An event for supporters of the shooting sports who would like a good meal and a chance at some nice prizes is coming up.
The Rhinelander Chapter of Friends of NRA will host its annual fundraising banquet on Saturday, April 26, at the Northwoods Banquet Hall in Rhinelander.
Friends of the NRA is a non-political, nonprofit arm of the National Rifle Association.
FNRA raises funds to award as grants to non-profit organizations for firearm education and training, range development and improvement and more.
“Most of it is training and education and safety, safety, safety,” Dianne Jacobson, committee volunteer secretary for the banquet, said.
A full 100 percent of net proceeds from FNRA banquets are disbursed in the form of grants to organizations promoting shooting sports. These include organizations such as the Boy Scouts, youth camps, hunter education, women’s programs and shooting ranges.
Jacobson said they take great care deciding where the funds they raise go.
“Every banquet in the state – and there’s 25 – each sends a representative every February to a meeting where we vote and determine where that money goes,” Jacobson said. “It isn’t like someone somewhere else is deciding this ... Each local banquet ... they have more involvement in the money they help raise and where it goes.”
Groups can apply for grants beginning in August; the deadline is Oct. 1.
“Any nonprofit is able to go online to nrafoundations.org and submit a grant application,” Jacobson said. “And all the guidelines and everything are there as well.”
Jacobson is a certified NRA instructor and safety counselor in addition to being a hunter safety instructor. It was a natural fit for her to become involved with Friends of NRA.
“I actually came to this later in life,” Jacobson said. “When I was in my 40s is when I really started getting involved with firearms.”
The passion she developed for shooting sports is something she shares with her husband, Scott, who is chairman of the Rhinelander FNRA banquet this year.
“We both feel strongly that it’s well worth our time volunteering for a program we feel so strongly about,” Jacobson said. “That without proper education, training and just the ability to go out and have some place to shoot that the shooting sports, as we know it, won’t continue into the future generations.”
This is the 10th year for the banquet, she said.
“We have a great team of probably 15 volunteers that work on this banquet, and you know how those things are – it’s a lot of work getting donations and all that. But it’s all about the programs that it helps support.”
Wisconsin Friends of NRA raised a record $389,483 last year.
“It’s phenomenal what each of these smaller banquets together can accomplish,” Jacobson said.
Last year’s Rhinelander banquet raised a record-breaking $27,658.44 which qualified the Rhinelander chapter as a “High Caliber Club” team, meaning their event is in the top 20 percent of FNRA banquets in the U.S.
This year’s banquet will include a variety of raffles, games and silent auctions for exclusive limited edition merchandise, firearms, knives, art, and more.
FNRA will be awarding ceremonial giant checks to four area nonprofit groups receiving 2014 grants.
Those organizations are Fort Wilderness, Camp Tesomas, Crescent Lake Bible Camp and Somo Fish and Game Club.
The cost to attend the banquet is $45 per person and includes a buffet dinner and the opportunity to take part in the many raffles and games. Doors open at 5 p.m.
For registration information, contact Dianne or Scott Jacobson at 715-369-7362 or visit the Friends of NRA website at www.friendsofnra.org and follow the links to the registration form.
Craig Turk may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.