The American Legion
Hopewell Memorial Post 146
Policy for Planning and Making Donations
Approved by Executive Committee – July 3, 2018
- Code of Virginia, §18.2‐340.19, Regulations of the Board
- Virginia Charitable Gaming Regulations, Section 11VAC15‐40‐100, Use of Proceeds
- Hopewell Memorial Post 146 By-Laws, 20 May 2014
Historically, The American Legion Hopewell Memorial Post 146 has annually donated between $25,000 and $40,000 to nonprofit groups, charities, scholarship funds, and municipal departments (e.g., police, fire, sheriff, park & recreation departments), and assisted veterans and their family members in cases of financial hardship. Decisions on questions of choice of recipients and amounts of the donations are the responsibility of the Post’s elected officers, meeting monthly as the Executive Committee. To date, neither the Post nor the Executive Committee had developed a written policy to explain how donation decisions will or may be made.
A special working group was tasked to “develop criteria for accepting donation requests and establish a priority for funding scholarships, charities, and nonprofit organizations or activities.” Meeting monthly, the working group developed an overall policy and a decision matrix which may be used to initially screen donation requests. The matrix reflects the overall policy which would apply to requests for financial support.
A. This policy applies specifically to organizations and entities requesting financial support.
B. The policy pertains generally to emergency cases or circumstances in which a member, member’s family or children, or a veteran or veteran’s family or children find they are experiencing undue financial hardship or an emergency and are ineligible for financial assistance through other government or nonprofit agencies or organizations. (ref. b., applies)
C. As a general policy, the Post should support small scale, local organizations/charities rather than large nationally-based organizations. Any exception must be approved by the Executive Committee.
D. In funding decisions, a set priority should be used to determine if the Post will make a donation.
1) The “Yes/No” decision concerning responding to a donation request is first determined by using a Decision Matrix to see if the charity/organization meets criteria based on the American Legion’s Four Pillars and the Post’s mission, vision and goals.
2) If a donation request meets the criteria in paragraph 1, the donation request is prioritized for funding based on the impact of the organization/charity to the locals listed below:
- Priority 1: Hopewell
- Priority 2: Greater Tri-Cities Area (Hopewell, Petersburg, Prince George)
- Priority 3: Richmond and the Commonwealth
3) Each year, the Executive Committee will review a list of those charities or organizations to which donations have previously been made. To assist in budget planning, the Executive Committee will establish a prioritized list of recipients giving preference to American Legion Programs (Boys’ State, Cadet Law Enforcement Program, Essay Contest, Oratorical Contest, John Randolph Foundation for Scholarship, etc.) and identify an amount which will be used for planning purposes. Except for designated programs, planning targets do not guarantee the actual amount of the donation.
E. Determining Funds Availability: The following process steps are used to determine how much money is available for donations and when to distribute them.
Projected Donation Budget:
- A proposed budget [based on ten percent of the average of the previous three years gross gaming receipts] is established as a planning figure for developing an annual Donations Plan. The ten percent target reflects requirements established in Section A-1 of reference a., above. Each month, actual dollars donated are tracked against plan to help manage receipts and expenditures against the donation plan.
- At the end of each month the 3rd Vice Commander, Gaming Manager or other person administering Post gaming operations, reports gross gaming receipts. As a planning figure, ten percent of the monthly gross gaming receipts will be administratively set aside for donations. At least each quarter, an exact accounting of funds available and the amount actually used for donations will be presented to the Executive Committee as part of a quarterly financial report.
D. Post Donation Coordinator:
- An officer position (possibly the 2nd or 3rd year executive) is identified/assigned as the Post Donation Coordinator.
- The tasks of the coordinator are:
- receive all donation requests
- present all received requests to the Executive Committee after first using the Donation Decision Matrix to identify which requests should be recommended to the Executive Committee for review and action
- in coordination with the 3rd Vice Commander or Gaming Manager, maintain a “Donations Account Spreadsheet Report” to track approved donations against actual funds available and the Donation Plan, and report the available fund balance at Executive Committee meetings, if requested.
E. Donation Decision Matrix: The Donation Decision Matrix (Table 1) is a tool developed to assist the Post Donation Coordinator, or those acting in that capacity, to screen and prioritize donation requests. The matrix reflects the policies inherent in the referenced regulations and Post By-Laws
F. Donations to Legion members, their family members or other veterans and their family members in cases of undue financial hardship or emergency:
- Historically, one of the Post’s principles is to help members and their family members where there is obvious need, especially in the case of an emergency or severe financial hardship. Reference b., paragraphs D and E enable the Post to provide assistance in cases of documented hardship or distress as it has done in the past.
- However, the Post is not capable of providing long-term assistance to any member, veteran or veteran’s family. In most cases, the person seeking assistance with be referred to an agency best staffed and resourced to address the veteran’s difficulty.
- Should the need be within the Post’s capability to address, the Post will not provide direct monetary assistance. The Post may assist with bills, transportation costs; or purchase of food or medicine, by either paying the bill for the member or family member, or providing a gift card which may only be used for the purchase of a limited use (specific category of goods, e.g. a gasoline card). The Post has some flexibility in making these gifts, but any donation must be approved by the Executive Committee, documented in meeting summary/minutes, and a receipt kept on file.
This policy may be changed, amended or updated at any regular meeting of the Executive Committee. Proposed changes, amendments, or updates must first be presented to the full Executive Committee for review and discussion at least one regular meeting prior to taking a vote on accepting the proposed change, amendment or updates.
Robert H. Brown, Jr., Adjutant