Ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Stepping Up Even More to Help Elk

The mission of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is to ensure the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage. If you are a hunter, you already contribute to the cause via the purchase of supplies, licenses and fees that raise funds for land and wildlife conservation. If you are an RMEF member, you further contribute through membership dues. If you are an RMEF volunteer, you contribute even more because of your dedication of time and effort on top of that. But what if you want to do more?

As of December 31, 2013, RMEF had a record 203,703 members with varying participatory levels ranging from a $20 youth member to a $1,500 life member. RMEF volunteers arrange and carry out big game banquets and work projects, seek new members through fundraising drives and serve on committees in more than 500 chapters nationwide. President and CEO David Allen calls those volunteers “rock stars.” They keep the organization firing on all cylinders. But there’s another segment of membership that powers RMEF into a higher, more effective gear. Numbering 3,034 strong or roughly 1.5 percent of RMEF’s total membership, they are RMEF’s Habitat Partners. 

RMEF’s Habitat Partnership program recognizes major donors who make a minimum gift of $2,500 and tracks their cumulative philanthropic giving total. Habitat Partners are welcome to attend the Friends of the Foundation Breakfast at Elk Camp, RMEF’s annual convention. There are varying Habitat Partner contribution levels:

Once a Habitat Partner reaches the Imperial level of $10,000, he or she is invited to join the Habitat Council. Originally established in 1992, Habitat Council members work together to raise funds with a goal of seizing more opportunities for RMEF’s mission. The Habitat Council usually meets twice a year, at Elk Camp and a second summer gathering, to give input to the RMEF Board of Directors and executive staff on fundraising, membership and wildlife habitat issues. The summer meeting includes a site tour where members learn more about how their investments are working for wildlife. 

Hatfield Knob, Tennessee 
For example, in June of 2013, the Habitat Council met in Knoxville, Tennessee. The three-day gathering included a private viewing of synchronous fireflies and glow worms, reception at CafĂ© 4 at the historic Knoxville Market House, private acoustic concert by Daryle Singletary, strategy sessions, Volunteer Princess dinner cruise on the Tennessee River and a trip to the Hatfield Knob viewing area to personally witness the fruits of elk restoration efforts. Looking ahead, the 2014 summer meeting will take place in Vancouver, Washington, and the 2015 gathering is scheduled for Park City, Utah. 

Some Habitat Council members also choose to hold smaller informational gatherings in more intimate settings for friends and other like-minded folks. In 2013, such gatherings took place in southern California, Colorado, Missouri and Wisconsin.

Individuals who include RMEF in their estate planning become members of the Trails Society. Their gift will make an impact on elk country and help leave a legacy for our children and grandchildren to enjoy. Planned gifts can generate a retirement income stream, produce income tax deductions and reduce future estate tax liability. Such methods include wills, life insurance policies, retirement accounts, life estate arrangements, charitable gift annuities, charitable remainder trusts, and charitable lead trusts. 

John Day Headwaters, Oregon
So there are many different available steps to help ensure the future of elk and elk country. It just depends on how many steps you want to climb. The higher you go, the better the view.

For more information, send an email to legacy@rmef.org or call 800-CALL-ELK and ask for the Development Department.

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