Feb
21

Touchstone Story #86–Support Behind the Scenes

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Launched in 1990, the SightFirst project was the largest, most ambitious campaign Lions Clubs International had ever undertaken. In partnership with governments and nonprofits around the world, Lions aspired to greatly reduce preventable and reversible blindness. Such a massive undertaking would require the enthusiastic participation of as many Lions and clubs as possible. The association estimated it would need to raise at least $130 million from Lions. Lions Clubs International Foundation issued a challenge to raise the funds by June 1994.

But Lions faced another more subtle but vitally important challenge. How would LCIF handle the accounting side of the campaign and process all these gifts and pledges?

“Lions had never done anything to this scale before,” said Yvonne Novak, LCIF donor services analysis coordinator. “We were building the system to handle pledges at the same time they were coming in.”

LCIF did not have a computer infrastructure ready to track everything for a campaign of this size. Reminders would have to be sent and pledges collected in addition to the initial recording. The process would last for years. In the meantime, every pledge and donation had to have a number, and it all had to be done by hand. LCIF struggled to keep up, overwhelmed with paperwork, especially during the final year of the campaign when the majority of the pledges and donations arrived.

Word went out to the entire Lions headquarters staff asking for help. Lions staffers worked extra hours during the week and on Saturdays and Sundays to make the campaign possible. Additional workers were hired and quickly trained to assist.

By the time the campaign ended in July 1994, Lions exceeded the initial goal, raising more than $146 million to help rid the world of preventable blindness. While the rest of the organization celebrated, the LCIF donor services staff didn’t pause long. They remained hard at work for months making sure every pledge was properly recorded. And during the next several years, the accounting department collected and processed the payments against the pledges.

The results were more than worth the effort. Millions of people worldwide had their sight restored or preserved because of the efforts of Lions—and the behind-the-scenes efforts of LCIF staff.

“We raised a lot of money, proved we could do it, survived it, and helped so many people around the world,” Novak said. “The programs are still going strong.”

“People every year now [are] getting their sight restored because of our SightFirst program through cataract surgery,” said Past International President Austin P. Jennings, who served as president from 1988-89 and served as the International Lead Gifts Coordinator for the campaign.

“It was most encouraging to know what can happen when we all decide that we are going to do [something], do it the right way and do it together,” said Jennings.

When Campaign SightFirst II began 10 years later, LCIF knew the challenges that might arise. This time, the staff was better prepared, and LCIF introduced a brand-new computer system to help handle the even bigger campaign. It was a smart move—Campaign SightFirst II raised more than $200 million.

Explore the exciting history of Lions Clubs International with our exclusive Touchstone Stories series. Don’t forget to share these stories with new members so they gain an understanding of Lions history!

 

Feb
19

1st OSEAL Leo Forum

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In November, the Leos of Constitutional Area V gathered in Malaysia for the first ever OSEAL Leo Forum. Forum organizer Leo Bernard Cheang shares how connecting Leos from all over OSEAL inspired the event and gave participants a platform to exchange ideas and cultures in service.

 

 

What was great about this event? 

The best part of OSEAL Leo Forum was that it was the first time that Leos from all over OSEAL were brought together. The forum gave OSEAL Leos the platform to explore different cultures, make new friends and discuss innovative ways that we could make an impact in society together despite our distance. We had Leos from Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, and Thailand, connecting and building relationships with one another.

 

 

What inspired you to lead this event? 

The biggest inspiration for hosting the very first OSEAL Leo Forum was our drive to connect the Leos of OSEAL. We felt that by bringing different people from different places, our unique experiences would lead to collective global ideas in servicing our communities. This inspiration was the theme for the forum, “Engage, Enrich and Empower,” and we hoped all Leos that attended left feeling empowered to engage in their communities.

 


What was the most memorable part of the event? 

My favorite event of the forum was definitely on the second night when we held the “Fellowship Dinner”. It was ridiculously fun! We played different games, had amazing performances from different cultures, and held a great dance party to end the night. There were so many smiles, laughs and happy memories from that day. It was truly inspiring to see so many Leos let loose and enjoy themselves on the last night. It showcased that we successfully engaged and connected Leos from all over OSEAL.

 

 

Don’t miss out on upcoming international Leo events! For a list of events near you, check out the Leo events webpage.

 

Feb
14

Touchstone Story #65–Full Moon Baby Day

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More than 500 full moons have risen and set since 1967 when the Galle Lions Club was founded in the old port city on the southwestern tip of Sri Lanka. And over that time, tens of thousands of babies have been born in Galle.

These two cycles of nature may seem unconnected. But for the Galle Lions Club, they are the source of a unique and rich tradition of service.

Every month when there is a full moon, the day is called a poya. These 12 full-moon days of the year have deep significance in Sri Lankan culture. Poya days commemorate key events in the life of the Buddha, including his birth, enlightenment and death. There is also a poya day marking the Buddha’s first visit to the island around 528 B.C.E.

Leap forward 2,500 years to the Lions’ first meeting in Galle in 1967. Barely had the charter been read and the Lions’ flag unfurled when members began asking, “How will we serve?” Lady Lions and members’ spouses had the answer. Celebrate each poya day with gifts to babies born during that particular lunar month.

The women began sewing baby clothes and distributing them at local hospitals to the poor. They collected powdered milk, diapers, and other nursery items for poya day visits with mothers and their newborns.

Today, with men and women now participating as full Lions club members, the project continues to grow—proof that the Lion spirit of service shines everywhere that the moon does.

Explore the exciting history of Lions Clubs International with our exclusive Touchstone Stories series. They’re a great resource for promoting service at your club meetings!

Earthquake damage
Feb
10

LCIF Awards Disaster Grants, January 2018

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Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) offers a variety of funding options to support various stages for disaster relief operations, including Disaster Preparedness, Emergency, Community Recovery and Major Catastrophe Grants.

For districts impacted by a natural disaster including tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, and tsunamis, Emergency Grants provide up to US$10,000. Lions district governors may apply for disaster relief funds to help meet immediate needs such as food, water, clothing and medical supplies. LCIF typically awards more than US$2 million in Emergency Grant funding each year. Community Recovery Grants aid districts interested in supporting short-term cleanup and repair efforts in situations where other organizations have already addressed immediate needs. Lions district governors may submit proposals for community recovery grants.

In January 2018, LCIF awarded 3 Emergency Grants, 2 Disaster Preparedness Grants and 1 Community Recovery Grant totaling US$55,000. These grants are addressing immediate needs in:

Philippines, District 301-A2
US$5,000 for volcano relief

Iowa, USA, District 9-NE
US$10,000 for community relief

Vermont, USA, District 45
US$10,000 for flood relief

Japan, District 336-A
US$10,000 for disaster preparedness

Japan, District 334-D
US$10,000 for disaster preparedness

Peru, District H-2
US$10,000 for earthquake relief

Please consider making a donation to LCIF’s disaster fund today.

Donate to LCIF

Thailand flood victims gathered
Feb
9

LCIF Awards Disaster Grants, December 2017

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Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) offers a variety of funding options to support various stages for disaster relief operations, including Disaster Preparedness, Emergency, Community Recovery and Major Catastrophe Grants.

For districts impacted by a natural disaster including tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, and tsunamis, Emergency Grants provide up to US$10,000. Lions district governors may apply for disaster relief funds to help meet immediate needs such as food, water, clothing and medical supplies. LCIF typically awards more than US$2 million in Emergency Grant funding each year. Community Recovery Grants aid districts interested in supporting short-term cleanup and repair efforts in situations where other organizations have already addressed immediate needs. Lions district governors may submit proposals for community recovery grants.

In December 2017, LCIF awarded 10 Emergency Grants and 1 Community Recovery Grant totaling US$115,000. These grants are addressing immediate needs in:

India, District 324-B4
US$10,000 for cyclone relief

India, District 318-A
US$10,000 for cyclone relief

Indonesia, District 307-B2
US$10,000 for flood relief

Albania, UND
US$10,000 for flood relief

California, District 4-A3
US$10,000 for wildfire relief

Thailand, District 310-B
US$10,000 for flood relief

Brazil, District LC-12
US$10,000 for flood relief

Republic of Sri Lanka, District 306-B1
US$5,000 for cyclone relief

Brazil, District LC-4
US$10,000 for hailstorm relief

Thailand, District 310-D
US$10,000 for flood relief

Argentina, District O-2
$US$20,000 for tornado relief

Please consider making a donation to LCIF’s disaster fund today.

Donate to LCIF

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