When a sudden financial crisis befalls an eligible Auxiliary member, the Auxiliary Emergency Fund may be able to provide temporary emergency assistance when no other source of help is available. The AEF, on occasion, could be a helping hand for a struggling member in need of food, shelter, or utilities for her family when a natural disaster or other calamity strikes.
Established in 1969 by the National Executive Committee and funded initially through a generous legacy gift from Auxiliary member Helen Colby Small of Burlington, Wis., the AEF is now able to continue to grant assistance through voluntary contributions. The Auxiliary promotes awareness of the fund, disseminates information about the application process, and solicits donations from units, departments, and individual members in order to continue its availability as a resource to help members in certain dire straits. A national AEF grant review committee awards AEF grants to applicants based on criteria, membership, and fund availability.
In 1981, the AEF program was expanded to include a fund to help members who find themselves needing to support themselves due to unexpected life-changing circumstances such as death or illness of a spouse, divorce, or desertion, and who are without the job skills necessary to obtain adequate employment. Short-term assistance may be provided to help the member acquire marketable job skills through schooling or job training when all other sources of financial aid have been exhausted.
Applications stemming from a catastrophe for basic needs such as shelter and food are considered; applications for medical expenses are not considered. To be eligible to apply for AEF funds, the applicant must be an Auxiliary member who has maintained her membership for the immediate past two consecutive years and whose membership dues for the current year are paid. Only through the generosity of Auxiliary members has the AEF remained an available resource for members in tragic times.
What is the Auxiliary Emergency Fund?
This National American Legion Auxiliary emergency fund provides eligible members with temporary assistance for:
1. Financial crisis to pay for food, shelter, and utilities, when no other source of aid is readily available.
2. Food and shelter due to weather-related emergencies and natural disasters; and
3. Educational training for eligible members who lack the necessary skills for employment or to upgrade competitive workforce skills.
Why should your Unit support this Fund?
To continue to help our members in times of crisis, we need to make sure that funds are available at the national level to meet the emergency needs of our members.
How can your Unit help our members in times of crises in Washington State and Nationally?
-Send at least $1 more than you did last year. A total of 33 Units contributed nearly $1500 last year.
-Place a jar marked “AEF: Members Helping Members” at each meeting and encourage everyone to contribute their loose change throughout the year.
-Members contributing $25 or more will be presented with a lapel pin.
Who is eligible to apply?
Women who have been members of the American Legion Auxiliary for at least the immediate past two consecutive years and whose current membership dues are paid at the time the emergency occurs (three consecutive years’ dues) may apply for assistance.
How much assistance is provided?
The maximum grant amount is $2,400, disbursed as the Auxiliary Emergency Fund Grant Committee determines. Turnaround time is fairly prompt with a completed application.
What form is needed to apply?
The application and information about completing it can be downloaded under “Resources” or under the “Member Resources” tab.
Where can I find out more information?
Email the Department Chairman at the contact information provided above.
What if a member of Auxiliary Unit has a need for funds, but doesn’t fit these criteria?
A Unit can choose to let up a local bank account for the Auxiliary member, and publicize the existence of the account and invite people to donate, either local citizens or Auxiliary members throughout the state (with the approval of the District and Department Presidents). A tax ID number or EIN is needed when opening a bank account. Discuss procedures with your local bank.