The mission of the Elks National Foundation (ENF) is to help Elks build stronger communities. We fulfill this pledge by investing in communities where Elks live and work. Each year, ENF returns more dollars to Lodges that achieve their donation goal than is contributed. That's a proud tradition that helps the Hastings Lodge fund additonal programs around our area.
We provide tomorrow's leaders, our youth, with a healthy beginning; honor the Elks' pledge to never forget our veterans; help the state Elks associations accomplish their charitable objectives; and fund projects that improve the quality of life in local Elks communities.
A board of seven trustees, who are all past national presidents of the Order, governs the Elks National Foundation. The Foundation is located at the Elks national headquarters in the Elks Veterans Memorial in Chicago. The Foundation also has volunteers at the Lodge, district and state levels to help coordinate our fundraising strategy and implement our programs.
Since inception, the Foundation has received more than $201.2 million in contributions and bequests. All unrestricted donations go into a permanent endowment fund, where each gift earns interest for lifetimes. Today we boast more than 100,000 active donors and an endowment fund valued at $487.9 million. The ENF has contributed more than $324.6 million toward Elks' charitable projects nationwide. These funds support our three college scholarship programs, the Elks National Drug Awareness Program, the Elks National Hoop Shoot Free Throw Program, the Elks National Veterans Service Commission, the Community Investments Program, and grants to State Elks Associations.
In recent years, we've increased the impact of our programs. For example, we doubled the Legacy Awards scholarship program. The program, which awards scholarships exclusively to children and grandchildren of Elks, is now $1 million strong! In 2011-12, up to 250 four-year, $4,000 scholarships will be awarded through the Legacy Awards program.
With the belief that Elks know the needs of their communities better than we do, we launched the Community Investments Program in June 2005. The program's Gratitude Grants, Promise Grants and Impact Grants invest directly in Lodge communities. In 2011-12, the Gratitude Grants and Promise Grants will be worth up to $2,000 each, in order to give Lodges more resources to make an impact locally. Impact Grants, the program's newest component, are larger, competitive grants intended to address unmet needs in Elk communities. This year, the grant pool again will be $500,000. These funds will help Lodges meaningfully and visibly address needs in their communities.