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Meaghan's First Month

by Meaghan Morris
Lodge Grants Program Coordinator


Hello! My name is Meaghan, and I am thrilled to be the new Programs Coordinator in the Community Investments Program office.

I graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2015. Since then, I’ve jetted around peripatetically, travelling to 46 states and 24 countries, and living in Western Massachusetts, Boston, and the mountains of rural Wyoming.  I moved to Chicago in 2016, and the Cubs won the World Series a little while later. I attribute my move as the main catalyst for the breaking of the Curse of the Billy Goat, so, you’re welcome for that, Cubs fans!

I joined the ENF during its busiest time of the year. I started working in the CIP office one day after grant applications opened for the new year, and our office was inundated with hundreds of grant applications in that first week alone. On top of the busyness in our office, Fundraising, Communications, Hoop Shoot and Scholarships were excitedly (yet gracefully!) preparing for Leadership weekend and the Hoop Shoot National Finals, which were already in full swing being just days away. The fiscal year ended three days earlier, as well, so Donor Services was extremely busy processing all the generous donations that came in from across the country.

My coworker, Chelsea, still managed to find time in her overloaded schedule to take me on a comprehensive tour of the facilities, and to acquaint me with all of the CIP’s procedures and idiosyncrasies. She set up meetings, compiled processes, and trained me every day until I was knowledgeable enough to work independently. I am so thankful for her assiduous on-boarding!

During the tour, I met every person who works at the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks. Dana, the HR director, provided everyone a puzzle piece to give me that would all come together to create a Van Gogh painting—the exact one that’s hanging in the Magazine Building. This creative way to meet people was a metaphor for all the individual pieces that bind together to form the B.P.O.E. Some pieces are still trickling over to my desk!

Of course, no new job could exist without a few slight bumps along the way. Friday evening of my first week, I accidentally locked myself in the gated parking lot after work, with no way to get into the building, or out of the gates. Thankfully, our magnificent and meticulous custodian, José, found me and came to my aid. Thank you for everything you do, José!

This month has been filled with the best experiences a job could offer. I am incredibly excited to continue my work here as the Programs Coordinator. I’ve been reviewing and processing hundreds of grant applications, and it’s been leaving me enthusiastic for more! I love speaking with passionate Elks volunteers and hearing all about the charitable projects that create lasting, meaningful impact in local communities across the nation. It’s great to be working here with the Best People On Earth! 

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