US Marine Corps – Charity Events: A Letter from Mark Scher
As most of those who know me are aware, in a former life I was in the United States Marine Corps. As a former Marine, I’ve always felt a kinship towards that particular branch of the Service. Recently, I was made Commandant of the Marine Corps League of London Detachment (which encapsulates the entire UK), and I’m leading the Detachment’s fundraising endeavours.
The Marine Corps League is the only Congressionally chartered United States Marine Corps-related veterans organization in the United States. Its Congressional Charter was approved by the 75th US Congress and signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on August 4, 1937. The organization credits its founding — in 1923 — to legendary Marine Corps Commandant John A. Lejeune. The group holds a congressional charter under Title 36 of the United States Code.
The two charities we’re raising money for this year are the Semper Fi Fund and Toys for Tots. 90% of everything we raise will be split equally between the charities, with 10% going to the Marine Corps League to help defer the costs of our fundraising efforts. For US taxpayers I understand both charities are 501(c)3 recognized and that tax relief is available for any charitable donations via a US return. Below, I’ve summarized their respective missions and areas of focus.
Semper Fi Fund
The Semper Fi Fund (SFF) provides relief for soldiers who have been injured in combat. This includes financial needs that arise during hospitalization and recovery as well as assistance for those with perpetuating needs. The program provides support in a variety of ways including Service Member and Family Support, Specialized & Adaptive Equipment, Adaptive Housing, Adaptive Transportation, Education and Career Transition Assistance, PTS and TBI Support, Team Semper Fi, and America’s Fund: a self-funded program administered by the Semper Fi Fund that currently assists those service members with catastrophic injuries in intensive care units at our nation’s military hospitals, regardless of what military branch they serve in. This charity is akin to Help for Heroes in the UK.
Toys for Tots
The objectives of Toys for Tots are to help less fortunate children experience the joy of the holidays by providing them with toys during the Season. The charity aims to unite all members of local communities in a common cause for three months each year during the annual toy and money collections and distribution campaign and to contribute to better communities in the future. This particular charity has a special place in my heart as I worked with them when I was in the Marine Corps. We are selecting two homeless shelters in London that allow families to use their facilities. The money/toys raised will be split evenly.
Toward this end, there are two special and distinct activities that I would like to open to you to participate and give generously. These two events are described below.
Marine Corps Ball
The official birthday of the United States Marine Corps, on 10 November 1775, was when the Second Continental Congress made a declaration of its formal acceptance. Each year, the United States Marine Corps celebrates the Marine Corps Birthday with a formal Birthday Ball. Generally, civilians aren’t allowed to attend.
This year, as the Commandant of the Marine Corps League, I’m opening up this invitation in order to raise funds for the aforementioned charities. The Ball will be held on the 2nd of November. Normally, the US Ambassador to the court of St. James is in attendance to honor those who protect the Embassy of which he’s in command. Also, there will be a key-note speaker – in the recent past this has included Medal of Honor winners, Generals, key Diplomats and the like.
This year, the Ball is being held at the prestigious Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich. The dinner will be served in the Painted Hall. I highly suggest looking the site up and seeing the venue online. I only have 36 seats available. The entire function is limited to 320 people. The cost of the function will be £250 per person.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to train like a Marine? Here’s your chance. Abseiling, or rappelling as we used to call it, is the controlled descent down a rock face using a rope. Climbers use this technique when a cliff or slope is too steep and/or dangerous to descend without protection.
Looking around London, there aren’t too many steep hills. Therefore, how about going over the top of “The Twickenham Stoop”, Harlequins Rugby Stadium? We are finalizing details for this event, and will let you know as soon as the date is confirmed. The UK’s Royal Marine Commandos will be the trainers/observers on-site. This is only for those with the wherewithal for excitement. We’re looking at £5,000 per jump!
At the end of the day, our drive is to raise money for these two specific charities. I’ll be happy to accept all donations, regardless of amount, but thought it might be fun to also have a couple of events to actively participate. Please write or call me with any questions you might have regarding this drive. As always, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your efforts.
Mark E Scher
London Detachment 1088, Marine Corps League