Pratt Hope Center receives Pratt Elks Lodge Spotlight Grant

By Linda Stelzer
The Pratt Hope Center was presented with a $2,000 check that was made possible by the Pratt Elks Lodge Spotlight Grant on Tuesday, August 17. (From left to right) Pam Ford, the Hope Center Director; Rev. Scott Powell, the Hope Center Board President; Eric McManaman, the Pratt Elks Lodge #1451 Exalted Ruler; and Kenneth Gates, Pratt Elks Lodge #1451 Lecturing Knight.

The Pratt Hope Center was presented with a $2000 check that was made possible by the Pratt Elks Lodge Spotlight Grant on Tuesday, August 17. In addition to the Spotlight Grant, two other categories of grants will be presented in the near future: Beacon Grants and Gratitude Grants.

The Hope Center coordinates efforts among charitable groups and resources in the community and provides resources for the benefit of disadvantaged individuals and families in the greater Pratt, Kansas area.

Donating directly to the Hope Center was deemed most appropriate by the Pratt Elks Lodge because the center is equipped to serve people in need who have been affected by the pandemic in the community. Donating directly to the Hope Center also allows the funds to be funneled into the most critical areas of need, as determined by the Hope Center Director, Pamela Ford, and Board Members.

All Elks Community Investment Program (CIP) grants must be used for charitable purposes. Six broad categories, defined as charitable by the IRS, must be kept in mind when planning a grant project: relieve the poor, distressed, or underprivileged; advance education or science, but not through scholarships; lessen the burdens of government; lessen neighborhood tensions; eliminate prejudice and discrimination; combat juvenile delinquency.

The grant committee, Team Elk Grants (TEG), includes Sandy Foster, Brenda Riffey, and Linda Stelzer. Applications for three grants were approved in early August of this year.

Spotlight Grants are $2,000 grants that shine a light on pressing issues facing American communities, including COVID-19 relief, which continues to be a significant need due to the ongoing pandemic. Flexibility was built into this grant last year and continues this year.

Beacon Grants are $3,500 grants that must be used for active projects. The ongoing nature of the pandemic has allowed flexibility for Lodges to meet pressing needs in their own backyards this year. The Lodge will continue its Beacon Grant project with safety precautions, and it will continue the partnership to purchase brand-new winter coats for children in need across North America through Operation Warm.

After the order for coats is met, books will complete the grant along with the partnership with the Pratt Public Library, where coats and books will be distributed, or to the PreK classroom area libraries.

Gratitude Grants range from $2,000 to $3,000. They are the Elks National Foundation’s (ENF) way of saying thank you to every Lodge that meets the National President’s per-member goal for giving to the ENF. The Pratt Elks Lodge was awarded $2,500 for their eligibility in meeting the Grand Exalted Ruler’s per-member-giving goal in the prior fiscal year. Gratitude Grants must be used to support local, charitable activities, and due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the approach has been adapted.

The focus of the Lodge’s charitable project will be on the Fort Dodge Soldier’s Home. With the Lodge’s continued support of veteran activities and programs, the decision was made to use the Gratitude Grant at the Fort Dodge Soldier’s Home. Funds will be used for recliners in specified sitting areas for dementia care patients as well as two robotic cats, designed to bring comfort and companionship, and two virtual reality headsets that will allow the freedom to travel outside the facility, explore, and learn through the experience.

The goal is for veterans to be given thanks for their time and service and to know they are being remembered through the Lodge’s continued support.