With tornado season underway, now is a great time to remind American Legion Auxiliary members about the Auxiliary Emergency Fund (AEF): How the AEF helps ALA members coping with financial hardships due to an act of nature or personal crisis, and how to donate to the fund.
The AEF is a national grant assistance program that provides temporary emergency financial help to eligible ALA members. This assistance is meant to be a helping hand until financial stability is re-established. Eligible members must apply and be selected for a grant.
Applicants for this temporary assistance are considered when:
- Members are left without shelter or food following a natural disaster or weather emergency;
- Members are dealing with a financial crisis that leaves them without resources for shelter, food, or utilities – and no other source of aid is readily available; and
- In extreme circumstances, when members lack necessary skills for employment and need educational training.
AEF funds cannot be used to pay debts (such as credit card debts) or medical expenses.
The national AEF Grant Committee determines – on a case-by-case basis – which applicants receive grants and the amount of each awarded grant. To ensure the integrity of the program, the committee directs payments to a provider such as a mortgage or utility company while educational grant payments are directed to the educational institution.
ALA members who have maintained membership for at least three consecutive years (current year plus immediate past two years), and who are current on their dues, are eligible to apply for a grant in the wake of a significant financial setback as described above.
The AEF was created in 1969 through a bequest from the estate of Auxiliary member Helen Colby Small of Burlington, Wis. It continues today solely through generous donations from Auxiliary members and the public.
In order to help ALA members in need through continued funding, donations to the AEF are critical. Contributors giving $50 or more to the fund receive a special pin.
For more details on the AEF, to download the grant application, or to donate, visit www.ALAforVeterans.org/Members/Auxiliary-Emergency-Fund/ (member login required). For non-ALA members, donations can be accepted through the American Legion Auxiliary Foundation website at http://alafoundation.org/donate/.
There is also an AEF Facebook group, “AEF, American Legion Auxiliary Emergency Fund.” This group offers an opportunity to share information about natural disasters and where Auxiliary members might be located at who are in need of assistance, and to help spread the word that help is available.
Have you donated to the AEF? Share your reason why!