Wednesday, October 8, 2014

We are Not Forgotten QOV


Not Forgotten QOV is a volunteer registered group with the Quilts of Valor® Foundation. We will be sharing our efforts and events that support the Mission of QOV® here on this blog as well as Facebook under We Quilt and the public group Not Forgotten QOV. It is paramount that everyone understands that nothing is more important than the Mission and those that have or will receive the lifetime award of a Quilt of Valor®. We realize there are differences of opinion in regards as to how that is achieved. We will respect and honor those differences but at the same time will make our opinions and ideas public knowledge. We are adamant that there is nothing more important to continuing that Mission than the QOV Volunteer. It is the volunteer that has accomplished over the last 10 plus years what is so vibrantly celebrated by the Foundation. Over 106,000 Awards of Quilts of Valor®. We will do everything within our physical and financial capabilities to continue that quest. Les and Elaine Page, Quilts of Valor Volunteers.

Volunteerism

An altruistic activity intended to promote goodness or improve human quality of life for others.

The principle of donating time and energy for the benefit of other people in the community rather than for any financial gain or reward.

The practice of volunteering one’s time or talents for charitable, educational, or other worthwhile activities, especially in one’s community.

Membership

The state of being a person who belongs to a social group or an entity such as a company, organization, or nation, and implies a status.

Volunteerism and membership are different.

First and foremost…Not Forgotten QOV is a volunteer group; however we will be joining as a Member Group and paying the $40 fee required as a two person group. We do this to be able to maintain the ability to raise funds and accept donations like we have in the past so that we can continue on the Mission “…to cover service members and veterans touched by war…”

The difference is we did so voluntarily in the past and beginning January 1, 2015 must do so under mandate or lose that capability. We must surrender even more of our monies now because there is nothing more important than the Mission and no one individual more important than the recipients yet to be awarded. Let me assure you I will never claim to be a “member” of the Quilts of Valor Foundation. I came in as a volunteer and will leave, if I ever choose to, as a volunteer. The fee for membership will be submitted under protest for as long as I choose to continue to volunteer my time and monies to the Mission.  

Let me make the following perfectly clear. Whether one agrees or disagrees, the following are my feelings and opinions regarding the current direction that has been chosen by the leadership of the Quilts of Valor Foundation and no one else’s. For those who want to define them as being negative, let them do so for that is a very common perspective taken against those who have a different opinion. But that is all this is…a different opinion.

I do not believe that membership should be the direction that QOVF takes to seek accountability of individuals and groups that sew and quilt under the QOVF banner. I most certainly don’t agree that it should be the first choice on the menu to achieve accountability. I have listened to the following rhetoric on several occasions.
“Listen to those of us who have been around awhile. We tried other things, nothing has worked.”

Well you haven’t tried anything with this leadership group and the self-described stronger infrastructure. Leadership is different and now supported by an Executive Staff. What didn’t work under one leader may work under a new leader that has a hand-picked support staff.

But, we’ll never know. The current leaders have gone straight to the pockets of those that have spent their time and monies to get QOVF to and through 2014.

This organization was built by volunteers and has progressed to beyond 106,000 Quilts of Valor awarded over the last 10 plus years. It did so on the willing backs of individuals that asked for nothing in return giving of themselves and their money freely, passionately and with a true emotion of caring and heart-felt thanks to the 1% of our population that takes the oath to defend and protect. What they did, are doing and will continue to do is not something that comes from paying a membership fee. The fee they have been paying for however long they have been associated with QOVF, came from the heart. They have paid dearly with love, time, and personal finances from the most inter reaches of their souls to give someone a moment of gratitude, comfort and an opportunity to know there are many who care and are ever so thankful.

What was returned to the volunteer for their effort doesn’t have a price tag. It can’t be quantified with a membership card or a pin. It’s not tied to a special price on fabric, a discount to a seminar, a listing on a web page or a PIN so they can have access to an exclusive area on web site. What is gotten in return doesn’t come with a membership number. It just can’t be labeled that easily.

What is returned doesn’t come with a membership fee. It comes with a smile. A whisper “No one has ever thanked me.” A tear slowly falling from the eyes of a hero. The warmth of a hug. The gentle hand on a shoulder. A flush of embarrassment and pride. A salute so unexpected it touches souls. It comes with a proud family watching on or in a gathering of family and friends. It comes in public halls and in the privacy of homes. It comes with joy, with grief, with sorrow and sadness of difficult times and the loss of those that shared some of our time here.

It comes with a truth and honesty that can’t be paid for with any amount of money. What is returned comes from the heart and soul. It can’t be bought and most certainly should not require a membership fee to be enjoyed.

As of January 1, 2015 QOVF will go to a membership model. If you choose to continue to sew and quilt for the Quilts of Valor and receive the benefits of doing so, like using a QOV Longarmer, you will have to pay a fee to become a member. Oh, you can continue to sew and award Quilts of Valor as a volunteer, but don’t expect anything from QOVF. Just for clarification. I never did.

Sadly this is the path the current leadership of the Quilts of Valor Foundation has chosen. Membership is not a requirement to be a Non Profit, it has absolutely nothing to do with any IRS requirement. Not one benefit that has ever been received by the Foundation, whether passed on to the quilter or not, has ever been associated with membership. Whether it was the Pellon offer for QOVF longarmers or the contributions made by those like Northcott Fabrics, Fons & Porter, or the Quilters’ Travel Companion membership was never a requirement or demand.

There are huge Non Profits that receive very large corporate donations; it’s a long list, none of which have membership.

I’ve been hearing that membership is needed to help us establish accountability. I’m afraid I have to disagree with that. What is needed to establish accountability is an effort by a group of people, under strong leadership to develop a system of registering and reporting that is effective. Attaching a fee to it doesn’t make it effective. Taking the few benefits from those that have for years been a part of something great and making those same few benefits now exclusive to members only is certainly not the “thank you” I would be handing down to those that got us here.

Membership…not the first thing I would have tried as we move into our second decade. Wouldn’t even have been on the list. But hey that’s just me, a Quilts of Valor Volunteer Longarmer.





5 comments:

  1. I feel much the same as you do. I have gladly paid out of pocket for fabric, thread, batting, shipping, as well as piecing and quilting every one of the near 30 quilts I have made for QOV. Do I regret it? NEVER! However, it leaves a rather bad taste to be asked to pay for the privilege of giving. That is the price of batting for a quilt and could end up meaning less quilts overall.

    Having said that. I will pay the membership fee. I will continue to make QOVs. Because like you, I don't do it for an organization.

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  2. Thank you for sharing Les. So many of us blindly follow new directives without question. I am glad you articulated the opposition, such a healthy thing to do in our democracy!!!

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  3. I agree with you 100%. My group sees this as the beginning of the end for QOV. Other organizations have tried this and those organizations no longer exist. We feel it's a shame to ask volunteers who have given their time, money and heart to actually pay to volunteer. Hooray to you for saying what our entire group thinks!

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  4. Amen, brother Les. If at any time you decide to set up your own membership free organization, please post and you'll no doubt have instant volunteers! I have been a very quiet QOV volunteer for 9 years. However, I do know from experience, once money enters the picture, power struggles and corruption isn't too far behind, sad to say. All the best to you -

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  5. well said. I agree and I do not like the way folks have been attacked for having a point of view that did not flow with what some of the folks over there wanted. I am a Veteran so is my husband, I am new to quilting and have been appalled at what I have seen in the last few weeks. I will not be joining in their effort, but that will not stop me or others like me from making quilts for veterans, I like others, will do it on my own terms. -Melissa

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