All funds collected for the Florida Army of Hope will be held in a restricted account under the control of Florida Elks Charities Board of Directors. The audit period for these funds will be June 1st of one year thru May 31st of the following year.
Policy and Procedure (P & P) for control and disbursement of funds must be approved by the FSEA PSP Advisory Council, FSEA Charities Board and FSEA Board of Directors. Any changes to the P & P must be initiated by FSEA Charities Board and approved by that board and the FSEA Board of Directors prior to being adopted.
The distribution of funds will be limited to assisting all Florida active duty military personnel, military reservists, Coast Guard, National Guard and their dependents when they have been called to service due to the crises in Southwest Asia (SWA) or in the case of any future conflict or in the case of a major disaster in our State. Wounded veterans in the above named conflicts, family members of a military member killed in action or as a result of deployment will be eligible for assistance. Returning veterans of any deployment to or in support of SWA are eligible for assistance with family and medical expenses incurred as a result of a deployment. Military members called to active duty to cover a stateside position of a deployed person will qualify as “deployed” for the purposes of this policy. Any active duty member stationed in Florida with his/her dependents would qualify as a Florida resident.
The Army of Hope Committee (AOHC) will consist of one PSP appointed by the PSP Advisory Council, one member of the FSEA Charities Boards appointed by that board’s current president, the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the FSEA Veterans’ Committee, the FSEA Secretary, and one member from each of the fourteen districts appointed by the District Advisor. The district committeeman shall be responsible for publicizing the purpose of the AOH, coordinate all requests for assistances from their district, coordinate the district picnics, and distribute information within their district of all assistance rendered to military members and families by the AOH committee.
The AOH Executive Committee will consist of the AOH Chairman and Vice-Chairman; the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the FSEA Veteran’s Committee and the FSEA Secretary. The AOH Executive Committee will review and approve or reject in writing all requests for disbursements of available funds. The decision to allocate funds and in what amount and for what purpose will totally be at the discretion of the Army of Hope Executive Committee.
The AOH Fundraising Committee will be sub-committee of the AOH Committee. The Fundraising Chairman will be appointed by the Chairman of the AOH Committee. The Fundraising Chairman will work with the District AOH committeeman to coordinate all picnics and fundraising activities for the AOH within their district. The AOHC and the AOH Fundraising Committee are under the control of the Charities Board.
The following are some examples, but not limited to, that qualify for use of AOHC funds:
- Provide phone cards to contact their loved one
- Provide funds for school lunches
- Provide funds for medical or dental emergencies not covered by insurance
- Provide funds for home repairs such as plumbing, painting, etc.
- Provide funds for auto repairs or transportation when needed
- Provide funds for either full-time or back-up babysitting services
- Provide funds for lawn mowing, landscaping, or sprinkler repairs
- Provide funds for A/C repairs
- Provide funds for needed clothing or shoes, etc.
- Provide funds for past due bills after a deployment that were incurred as a result of a deployment
- Support morale programs for those SWA veterans in VA Hospitals and Nursing Homes
All requests for funds, with the exception of emergency (immediate need) request must be initiated in writing through the Lodge Chairman of Veteran’s Services, through the District AOH Committeeman to the AOH Executive Committee. This allows the local chairman and District committeeman to verify the request and pass it on to the AOH Executive Committee with their recommendations. Once the AOH Executive Committee receives the request a final decision, to approve or reject, should be reached by them in no more than 72 hours.
A full report of all transactions of the AOHC will be submitted to the FSEA Charities Board and the FSEA Board of Directors annually by the AOH Chairman at the FSEA State Convention in May.
Since some of the available funds will be needed very quickly to fulfill an emergency request of a military family in one of our Florida communities, the Lodge Chairman of Veteran’s Services in concert with the Lodge Standing Relief Committee and the District AOH committeeman will be responsible for reviewing these emergency requests and if they feel the request is valid, contacting a member of the AOH Executive Committee for approval to proceed in honoring the request. These written emergency requests will be handled at the Lodge level and upon receiving proof that the funds were disbursed it shall be the responsibility of the AOHC to reimburse the Lodge. In no case will the AOHC be responsible for any Lodge disbursement where the committee did not give written approval in advance.
Any available funds that are not used each year will be transferred for use to the following year. As defined in this policy an AOHC year runs from 6/1 of one year through 5/31 of the next year.
Approved: November 13, 2015