If you are looking for a place where you can serve your community while enjoying fellowship and making new friends, the Mount Prospect Lions Club could be the place for you.
This group of 71 dedicated men and women believe that the club’s motto “We Serve” is more than just a slogan. Founded in 1934, this local chapter of Lions International, based in Oakbrook, IL, is one of the Mount Prospect area’s biggest contributors to local organizations, schools and needy individuals. But its members also look well beyond the club’s local area for service opportunities.
Throughout its 80-year history, the club has raised money through fun community events to benefit local and sight-related charities. Over the years the club has purchased farmland and then donated it to the community’s fledgling park district for a park; helped send local high school bands to national parades and other prestigious events; donated bicycles to the police department for a bicycle patrol; donated funds to stock the Village’s food pantry for the needy; donated funds to restore several historic buildings for public display; sent blind, deaf and burned children to camp; financed eye examinations and glasses for needy children in our community; awarded college scholarships to deserving high school seniors; and much more.
But what sets this club apart from many groups is the amount of fun and fellowship members enjoy while helping others in their community and the nation. They participate in numerous parties, fun bi-monthly meetings, an annual Corned Beef and Cabbage Dinner and much more where they get to know each other better and thoroughly enjoy themselves while raising money that sustains many local organizations and families. It is the perfect storm of fellowship and philanthropy.
The majority of the funds raised to support area causes are raised from three large efforts.
The Mount Prospect Lions Village Festival each late June/early July provides the biggest earnings. The five or six-day festival includes carnival rides, games, food and beer booths, musical entertainment, fireworks and a raffle and draws as many as 10,000 people per day over the course of the event.
The Mount Prospect Farmer’s Market, which is held each Sunday morning from mid-June to mid-October, is managed by the Lions Club. It has been recognized as one of the best such markets in the northwest suburbs. Funds are generated through vendor fees which are then pumped back into the community through donations to the local food pantry and other worthy causes.
The club also participates in Lions Candy Day, a state-wide endeavor which involves volunteers working street corners one autumn day to collect funds from commuters in exchange for a roll of hard candy. Sixty percent of these funds then go to the Lions of Illinois Foundation while the remaining 40 percent are used for local humanitarian causes.
The Mount Prospect Lions Club, Inc. is a 501 (c)(4) corporation (FEIN 36-6142409).
But more recently, for tax and operational purposes, Mount Prospect Lions Charities, Inc., a 501 (c)(3) corporation (FEIN 20-8765883) was added to the mix.
It began when Hurricane Katrina swept down onto the Gulf Coast in 2005. Club members were anxious to send aid. So they recruited help from members of other Illinois Lions Clubs and put together “Operation Roar” as a vehicle for sending aid in the form of cash and supplies to “brother” Lions Clubs in the affected areas. Those clubs then distributed it to victims who needed help to sustain dignity of life. Since then, the group has sent similar aid to the victims of flooding in Tennessee and tornadoes in Tuscaloosa, AL and Joplin, MO.
Several years later when the club chose to incorporate a separate charitable arm, Operation Roar was grouped with the many local charitable efforts of the Mount Prospect Lions Club under the heading of Mount Prospect Lions Charities Inc. and that is how it continues to function today.
Mount Prospect Lions Charities Inc. answers calls for assistance both locally and nationally. Members offer suggestions with regard to deserving causes that they have heard about either personally or through the media. In addition, a plethora of charitable organizations that have heard about the Mount Prospect Lions’ generosity approach the group with pleas for assistance. Members then weigh the various options and choose which causes they will support each year.
While most of their efforts benefit local residents and causes, when disaster strikes somewhere in the nation, Mount Prospect Lions Club members are always able to also muster substantive emergency support to deliver, via fellow Lions Clubs in the affected areas.