A Legacy of Giving: Arizona Elks Major Projects Reaches $5M in Donations to the UA Steele Children’s Research Center

“This is an incredible achievement,” says Steele Center Director Fayez K. Ghishan, MD. “The Elks have made a tremendous impact on children’s health throughout Arizona by funding research, education and clinical care programs at the Steele Center. We are so grateful for their support.”
With the latest donation of $125,000 to the UA Steele Children’s Research Center, the Arizona Elks Major Projects have reached $5 million in total contributions since the opening of the Steele Center in 1992.
 
“This is an incredible achievement,” says Steele Center Director Fayez K. Ghishan, MD. “The Elks have made a tremendous impact on children’s health throughout Arizona by funding research, education and clinical care programs at the Steele Center. We are so grateful for their support.”
 
In addition to making personal donations, the Elks have held golf tournaments, sold raffle tickets, coordinated motorcycle fundraising runs, held dinner-dances and other fun events like “Kiss a Pig,” and sold beer at the Fourth Avenue Street Fair. “We’ll do just about anything to raise money for the Steele Center – one of our designated ‘Major Projects,’” says Linda Lewandowski, executive director for the Arizona Elks Major Projects (AEMP). “The best part is we have fun with all our fundraising activities.”
 
What’s more, Elks from all over the state have crocheted and hand-knit hundreds of blankets and beanies for the premature babies in the NICU at The University of Arizona Medical Center – Diamond Children’s, and donated thousands of toys and books to the Steele Center and the UA Department of Pediatrics and its affiliated outpatient clinics, such as the Arizona Elks Clinic for Children and Young Adults.
 
Currently, more than 26,000 individuals are members of one of the 47 Elks lodges throughout Arizona (please see locations at end of release).
 
“The Elks have had a tremendous impact on the UA Steele Center   we couldn’t do our work without them,” says Dr. Ghishan.
 
Over the years, the Elks have impacted children’s health through the UA Steele Center in the following ways:
 
Arizona Elks Endowed Chair in Neonatology Research
In 2002, the Arizona Elks committed to create the “Arizona Elks Endowed Chair in Neonatology Research.”An endowed chair creates income that lasts in perpetuity. Each  year, a portion of the interest is available to the chair to support his or her research and provide seed funding to promising young investigators interested in neonatal research.
 
Arizona Elks Clinic for Children and Young Adults
In 2001, the Arizona Elks celebrated the grand re-opening of the newly named “Arizona Elks Clinic for Children and Young Adults,”housed on the third floor of The University of Arizona Medical Center – University Campus. The renovated clinic now includes separate waiting areas for sick children and well children, and more efficient space for doctors, nurses and staff.
 
Arizona Elks Laboratories for Transplantation Research
One of the first projects the Elks undertook was to support the building of two research labs on the sixth floor of the UA Steele Center. These labs house researchers and physician-scientists who specialize in pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition.
 
Seed Research Awards
Like starting a new business, getting a research career off the ground is very expensive. Preliminary research and publication of promising results are necessary before large funding agencies like the National Institutes of Health will consider new research projects. Seed grants from the Elks allow investigators to “prime the pump” with preliminary data, which makes their research projects more attractive to state and federal funding agencies.
 
Education
The Arizona Elks have supported educational outreach to the public.  Each year, funds have been used for a special educational program in which public lectures are given by invited pediatric experts. The educational fund also assisted with developing the first Pediatric Integrative Medicine Conference, and supported a “Morning for Children’s Health” workshop for parents.
 
Core Support
Core support funds are used for needed facilities improvements throughout the UA Steele Center. In addition, core support funds enable much-needed equipment repairs and purchases of new equipment necessary for research.
 
Marvin Lewis Pediatric Teaching Center
Marvin Lewis was a past Grand Exalted Ruler <<for the Arizona Elks??>> and was passionate about education and helping children. Funds were used to renovate the pediatric residency offices and create a conference room within the residency office. Upon completion of the offices, the space was dedicated to the memory of Marvin Lewis and named the “Marvin Lewis Pediatric Teaching Center.”
 
Members from Elks lodges from all over Arizona have contributed to the UA Steele Center. Elks lodges are located in: Apache Junction, Casa Grande, Chandler, Coolidge-Florence, Fountain Hills, Gilbert, Kearny, Mesa, Globe, Safford, Tempe, Bullhead City, Chino Valley, Flagstaff, Holbrook, Jerome, Kingman, Page, Payson, Prescott, Sedona, Show Low, Winslow, Ajo, Benson, Tucson, Catalina, Douglas, Green Valley, Nogales, San Manuel, Sahuarita, Sierra Vista, Willcox, Buckeye, Gila Bend, Lake Havasu City, Parker, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Sun City, Wickenburg and Yuma.