Lions Clubs International Century of Service Commemorative Coin Act – Update

Senator Jerry MoranIn recognition of our 100th Anniversary in 2017, LCI is leading efforts to mint 400,000 silver dollars. This is the first step to commemorate our centennial – while raising millions to support our global mission areas for the visually impaired, disabled, youth and those affected by disaster. Lions from all over the globe are exploring similar commemorative campaigns locally.

How much is a Lions silver dollar worth? Read the feature article in the September 2011 issue of the LION magazine.

In June, the “Lions Clubs International Century of Service Commemorative Coin Act,” S. 1299/H.R. 2139, was introduced in the U.S. Congress by Senator Jerry Moran, a Lion, and Congressman Peter Roskam thanks to Sandy Spring Lions Club, District 22-C, who formally proposed this opportunity to publicize our accomplishments and raise funds for the Lions Clubs International Foundation.

Thanks to your efforts to contact our lawmakers, we’ve reached 39% of our goal in the U.S. House and 36% of our goal in the U.S. Senate. Congratulations to PDG David Orr and Lions of Wyoming, District 15, for securing all Wyoming House and Senate legislators as co-sponsors! Also, congratulations to the Pago Pago Lions Clubs, the Territory of American Samoa, for securing their sole Representative in the House as a co-sponsor.

113 co-sponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives

0

290

39%

24 co-sponsors in the U.S. Senate

0

67

36%

View full list of House of Representatives sponsors View full list of Senate sponsors

Take Part in Our Commemorative Coin Campaign to Help Raise Millions for LCIF

How much is a Lions’ silver dollar worth? About $8 million. That’s how much we hope to raise for LCIF if the U.S. Congress passes a commemorative coin bill honoring the centennial of Lions in 2017.

Getting Congressional approval is not automatic. Congress passes only two commemorative coin bills each year. But many Lions including past international presidents, past international directors and other members are lobbying their congressional representatives to pass the bi-partisan legislation. If approved, the U.S. Mint will produce as many as 400,000 coins. After the U.S. Mint recovers its cost, a $10 surcharge for every coin sold will go to LCIF and its programs for the visually impaired, the disabled, youths and victims of natural disasters.

The commemorative coin idea originated with two members of the Sandy Spring Lions Club in Maryland. Brother Meredith Pattie, a past district governor, and Alan Ballard were at a luncheon for Melvin Jones Fellows when they began to brainstorm ways to support LCIF.

“Our first idea was a coin for the 50th anniversary of the death of Melvin Jones [in 1961]. But we realized we were too late for that,” says Pattie. They eventually formed a nine-person Lions’ committee from District 22 C that includes Past International Director Joseph Gaffigan.

Co-sponsors of the Lions Clubs International Century of Service Commemorative Coin Act, H.R. 2139, are Rep. Peter Roskam, whose district in Illinois includes Oak Brook and LCI headquarters, and Rep. Larry Kissell,  from North Carolina who is a Lion. Another Lion, Senator Jerry Moran from Kansas, introduced the bill, S. 1299, in that chamber. The bill needs 290 co-sponsors in the U. S. House and 67 co-sponsors in the U.S. Senate to pass.

We ask all Lions to write or call their representatives to urge them to co-sponsor H.R. 2139. Our Web site offers tips on contacting lawmakers and includes a regularly updated tally of number of co-sponsors.

Lions Clubs International Commemorative Coin Act Introduced

sandyspringlionsclubAs we approach the 100th anniversary of our organization in 2017, Lions are looking for ways to mark this milestone. The Sandy Spring Lions Club in Maryland proposed a commemorative U.S. Mint silver dollar as a way to celebrate our centennial. With the sponsorship of Representative Peter Roskam of Illinois, the club is one step closer to making the coin a reality after the introduction of H.R. 2139.

The Sandy Spring Lions Club proposed a commemorative coin to publicize LCI accomplishments and raise funds for the Lions Clubs International Foundation.

Commemorative coins must be authorized by acts of congress. The U.S. Mint produces only two commemorative coins per year. If H.R. 2139 garners the support of 290 U.S. House of Representative members and 67 sponsors in the U.S. Senate, it will go for review by the president. If the president signs the bill into law, the coins will be available for purchase throughout 2017. Without any cost to taxpayers, each coin sold would produce US$10 for the Lions Clubs International Foundation. The estimated US$8 million generated would further the causes of the visually impaired, disabled and youth, as well as those affected by major disasters.

For more information about this nonpartisan piece of legislation or to sign up for the waiting list to purchase the coin, visit the Lions Clubs International Web site.

IFRC and Lions Clubs Join Forces to Help Communities Prepare for Disaster

prepare for disastersOAK BROOK, IL USA, and Geneva – The International Association of Lions Clubs (LCI) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) have joined forces in order to strengthen the essential role volunteers play in preparing for disasters and in responding to emergencies at the community level.

At a ceremony to mark the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the two institutions, Albert F. Brandel, president of the International Association of Lions Clubs, said: “Lions Clubs International and its network of 45,000 clubs in 205 countries have long provided relief to victims of natural disasters. The Memorandum between Lions Clubs International and the International Federation will further strengthen our ability to respond in time of need, and should be viewed as mutually beneficial.”

In his remarks, IFRC Secretary General Bekele Geleta pointed out that well-trained volunteers can achieve positive and sustainable changes in their community, because they are there before, during and after disaster strikes. They can make a real difference in reducing the impact of disasters and play a vital role in empowering communities to be prepared for crisis.

“To achieve our humanitarian goals and create a culture of prevention, we must improve the situation of our volunteers all over the world. We must strongly advocate for better volunteer management practices, internationally and nationally,” he explained. “Because we are facing major challenges posed by global disasters linked to climate change and economic crises, it is vital we do this in cooperation with partners, like the Lions, who also operate at the community level. Together we can build safer and more resilient communities.”

Projects will be developed at the local level, focusing on disaster preparedness and response, and on the promotion of volunteerism, as well as on programs to build up the operational capacity of their volunteers all over the world. This cooperation will encourage activities, which meet local needs.

Founded in 1917, LCI is the world’s largest service club organization with 1.3 million members in more than 45,000 clubs in 205 countries and geographic territories. Lions members work together to answer needs at the community level, funding projects that range from cleaning up parks to providing people affected by disasters with emergency supplies. The Lions ALERT program works closely with local emergency responders. (For more information: www.lionsclubs.org)

With 186 member Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and some 100 million volunteers, the IFRC is the world’s largest humanitarian network. Its mission is to improve the situation of the most vulnerable people. Founded in 1919, it works to strengthen the capacity of its member Societies to carry out effective disaster preparedness and disaster response activities as well as health and social programs. (For more information: www.ifrc.org)

The Federation, the national Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the International Committee of the Red Cross together constitute the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. For further information on Federation activities, please see our web site: www.ifrc.org

“Vision for All” Achieved Success of Sight Campaign Means 74 Million to be Saved from Vision Loss

For three years Lions clubs worldwide set aside portions of the proceeds from pancake breakfasts and festival food booths, held golf tourneys, raffles and walks, and even staged comedy shows to benefit Campaign SightFirst II (CSF II). The hard work of the 15,000 participating clubs has paid off. Lions now have raised $200 million to save sight and restore vision.

The successful campaign will allow Lions to take their sight-saving service to new levels.

· More than $100 million will be used to support programs that control and eliminate the major causes of blindness, such as cataract, trachoma and river blindness.
· An additional $50 million will fund projects that combat emerging threats to sight, such as low vision, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy.
· The remaining $50 million will be used to provide “Vision for All” by supporting research, enhancing outreach programs for vulnerable populations in developed countries and rehabilitation efforts.

Lions at the 2008 International Convention in Bangkok in June learned of the amount raised by CSF II. As the figure was disclosed on a 70-foot wide screen, thousands of Lions in the arena-sized convention center stood up to cheer, whistle and wildly applaud. But a few individuals were missing. To be more accurate, many millions of people were missing from this celebration.

These individuals are the 74 million people who will keep or have their vision restored thanks to Lions’ SightFirst program and CSF II. They live in 91 countries in cities and villages around the world where SightFirst services are delivered at hundreds of SightFirst hospitals, clinics and eye camps. Together, they make up those who would have been victims of blindness had it not been for Lions taking action.

Far from the stage and pageantry, patients have reason to rejoice and thank Lions for restoring their precious eyesight. Dukarui Otunno of Kenya received a SightFirst trachoma surgery that returned his sight. “Seeing again is like being reborn,” he says.

In India, Adabala Lakshmi Narasamha’s vision grew foggy and blurred by cataract, but most distressing, she could no longer see the smiling face of her grandchild. Through SightFirst, she received cataract surgery. “I’m very happy to get back my eyesight, I can see clearly, just like my early days. God bless the Lions for the noble work they are doing.”

Confronting Blindness
The world’s blind population did not always have a Lions’ program to answer the call for help. SightFirst was launched by Lions in 1989. At that time, Lions leaders saw an enormous opportunity to mobilize the association’s 1.3 million members and raise more than $140 million to fight the growing global problem of preventable blindness.

Lions’ SightFirst program worked in partnership with Lions clubs and organizations around the world to improve eye care and make the dream of a life free of blindness come true for millions of people. SightFirst was directly responsible for saving and restoring sight to more than 27 million people through cataract surgeries, vision screenings, a worldwide childhood blindness initiative, trachoma control and river blindness prevention programs and much more. In addition, hundreds of millions of individuals received improved vision care.

On average, Lions could restore vision or save a person from blindness for only $6 through SightFirst. Lions had established themselves as world-renowned leaders in blindness prevention. But despite these successes, more work remained.

According to the World Health Organization, since the 1990s, data based on the 2002 global population showed a reduction in the number of people who are blind or visually impaired and those who are blind from the effects of infectious diseases. Despite these advances, reports showed an increase in the number of people who are blind from conditions related to longer life spans. Experts predicted if SightFirst efforts came to a halt, the world’s blind population would double from 37 million to 74 million by 2020.

A Victory for Sight
CSFII sought to continue and expand SightFirst and address the changing patterns of blindness by raising a minimum of $150 million. Lions also set an additional $50 million challenge goal to help establish “Vision for All” through research, aid to vulnerable populations, and funding rehabilitation efforts and education for those already blind.

CSFII was launched at the 2005 International Convention in Hong Kong. Lions’ CSFII fundraising epitomized Lions’ dedication to the SightFirst program. More than 40,000 Lions clubs raised funds and made pledges. In addition, more than 3,400 clubs became CSFII Model Clubs by committing to the highest possible fundraising goals.

What Lions accomplished through CSFII was an answer to a plea voiced long ago by Helen Keller: “I appeal to you Lions, you who have your sight, your hearing, you who are strong and brave and kind. Will you not constitute yourselves Knights of the Blind in this crusade against darkness?” CSFII is an extension of efforts Lions began more than two decades ago. Combined with the first fund-raising campaign that launched the SightFirst program in the early 1990s, Lions have now raised more than $343 million for sustainable sight programs.

“SightFirst has changed the world, and changed the way that the world sees Lions,” said former U.S. President and Nobel Laureate Jimmy Carter. “Today, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and associations such as LCI play a critical role by taking on projects that governments and corporations cannot. Around the world, national and local governments turn to Lions as partners in safeguarding the sight of their citizens.”