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Meet the ENF Staff

Debbie Kahler Doles
Assistant Director
Debbie (right) joins Colleen, Quin and Nikyla on the
sidelines before the Mavericks' game.

How long have you worked at the ENF?
I celebrated my ninth anniversary on October 18.

What projects are you/your department working on right now?
The Programs Department is always a hotbed of activity!

The Hoop Shoot season is in full swing! Youth Programs Associate Colleen Muszynski and I just returned from Dallas where we got to witness two of our 2013 Hoop Shoot National Finalists go pro for the night. Nikyla Green and Quin Anderson showed off their free throw shooting prowess during the Dallas Mavericks’ halftime show on October 25. How many 11 year olds can say they’ve shot baskets center court at an NBA game?! Thanks to the passion and determination of a few Texas Elks, two kids have a lot to brag about at school today. And, nearly 18,000 people know more about the Elks and the Elks Hoop Shoot. Priceless.

For the seventh year in a row, ENF Month also means we welcome a new class of Impact Grant recipients. After eight weeks of review and selection, we’re gearing up for the big Impact Grant announcement on October 30. Keep an eye on our website for the exciting details.

The 2014 scholarships contests are under way, as well. The Most Valuable Student applications are due to Lodges by December 6 and Legacy Awards are due January 31. We’re in the throes of preparing for a new component of the MVS top winners selection: a Leadership Weekend. In late April, the top 10 male and top 10 female national finalists will come to Chicago to participate in a weekend of activities geared toward establishing relationships with each other and the Elks. In addition, each of the finalists will be interviewed by a panel of national judges.


Huddle up! Every morning, Debbie (right) leads the 
Programs team huddle to go over the day's plays projects.
What are you doing to celebrate ENF Month?
We celebrate our programs every month of the year, but during ENF Month, each week features a different program and its successes. We’ll end the month with the Elks Drug Awareness Program, given its close ties to Red Ribbon Week, which is October 23 to 31.

What’s your favorite part of working at the ENF?
That we are constantly evolving. For example, when I started at the Foundation in 2004, grants to Lodges was just an idea that had been kicked around for a few years. In 2005, the Community Investments Program was launched as a $350,000 program. Now, it’s an $8.5 million program with four different grant components.  

I do adore working with the Elks, too! Such a dedicated army of volunteers always at the ready to build stronger communities.

Describe your average day at the ENF.
My days involve a lot of emails and meetings. Many of our programs are cyclical, so we are always in the process of planning for the next big thing, be it scholarship deadlines or announcements, grant offerings or deadlines, or Hoop Shoot contests.

What’s one thing about you that might surprise people?
I love the Chicago Blackhawks!

What TV show do you never miss?
Right now, it’s HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. But, I really look forward to Modern Family every week, too.

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