As fires sweep across Colorado and threaten homes, communities and citizens, The American Legion’s National Emergency Fund (NEF) program is available to provide financial assistance to displaced Legionnaires and posts damaged as a result of the natural disaster. NEF can also give money grants to Legion posts that open their doors to their communities to provide shelter or an emergency action center.
Legionnaires and Sons of The American Legion members who maintain an active membership with their organizations are eligible for financial aid from NEF for up to $1,500. Applicants must be displaced from their primary residences, provide proof of out-of-pocket expenses (receipts, bank or credit card statements, etc.) and must only be applying the money toward immediate expenses (temporary housing, food, water, diapers, etc.) Posts are eligible for up to $5,000 and must provide proof of damage to their building and a letter explaining the post’s value to the community.
Legion posts in Colorado that are unaffected by the blazes are encouraged to set up emergency care centers or shelters in their buildings for displaced residents and give support to their communities in any way possible. Posts that provide such services can receive up to $5,000 from NEF to offset their costs. To qualify for this assistance grant, leadership from the post should send a letter to their department headquarters detailing the aid that the post provided. The letter should accompany the post’s application for NEF and any pictures or stories of the assistance efforts. Department headquarters will then forward the letter and application to National Headquarters.
Individual Legionnaires or Sons members who are requesting support from NEF should send their applications, along with supporting proof, to their department headquarters for review. If the application is approved, it is forwarded to National Headquarters to approve disbursement of funds. National Headquarters must receive all applications for NEF within 90 days of the natural disaster.
Posts that persevere through natural disasters and support their communities are recognized as examples of The American Legion at its best. Posts that handle emergency logistics, open their doors as an emergency action center, provide shelter or assist their communities in any way are eligible for the National Emergency Fund Post Excellence Award. Posts that receive the honor are recognized at the Legion’s annual national convention and receive a commemorative plaque.
Posts interested in applying for the award should send a 500-word narrative detailing their support effort to their department headquarters, along with newspaper clippings, video or photos as corroboration.
Questions about NEF or the award can be sent to David Elmore, Legion Membership assistant director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copies of the applications for NEF can be downloaded on the Legion’s NEF home page: www.legion.org/documents/legion/pdf/nefapplication_1007.pdf