How large is the Sons of The American Legion?
Each year since 1982, the Sons of The American Legion has set a new all-time high in membership. Currently, there are more than 350,000 members of the Sons in this country and abroad.
What is the administrative structure of the Sons?
Every member of the Sons belongs to a Squadron somewhere. The Squadron is the basic level of membership in our organization. Different states (Detachments) use different ways of grouping numbers of Squadrons together. In most states, Squadrons are grouped geographically and report to their own Districts (also called Areas or Divisions). All Districts (or Areas or Divisions) report to the state headquarters, referred to as a Detachment. All state Detachments report to the National Headquarters. In addition to the 50 state Detachments in the U.S., there are also some foreign countries which are Detachments; Mexico, Puerto Rico, Philippines and France.
What is the main purpose of the Sons?
The mission of the Sons is to support veterans and their families and the policies of our parent organization, The American Legion. Virtually everything that involves the Sons could be grouped under three areas: 1) support for veterans and their families, 2) promoting patriotism and Americanism and 3) promoting programs which benefit the youth of our country.
When was the Sons founded?
The American Legion established the Sons of The American Legion in 1932.
Why would someone want to join the Sons?
Different people have different reasons for belonging to organizations. For many, membership in the Sons has allowed them to become involved in American Legion programs alongside their fathers. Others belong out of respect for their parents' and grandparents' service to our country in the military. Many younger members get involved and learn valuable leadership skills involving organization, public speaking, negotiating, budgeting and fundraising skills. Membership in our organization also provides individuals with opportunities to forge lifelong friendships with people who share a common bond.
Who runs the Sons?
The governing legislative body of the Sons is its National Convention. Detachments (states) send representatives to the National Convention each year to elect national officers and conduct the business of the organization. Between conventions, authority is vested in the National Executive Committee, also made up of elected representatives from each Detachment. The N.E.C. meets twice annually. Nationally elected officers include the National Commander, five National Vice Commanders (responsible for Detachments in their own regions), the National Chaplain and the National Sergeant at-Arms.
What is the CWF?
The Child Welfare Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation which has two primary purposes. First, to contribute to the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual welfare of children and youth through the dissemination of knowledge about new and innovative organizations. Second, the CWF makes wider and more effective use of knowledge already possessed by well-established organizations. To attain these goals, the CWF raises money and awards grants to organizations which help children. The CWF is governed by its Board of Directors and a National Chairman. All administrative costs of the Child Welfare Foundation are borne by The American Legion so that 100% of all money raised for the Foundation is used exclusively for grants.
How does an organization get a grant from the CWF?
Any organization interested in being considered for a CWF grant must obtain a Grant Application Form from the National Headquarters, fill it out and return it.
How can I contact the CWF?
Questions, comments and donations can be sent to:
The American Legion
Child Welfare Foundation
P.O. Box 1055
Indianapolis, IN 46206
Does the CWF operate on a calendar year or a fiscal year?
The CWF operates on a fiscal year, which runs from June 1st thru May 31st.
I hear the S.A.L. is a major contributor to the CWF. Is this true?
Yes. The Sons of The American Legion is the single largest contributor to the CWF. This past year, the S.A.L. contributed more than $220,000 to the CWF. In less than a decade, the S.A.L. has accounted for more than $1 million to the CWF.
If the S.A.L. is such a large contributor, why isn't there a designated Foundation Board seat for the S.A.L.?
The current CWF Constitution and By-Laws do not provide for the addition of an S.A.L.-specific Board member. Such a change would impact the CWF's standing before the IRS which could cost the Foundation thousands of dollars. Perhaps it's important to note that the National Chairman of the CWF is David Ridenour, an active member of the S.A.L. who also serves as Chairman of the S.A.L. National Child Welfare Committee.
Can donations be made to the CWF as a memorial?
Yes. Memorial certificates are made for donations of $20 or more. Donations of $300 or more are recognized with plaques.
How can we get CWF collection canisters, coffee cups and other CWF items to sell?
Contact the National Headquarters by phone: (317) 630-1202 and ask for the Child Welfare Foundation.
Can we get awards for selling CWF items?
Yes. Every year at the National Convention, the National Chairman gives out certificates to Detachments, Districts, Squadrons and individual members who have made significant donations to the CWF. Awards are also given out to recognize the Detachments which has made the largest per capita donations. These awards are given out at the National Convention:
- Garland R. Murphy, Jr. Award - for the Detachment with the highest $$ donations
- Mighty RAT - for the Top RAT in the nation
- Top Ten Award - for the top ten Detachment dollar amounts
- Foundation Alumni Network Plaques - Bronze ($500), $750 (Silver), $1,000 (Gold)
- Foundation Alumni Network Pins - $100-199 (amethyst), $200-299 (blue sapphire), $300-399 (ruby), $400-499 (emerald), $500-999 (diamond), $1,000-or more (5 diamonds)
How do I know if I'm eligible to join the Sons?
Membership in this organization is established through an individual's parents' or grandparents' military service. Essentially, if your parents or grandparents are (or were) eligible to join The American Legion, you would be eligible to join the Sons of The American Legion.
Are girls or women eligible to join the Sons?
No. Only males are eligible to join the Sons. Women who are veterans and are eligible to join The American Legion are welcome and encouraged to do so. The American Legion Auxiliary was established to provide Legion Family membership for female relatives of Legionnaires.
How can I sign up for the Sons?
You should check with someone at The American Legion Post nearest you. There is a good chance that Post will have its own Squadron of the Sons. If not, someone at the Post should be able to tell you where to find a Squadron near you. If not, contact the S.A.L. National Headquarters for information about finding a nearby Squadron.
I am a member of The American Legion. Can I also belong to the Sons?
Yes! Many veterans who are eligible for membership in The American Legion are also eligible to join the Sons. They are very much welcome to belong to both organizations. We call these individuals dual members. They are quite often an important link between the Sons and The Legion Post in their home towns.
How much does it cost to belong to the Sons?
There is no simple answer for this question. Each Squadron establishes its dues requirements. Also, many Squadrons have a reduced dues rate for youngsters. Generally speaking, annual dues normally run between $10 and $30. We have a slogan within the Sons which addresses the issue of dues: It's not the price you pay for membership...it's the price your forefathers paid to make you eligible!"
I am moving to a new town and want to transfer my membership there. How do I get a new card?
Be sure to report your new address. You can do that in person through your new Squadron Adjutant, or you can do it electronically by going to The Legion's Web site and filling out an electronic form.
The American Legion offers programs for honorary memberships and "Paid Up For Life" (PUFL). Does the S.A.L. offer these same membership programs?
Not really. Squadrons that want to honor an individual with an honorary membership must take care of renewing that individual's membership annually. There is no way to pre-pay for future years' memberships. Also, there is no program for an individual to make a lump-sum payment that will cover his membership for the rest of his life. In these respects, the Sons is quite different from its parent.
Can an S.A.L. member sign up a new Legion member and vice versa?
Yes! The same applies to Auxiliary membership. As long as the necessary membership application is filled out and the prospective member provides a copy of his/her DD-214 discharge papers (this applies to Legion membership...prospective S.A.L. and Auxiliary members need to supply a copy of discharge papers for the relative through whom their eligibility is established) and they pay the appropriate amount for dues, simply submit these materials to the Legion or S.A.L. Adjutant. In fact...many members of the Sons like to carry around blank copies of membership applications for each of the Legion Family organizations, just in case.
How do Sons assist veterans?
The number of possible responses to this question is infinite. Sons assist veterans and their families in many, many ways. There are many programs designed to aid current veterans. Many Squadrons go out of their way to assist the families of servicemen/women who are away from home on active duty. Sons volunteer untold numbers of man-hours doing chores for veterans who need help around their homes. Sons rack up hundreds of thousands of man-hours volunteering in VA hospitals around the country. The list could go on forever!
Does the S.A.L. have an interest in Fisher House?
Yes! Fisher Houses are much like the well-known Ronald McDonald Houses located around the country. Fisher Houses are located near a number of VA hospitals or medical centers or military bases. The houses are there to assist veterans and their families overcome the costly burden of staying somewhere when a loved one is using a VA medical facility. The S.A.L. now actively raises money to help the Fisher House Foundation.
How can I become more involved in assisting with veterans' issues in my community?
The American Legion elects individuals to serve as Service Officers at the local, District, state and national levels. There are many established Legion programs to assist veterans. Contact a Legion Service Officer in your area and find out where your assistance might be needed.
What is the National Update?
National Update is the official newsletter of the Sons of The American Legion. It is printed and mailed out to members three times a year. A special issue is also printed at the site of the National Convention each year. The newsletter contains information of interest and importance to members at all levels of the organization. Each issue of the newsletter contains feature stories, news articles, messages from National Officers, updates from National Commissions and Committees. There are also pictures and news clips from Squadrons and Detachments around the nation.
Can I submit information about my Squadron/Detachment for publication?
Yes! Anyone is welcome to submit ideas, stories, newspaper clippings, photos, etc. for consideration. We can never guarantee that everything sent in will get published, but we do our best to include information from as many sources as possible. We want to spread the word about what individuals, Squadrons, Districts and Detachments are doing to further the work of The American Legion and the Sons. If you have something you think should be included in an upcoming issue of the National Update, e-mail it to:
c/o Mike Pipher, Editor
Why am I not getting my newsletter?
There are many reasons why people might not be receiving a copy of the newsletter through the mail. The most common reason is that the member has moved sometime in the recent past and his change of address was not properly recorded at the Squadron, District, Detachment or National level. The first person to check with would be the Squadron Adjutant, to see if the Adjutant's records properly reflect your current mailing address.
The time of year that you joined the S.A.L. or renewed your membership can have an effect on receiving the newsletter. The massive mailing lists at the National Headquarters are updated a couple of times each year. If your address has changed, it might miss one of the computer update cycles, which would cause a delay in getting your newsletter to you.
It's important to remember that only one copy of the newsletter is mailed to any single address. If there is more than one S.A.L. member at the same address, the computers at the National Headquarters will only print out one mailing label for that household (it's done alphabetically).
It's also important to remember that the newsletter is mailed only to addresses inside the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii.