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    Blogs and Java

    Remember when the day began with a cup of coffee and the morning paper?  Now it’s a $4.00 latte and blogs on your lap top.  While sifting through some recent postings, this one caught my eye:

    From Politico: THE TAX CODE QUOTE – WEST WING MUST-READ – The Wall Street Journal's Laura Meckler has a front-page profile of White House budget director Peter, Orszag, 'Obama's Health Expert Gets Political': 'Last Saturday he went to Camp David. While his two children played basketball and tennis with other administration kids, Mr. Orszag reviewed the situation with the president and prepared to appear on two Sunday-morning talk shows. … After his TV appearances, he went straight to the Senate Finance Committee, where he spent three hours with committee aides brainstorming about how to pay for the trillion-dollar legislation. At one point, they flipped through the tax code, looking for ideas. As one of the administration's key conduits to Capitol Hill on health care, Mr. Orszag, 40 years old, is laboring with a White House team to get the initiative back on track.'

    Normally, the thought of professional bureaucrats and politicians flipping through the tax code looking for ways to pay for new initiatives makes me gag on my cinnamon chip scone (another $2.75).  But these days I am comforted by the thought of how NFCA members are working to ensure that when the beltway boys and girls scour the federal tax laws they won’t stop on Section 501(c)(8).

    It’s no secret that we need to do a better job presenting ourselves to our key audiences, including the Obama Administration.  Instead of my “light under a bushel” lecture (which you’ve all heard many times), I want to compliment member societies on your swift mobilization around a vital Obama Administration campaign: The Summer of Service being promoted by the White House Office of Faith-Based & Neighborhood Partnerships (OFBNP).  Who says that fraternals are just a bunch of nice people who are too modest to tell their story of doing good works in communities from coast-to-coast?  Take a look at what we’ve done in a month, and where we’re going:

    June 30-July 1:  NFCA delegation travels to D.C. to meet with John Kelly, Mark Linton and Fred Wong of OFBNP.  These meetings reveal that fraternals have a unique strength which OFBNP needs: a nationwide system of volunteers.  Kelly, Linton and Wong discuss the council’s focus on turning 9/11 into a day of service rather than a day of mourning.

    July 8:  NFCA hosts a conference call to share the outcome of the OFBNP meeting with all societies.  I have never heard as many people log-in to a conference call as I did on this day.  The NFCA delegation discussed their experience in D.C., and we urged members to participate in a Corporation for National & Community Service conference call the next day.  To follow up on our discussion during the conference call, NFCA sends a survey to all societies to gauge interest in participation in OFBNP initiatives.  79% of respondents indicate an interest in organizing service activities on 9/11.

    July 9:  During the Corporation for National & Community Service conference call Fred Wong asks participants to e-mail their stories of volunteer service for the newly launched Serve.gov blog.   Mr. Wong was overwhelmed with responses – so much so that he called the NFCA to let us know he was inundated with fraternal stories. He also encouraged fraternals to keep the stories coming.  Catholic Knights member Sally Krochalk's story of working with Respite Program for Children’s Service Society of Wisconsin was featured on the new blog section of Serve.gov.

    July 21:  Modern Woodmen of America decides to promote OFBNP’s push to make 9/11 a national day of service.  Their program will focus on promoting 10 strong projects to benefit local police and fire departments; projects will be promoted with seed money from the home office and communications/media promotion.  In addition, Modern Woodmen camps and youth service clubs are encouraged to organize service projects on 9/11.

    What’s next?

    Throughout the month of July, fraternal benefit societies have been posting their volunteer events on Serve.gov to recruit new volunteers and promote their community activities.  Keep up the good work.  From your responses to the survey we sent out a few weeks ago, we know that there is interest in organizing volunteer activities around 9/11.

    We’re gaining momentum and credibility.  Now let’s show the White House, the media and millions of prospective members that we can deliver what we promise.  Join your fellow fraternal societies and the NFCA as we promote a national day of service on 9/11 – a worthwhile cause and a great way to show the Obama Administration that fraternals get the job done.  Your quick response to the call for fraternal stories shows that the system can act quickly to get the job done.  Post your 9/11 service activities here and be sure to register them on Serve.gov.  We want to compile every story of service on 9/11 so that we can not only talk about our good works, but bring them to life through an organized, targeted service campaign.  You’ve already heeded the call to action once – let’s do it again to make a lasting impression with those who hold our exemption in their hands.

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