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Feel free to ask questions about the VA, about members away from home, VFW and/or American Legion information and just about anything else you need to know about military veterans from the Eagle Lake, Texas area. We’re here to help.
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What does ELEMA do? Posted Thursday, September 6, 2012 03:39 PM from 18.104.22.168
ELEMA (Eagle Lake Ex-Military Association) grew out of a discussion by some members of the local American Legion and VFW posts. The gist of the discussion was that the people of Eagle Lake were being asked, via our fund raising efforts, to contribute money to help Military Veterans. That is all well and good and for a very good cause. However, most of those funds now have to go to the state and national wings of the organizations thus leaving the locals with hardly any funds to support local Veterans.
Speaking about the VFW, as opposed to speaking for it, an annual membership is $20.00 per year. The local post gets to keep $2.00 of that. We have 44 members. We’re supposed to operate on $88.00??? That won’t hardly even pay for a funeral flag. Life members one time dues are anywhere from $200.00 up to $500.00 depending upon the age of the member upon joining. What does the local get? $9.00!!! a year. We have 27 life members. That’s $243.00 a year. Every year we have to send approximately $1500.00 to the Department(state) and the National headquarters for programs they have committed us to that have absolutely nothing to do with helping military Veterans. So, our existence depends upon the good will of our members that can afford to make extra contributions to the local post. If that is not enough, all throughout the year we get orders (as if we were still in the military) to conduct contests and fundraisers and send 100% of those funds up the river.
Why is this happening? I’ll tell you. First, check this out:
KANSAS CITY, Missouri – A published analysis of the nation’s large charities ranks Kansas City based Veterans of Foreign Wars at the bottom of the list for efficiency.
Records indicate the VFW spent more than $23 million to generate $55.5 million in revenues.
Forbes Magazine evaluated America’s 200 largest charities singling out the Veterans of Foreign Wars as having “the worst financial efficiencies on the list by far.”
Tuesday, at the nation’s VFW headquarters in Kansas City, officials declined on-camera interviews, but off-camera called the ranking unfair.
“We’re somewhat unique in that very long list of charitable organizations, but we’re being lumped in,” said VFW Spokesman Jerry Newberry.
Analysts at Guidestar.org , a website that tracks non-profit fundraising, say creating fundraising dollar ratios isn’t a proven way to show non-profit success.
“None of these ratios has been shown to have any correlation to how effectively an organization performs its mission, which is still what a donor should be trying to determine when making a contribution,” said Vice President of Guidestar Research Chuck McLean. “If you are going to compare ratios, you need to compare organizations of similar types in similar situations.”
The VFW blamed its high cost on the lower than average per donor contributions of its aging supporter base.
“We’re slowly trying to do more online which will eliminate costs,” Newberry said. “These are all small donors who contribute an average of $5. It’s an expensive proposition.”
Newberry said additional costs are incurred by trying to expand the VFW’s donor base.
In one case, tax records indicate the VFW paid a telemarketing firm about $947, 000 dollars, but the firm only raised $913,000, leaving a net loss of about $34,000.
IRS records show the VFW spent $18.5 million on direct mail alone.
“The only way we have to reach most of them is by mail.” Newberry said. “We’re held hostage, as you know postal increases keep going up, so costs keep going up.
VFW officials said 70% of funds raised by the organization go directly to programs benefiting veterans, which is verified by IRS records if you include the veterans’ group’s entire budget.
For fundraising dollars the number is lower.
Tax records indicate out of about $55.5 million in 2009 contributions, the VFW paid out $23 million in fundraising to get it, meaning the VFW retained only 60 cents of every dollar raised.
Tax records indicate last year, the VFW lost nearly 7.5 million dollars.
The Forbes article identified the following charities as “America’s 10 least efficient large charities;” Veterans of Foreign Wars, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Educational Broadcasting Network (WNET), Northern California Public Broadcasting, Operation Smile, Smithsonian Institution, Disabled American Veterans, American Diabetes Association, World Wildlife Fund, and Girls Scouts of the USA.
The VFW identified its primary services as:
• Financial assistance for families of deployed troops • Dedicated VFW service officers to aid veterans in filing benefits claims • Free phone card program to allow active-duty personnel and VA patients to connect with their family members • Scholarship programs • Educational outreach • Youth activities • Community service
Read more: http://www.kshb.com/dpp/news/local_news/investigations/kc’s-vfw-fundraising-ranked-”the-worst’-for-financial-efficiences-by-forbes-magazine#ixzz25ipFwSXr
And that’s not the half of it. Two years ago, at a district meeting, we were told that someone up at national “misplaced” 5 MILLION DOLLARS! That event was later reported on television and in newspapers that someone had convinced the VFW to invest their foundation funds with them and they lost it all.
At this time the VFW is losing members hand over fist. Membership in Texas alone was down over 44,000 last year.
So a group of Eagle Lake Veterans decided that we were no longer going to support such malfeasence any longer and therefore we formed a Non-profit organization entitled The Eagle Lake Ex-Military Association. Our tax exempt recognition is expected any day now.
So what is our purpose? Very simple. To help military Veterans living in the immediate Eagle Lake area that are in need and to help widows, sons and/or daughters of fallen military veterans in their time of need.
How do we do that. We help our military Veterans enroll at the VA Hospital so they can receive the benefits they have earned. One of our members has made numerous trips back and forth to Houston to enroll several of our military Veterans and then more trips to take them in for doctors appointments. Our members have helped widows of our fallen military Veterans with things like mowing their lawn when the city got after them or fixing a broken gate on their fence, or donating a wheel chair to a local church so invalid senior citizens don’t have to walk up to the church entrance. In other words, whatever a local military Veteran or their family needs, we intend to be there to help. We will do that by our labor, our time or just taking up a collection from the community to help buy food or medicine. We will do that by writing letters to active duty personnel to let them know we haven’t forgotten them and maybe sending them a little something at Christmas. That’s our primary commitment. Along with that goes the promise that when we do a fundraising event, the money we raise will help local military veterans and their families ONLY!
So that’s who we are and that’s what we do. And if you are an Eagle Lake military Veteran, we could sure use your help. We have no dues and there is only one general membership meeting a year. All you have to do is promise that you will lend a hand, any way you can, if you can, when you can. Nothing is mandatory. We only want your help if you really want to help. Simple as that. If you want to join up just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us how to get in touch with you.
If you are a resident of the Eagle Lake, Texas area but not an Eagle Lake military Veteran, we can still use your help. Same deal. If you want to help, when you can, any way you can. Just email us at the addy above and tell us how to get in touch with you.