by Bill Ellingsworth
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June 12, 2017
The LAMB Foundation of NC is a public 501(c)3 not-for-profit charity dedicated solely to assisting people who have intellectual disabilities within the state of North Carolina. Our organization is composed entirely of volunteers. As a result, 93% of the funds we raise directly goes to programs that support people with intellectual disabilities.
Operation LAMB’s story starts in 1960 at the local Knights of Columbus council of William “Bill” Scott. Bill and his wife, Maureen, had two children with intellectual disabilities and experienced firsthand the desperate need to help fund facilities and organizations that care for, educate and support people like their children.
Bill’s idea grew, and by 1974 he enlisted the help of fellow state officers to present his program to the local Knights of Columbus councils across North Carolina. The idea was simple: If each local council collected funds on an entirely volunteer basis, all of the money raised could go directly where it’s needed most: to institutions that care for people with intellectual disabilities.
The program was unanimously approved and adopted, with Knights of Columbus across the state donning iconic yellow aprons and handing out Tootsie Rolls while raising money for Operation LAMB, which is an acronym derived from the Biblical phrase in Matthew to serve the “Least Among My Brethren.” Today, North Carolina has 130 councils with more than 16,000 members who take to streets and storefronts at various times throughout the year, offering Tootsie Rolls to passers-by for voluntary donations. Volunteers range from Knights of Columbus members and their families and friends to teachers and participants with intellectual disabilities from LAMB-sponsored organizations. A substantial portion of the funds raised also comes from the generous donations of local corporations and individuals.
The LAMB Foundation of NC, Inc. was officially incorporated in 1999 to accommodate Operation LAMB’s growth and has raised $21 million since its inception. Bill’s vision is still alive and well, with a whopping 93% of all funds raised going directly to program support (the 7% pays for our hallmark Tootsie Rolls, yellow vests and a required outside accountant who performs our annual financial review and tax filings).
Our allocation structure also ensures that our funding directly benefits the communities in which we live. Each local council allocates 85% of its collections for donation to local organizations. The remaining 15% is controlled by the LAMB Foundation of NC’s Board of Directors and is given to organizations that serve people with intellectual disabilities regionally, or organizations that may not have a local Knights of Columbus council and that have a special need.
In recent years, the LAMB Foundation of NC, Inc. is proud to have achieved Gold Sponsor status with the Special Olympics North Carolina, one of our larger recipients.
Operation LAMB was conceived from the very personal experience of Bill and his family and has continued to be a passionately personal cause for our members, volunteers and the individuals and families impacted by our funding. We strive to increase our fundraising annually so that year over year we can support the “least among our brethren” in even more meaningful ways.
2017 - Division 1
Knights of Columbus, Council 9549 Holy Family Parish Hillsborough, NC has made a commitment to the LAMB project by collecting donation through a number of different approaches. Over the last six (6) months our council has collected in excess of $3,000 dollars with more to come in throughout the year.
1) Setting up a LAMB booth at the Hillsborough “Last Friday of the Month Fair”. This booth allowed the LAMB project to be known to the local community where donations can be collected and the community becomes aware of the Knights of Columbus and their contribution to the local community. Numerous people commented on how they were not aware to Knights and their contribution to the community and wish us well.
2) Working with local business to have special LAMB events. i.e. Jersey’s Mike’s in three of there locations donated 20% of their profits for a 4 hour period which brought in $600 to LAMB.
3) Asking for donation from local business. i.e. Costco donated $250 through cash cards.
4) Walmart & Food Lyon has allowed Knights to stand outside of their super market and had out Tootsie rolls.
5) A number of business have allowed Knights to place LAMB collection can in their store that have been pick up on a regular basis.
All of these projects have been headed by the knight LAMB Director Bill Ellingsworth who has done an outstanding job on not only identifying programs that bring in donations but make known to the parish and the community what the Knights are and their goals. Bill has worked diligently with in our council organizing Knights to man these programs and with other councils LAMB Directors.