the process of treatment will not be approved.
We do not purchase or donate equipment to any other agency or program. All equipment remains the property of the Major Project.
The Major Project may provide facilitating services when essential to treatment, such as special examinations, therapy, and special prescriptions. The Major Project will also sponsor attendance at Speech Camps, Diabetic Camps, and Special Therapy Camps. Camps for recreational purposes or vacations do not qualify.
As of March 31, 2006, individual speech therapy sessions are no longer covered by Major Project.
The Major Project has a verbal agreement with all camps as to the amount of money that will be provided (set amount). The family is to be responsible for the registration fee, unless arrangements can be made with the Camp Director.
What Is The Overall Aim Of The Elks Major Project?
Our one major goal is to help the child become a self-sufficient, healthy, contributing citizen. We will gladly refer any child to other agencies who can, and will, take care of his or her needs and we will receive referrals of those cases we can handle. When no one else will help, the Major Project stands ready to do all that can be done to care for the unfortunate.
Final Reminder on Case Approval
A copy of the parents’ or guardians’ Federal 1040 Tax Return must accompany the Request for Assistance form. In case the family does not file income tax returns, a copy of their authorization showing funds received from the Department of Social Services or Supplemental Social Security Income will be acceptable in lieu of the 1040.
Funding the Program
Elks’ Lodges in Michigan supply the necessary funds to manage this charitable program for special needs children. The practice of Charity is the corner-stone of this Fraternal Order.
Elks’ Lodges collect contributions at the rate of $1.00 or more per member per year. Donations are made by lodge members to their lodge Secretaries when they pay their dues.
Many Lodges include the Major Project in their regular budgets. Lodge dues are regulated to include the contribution from members and Lodges to finance participation in this Association program.
Many members also support the program with special individual donations. They do this through their Lodge or directly to the Major Project Commission.
Lady Elks’ organizations give generously to this benevolent project. These ladies’ organizations sponsor parties and special events to raise funds that are given to help these youngsters with special needs.
Several Lodges contribute to the Major Project in the names of members who are ill or hospitalized instead of sending flowers. The Lodge sends a “Get Well” card and the Major Project Commission sends a contribution gift acknowledgement card to the member.
Memorial donations and bequests are given in remembrance of members who are deceased. Contributions to the Major Project are given instead of funeral bouquets or sprays, providing living memorials for departed loved ones.
The Major Project “365” Banks are a major part of the contribution funds we receive. Many Lodges mail them out to the membership periodically in their bulletins. There is a place for the donor’s name and Lodges often acknowledge their contribution in the Lodge bulletin.
The Major Project also does a fall mailing of Christmas cards to each member. These cards are sent and a donation is requested, however, any donation is not mandatory on the member receiving the cards. This program has been a successful means of raising additional funds.
The Major Project is incorporated in the State of Michigan as a non-profit corporation. All contributions to the Elks Major Project are deductible for Federal income and estate tax purposes in the manner and to the extent provided by law under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Do You Know A Special Needs Child?
If you know a needy special needs child and want to give him or her some assistance, here’s what you can do:
Contact the Chairman of the Special Needs Children Committee in your lodge or the lodge nearest the child’s home.
Help the Chairman complete a simple “Request for Assistance” form for the child. This application is sent to the Major Project Commission.
When the Major Project Commission gives approval, assist the Chairman in getting the child to the doctor, hospital or other place where treatments will be given.
Follow-up to see that the child is getting the help he or she needs and notify the Chairman of any problems discovered.
Tell others about the good work that the local Lodge of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks is doing for the needy children in your community.
MEMORIALS AND GIFTS
Yellow Contribution Envelope
Memorial donations and bequests are given by members and lodges in remembrance of friends, members or relatives who are deceased. Contributions to the Major Project are given instead of funeral bouquets or plants, providing living memorials for departed loved ones.
Some lodges contribute to the Major Project in the names of members who are ill or hospitalized, instead of sending flowers. The lodge sends a get well card and the memorial gift is acknowledged to the member by the Major Project Commission.
An appropriate acknowledgment card is sent with the name of the donor to the person or family designated. An acknowledgment is also sent to the donor. The amount of the gift will be held in confidence.
The lodge name and number should also be stamped on the envelope so proper credit can be given for lodge contributions. All contributions to the Elks Major Project are tax deductible.
These are to be used when sending in contributions to the Major Project. This insures that the Lodge or ladies’ groups receive credit in the proper category. A duplicate copy should be kept for lodge records. An acknowledgment form is mailed out when the contribution is received by the Major Project. Quarterly Reports are mailed out at the end of June, September, December, and March. These list the total individual Lodge contributions by category and the amount paid by the Major Project on Lodge cases to date. These Reports are mailed to either the Exalted Ruler or Lodge Major Project Chairman.
Another of our major contribution funds is the “Gold Crutch Club.” The money is raised by selling our Gold Crutch lapel pins. To enhance this program a little more, the pins will now be on sale for $3.00 apiece or two for $5.00. Several Lodges sell the pins for more than the amounts listed above.
The Gold Crutch pins are available from the Major Project office. You may also collect monies for this fund without selling pins. Some members who already have their pins wish to donate to the fund each year, and this is certainly acceptable.
The Gold Crutch program runs from April 1st to March 31st each year. The Awards for this program are presented at the Spring Convention.
REQUEST FOR ASSISTANCE
This form is to be used for all requests for assistance.
All applications for assistance, including camp programs, should be handled the same. The family will contact the Major Project Chairman of the nearest Elks Lodge, fill out all information on the yellow application form, sign it and return it to the Major Project Chairman of the Lodge. The Chairman will fill out the lower half of the back of the form with recommendations and signatures and mail it to this office. In any cases handled, if you have additional information or photographs, please enclose it with the application. A case number will be assigned when approved and you will be notified. You will also be notified in case of rejection.
In processing an application, do not make any obligation of the Elks Major Project before the case is approved. Each case should be handled individually with a personal interview, if possible, either at their home or at the Lodge. The information should be filled out by the family and the Chairman. Do not distribute the yellow forms to any school, group, doctor, etc.
On camp applications, the family should apply to the camp before contacting the Elks. The Major Project office will process the application after notification from the camp that the child has been accepted. The office usually starts processing the camp applications in mid-April.
What help is requested from the Elks Major Project? On the bottom front of the application, please be as specific as possible. We need to know exactly what help is requested and cost, if possible. On a camp application, please include the name of the camp and dates.
A copy of the parents’ or guardians’ latest Federal 1040 Tax Return must accompany the Request for Assistance form. In case the family does not file income tax returns, a copy of their authorization showing funds received from the Department of Social Services or Supplemental Social Security Income will be acceptable in lieu of the 1040.
In all cases, the child has to be under the age of 18 and a resident of the state of Michigan. Relationship to a member of the Elks is not required.
AUTHORIZATION TO HELP A SPECIAL NEEDS CHILD
A case number is assigned when the Application is approved. The Authorization is sent to the Lodge Major Project Chairman, family, camp, doctor, hospital, etc. This tells exactly what we have authorized as far as treatment, therapy, camp, purchases, etc.
We do not distribute any funds to the family that applies for assistance, only to doctors, hospitals, vendors of medical equipment, camps for special needs, pharmacies, special therapy institutes, etc. Purchases are exempt from Michigan sales tax.
The Major Project does not pay travel expenses or lodging for the family of a child receiving treatment outside of their own city.
Please keep in mind that the family’s income and the number of dependent children in the family are deciding factors in approving or disapproving a case.
Be reminded again, that under no circumstances should the family be told by the Major Project Chairman that the case will be approved. Only the Executive Director has this authority or, in the case of an emergency, one of the Major Project Commissioners.
EMERGENCY FUND GRANT
Has your community had a fund drive to help a child hurt in a freak accident, a fire victim, a child in need of an organ transplant, etc.? You know that the Major Project helps children suffering from long-term type illnesses, but you were never sure that they would help in the above mentioned cases.
The Major Project has approved an “Emergency Fund Grant” to give the Lodges the ability to act and get the immediate financial help needed to show that “Elks Care” and “Elks Share.”
The proposal states that the Major Project Chairman initiates the official action in providing this help, but it is any officer or member that hears of a situation where we can help that should alert the Chairman to act. Don’t miss the opportunity to get the Elks involved.
The Michigan Elks Major Project will establish an annual fund which will be available for individual grants of $1,000 to $3,000 to be donated in the name of the Lodge requesting the Grant. The Lodge’s Major Project Chairman will initiate the request that must be approved by the local district’s commissioner and the Executive Director. Although the request may be in response to a community fund drive to help a child (birth to 18 years), the money will be directed to a hospital, a clinic, doctors performing the health care, or to a fund set up by an administrator or local bank.
A request for the Grant by a Lodge should be submitted on the yellow Major Project Request for Assistance form and marked “Emergency Fund Grant.” The form will give information about the child; identify the infliction suffered by the child and information about the community effort to provide assistance. This may be in the form of a news release.