Attendees at this year’s Annual Convention & Expo completely embraced a one-time challenge issued to show their support for the court reporting and captioning professions by contributing to NCRA’s Political Action Committee and generating funding for student scholarships through the National Court Reporting Foundation (NCRF).
The challenge – “Put your money where your mouth is!” – was issued by NCRA Executive Director and CEO Mike Nelson, CAE, and the Association’s Washington legislative counsel, Dave Wenhold, CAE, PLC. The pair called on attendees to contribute to PAC, and in exchange the two committed to donate an equal amount of their own money up to $5,000 to support NCRF’s student scholarships. In the end, a total of $7,780 was raised in three days to support PAC while NCRF’s scholarship programs received $5,000.
“Mike and I were discussing the connection between student recruitment and government relations. In that conversation, we decided to make a big personal commitment to both by encouraging people to get involved with NCRA’s PAC,” said Wenhold. “Not only did we raise awareness, we knocked it out of the park! This was an opportunity to have our members see directly where their contributions are going.”
Nelson and Wenhold made the challenge during the Premier Session at Convention. During the announcement, Wenhold illustrated how serious he and Nelson were by emptying a backpack of 5,000 one-dollar bills on the stage.
“Needless to say, when Dave and Mike told me about this plan to support NCRF, I was absolutely floored,” said B.J. Shorak, Deputy Executive Director of NCRF. “When they explained the idea and how they were going to promote it in Chicago, I was hoping that their support of NCRF through this fundraiser would motivate members to contribute to PAC. Even though PAC contributions are not tax-deductible, I hoped the members would feel good knowing that their PAC support was helping the Foundation through Dave’s and Mike’s generosity.”
According to Shorak, as a former NCRA staff member and now as NCRA’s government relations consultant, Wenhold has always supported NCRF, and his donation at this level was a real indicator of his dedication to the profession, while Nelson supports the Foundation with his time and expertise, and financially as an Angel donor. The further personal financial support, she said, went above and beyond.
“I really can’t fully express our appreciation to both of them,” Shorak added.
To continue to encourage the challenge, the $5,000 exhibited during the Premier Session was later moved to the NCRA Government Relations Booth on the Expo Floor, where it was clearly displayed to visitors.
“People loved seeing the pile of cash and knowing they were helping not only the students but also helping legislators who help the reporting community,” said Wenhold. “PAC is often overlooked but is essential to NCRA’s ability to keep our great presence on Capitol Hill. Mike and I were both honored to make that commitment to the profession and thank those who joined our effort.”
NCRA’s PAC supports the Association’s advocacy efforts in the legislative and regulatory arenas, while NCRF, the charitable arm of NCRA, offers an array of scholarships to support students, student interns, and new professionals.