When I was elected the 2013-2014 national commander during the 95th National Convention in Houston last August, I announced that the Legion's National Emergency Fund would be my fundraising project. I set a donation goal of $1 million, which came down to just 50 cents a member. However, as my time as your national commander comes to a close, NEF donations stand at less than $425,000. I'm not giving up; I know we can still meet the $1 million goal!
The American Legion Department of Illinois is only a few thousand dollars shy of reaching its $46,000 NEF goal – a success accomplished by asking for 50 cents a member. And the Department of Nebraska surpassed its $18,000 NEF goal by nearly $5,000 by asking for $1 from its members; members in District 3 donated $1.50. "When I was a district commander, I gave out some NEF funds to a Legionnaire (who was a victim of disaster)," said Dave Bruckner, department commander of Nebraska. "The looks on the family's faces when I presented the check made me want to get involved all the more with this project."
In 2013, NEF granted nearly $750,000 in assistance to victims. We don't know when or where the next disaster will occur, nor do we know how severe it will be. We do know that Legionnaires, posts and family members will need assistance as they recover from a tragedy. NEF donations help Legion Family members pay bills and posts rebuild after a disaster. And remember, 100 percent of donations go toward NEF grants.
There is still time to collect 50 cents from members in your department or to host an NEF fundraiser. Let's hit the $1 million goal so The American Legion can continue to financially assist Legionnaires and their family members when a natural disaster strikes.