SAL National Commander Mark Arneson

Getting the right 'buy in'

Members of The Sons of The American Legion raised nearly $150,000 during the 2010 Spring Meetings for The American Legion Child Welfare Foundation. The donations were the result of pledges being fulfilled by SAL detachments across the country.

"Despite the tough economic conditions, many SAL detachments have met and exceeded their pledges," said Mark Arneson, national commander of The Sons of The American Legion. "It's important to include your team members in goal setting if you want them to ‘buy in' to what you are striving to accomplish.

"Detachment leaders were a part of the goal setting process this year, and we simply asked them what they might be able to do. And they and all our members came through big time."

The Sons collected $149,837 the weekend prior to the Legion's National Executive Committee Spring Meetings the first week in May, Arneson said, exceeding the $80,000 to $90,000 usually collected during the same period. The SAL has surpassed by $7,000 its 2005 all-time record of $353,000 for CWF and is on track to raise more than $500,000 before this year's May 31 deadline.

"This year makes 17 consecutive years that the SAL has been the leading contributor to the CWF," Arneson said. "This is an accomplishment we are extremely proud of. Three short years ago we crossed the $3 million level; and this past membership year we surpassed the $4 million mark.

"Our affiliation with CWF has defined us as an organization. We believe in the mission of CWF and show our commitment by raising and donating substantial sums of money each year."

The American Legion Child Welfare Foundation accepts funding proposals from nonprofit organizations for projects that contribute to the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual welfare of children. Grants are only given to entities that help U.S. children in a large geographic area; they are not awarded for day-to-day operating expenses or special operating expenses.During CWF's annual board of directors meeting in Indianapolis last October, The American Legion Child Welfare Foundation awarded $636,869 to 19 nonprofit organizations.