NCL forgets true meaning of charity


Most in Lake Oswego are familiar with the National Charity League (NCL); a mother-daughter philanthropy organization. The Lake Oswego Chapter of NCL has become a staple in the Lake Oswego community, and provided many young girls with volunteer opportunities they may not have known about otherwise. However, in truth, NCL is more of a sorority than a charity league.

Although NCL does require its members to devote a certain amount of hours to serving the community each year, it also requires that the same number of hours be spent serving the Chapter itself. While there are certainly members who go above and beyond the required number of service hours, for those adhering strictly to the membership requirements this means they spend equal time serving the community and proving their dedication to the Chapter.

These League hour events include teas, senior presentations, father-daughter events, cultural events and monthly meetings. These events are generally exclusive to members only. While they may provide closer bonds between mother and daughter, life skills, or cultural exposure, they do not aid the outside community in any way. Furthermore, NCL devotes funds to these events that could otherwise be donated to charity.  According to the budget report for the oncoming year, the Lake Oswego chapter of NCL has dedicated over $35,000 to the chapter events, out of a total budget of $75,000.

Secondly, for a charity, is shockingly elitist. It is impossible to gain entrance to this organization without first being sponsored by a current member, and even then entrance isn’t guaranteed. Before being allowed into this exclusive group, a “prospective member” must first be selected and invited by the organization. According to its web page, NCL “searches for members we believe will be willing to fulfill our mission statement, which is ‘…to foster mother-daughter relationships in a philanthropic organization committed to community service, leadership development and cultural experiences.’” Prospective members are also instructed to note that membership is never guaranteed.

These selective entrance requirements are to be expected from a Sorority; an organization based on the acknowledgement of excellence, but are not usually found in an organization dedicated to the service of others. It doesn’t make sense that NCL would be rejecting applicants if its primary goal was to aid the community. It would generally be thought that the more participating in such a noble endeavor, the more that could be accomplished. By denying membership to some applicants, however few the number may be, NCL trademarks itself as an elitist organization, not one of humble philanthropy.

NCL does provide a commendable service to the community; however, it could be doing so much more. If able to contribute monetarily to the charities which it supports, it could surely have a greater impact. If NCL is to be classified as a philanthropic organization, perhaps it should devote more resources to charity than to its self-aggrandizing social events.

6 thoughts on “NCL forgets true meaning of charity”

  1. In the past year, NCL members have served the community the equivalent of $248,614 of work. That’s over 11,000 hours; however philanthropy is only one tier of the three main focuses of the national organization. These three tiers are philanthropy, leadership, and culture. NCL members have meetings and other events in order to gain leadership skills, enrich cultural awareness, and bond as a group. Furthermore, most of the social events that the LO Chapter has are national requirements. Due to these services that NCL provides, it is impossible for NCL to accept all prospective members. However, in the last couple of years, NCL has opened up membership to more members per class. I believe that the allegation that NCL is a sorority is a compliment to the supportive community that NCL fosters and a result of envy of the members that are in the organization.

  2. This article hits the nail on the head. I was very put off that as new members to the LO community we missed the first year to join this organization. The exclusivity just doesn’t fit if the true purpose of this organization is to provide charitable service. It certainly appears it exists more as a social organization and exclusive sorority than a charitable organization. And all the pictures the members post on facebook show all the social events. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it showing them in action providing service.

    1. Just to clarify, the actual reason pictures of philanthropic work are not posted is because we aren’t allowed by the organization without the express consent of the charity. We do this to protect the privacy of the people we serve.

  3. You go girl! I could not agree with you more. I am an alumni of the organization, and many times expressed these same feelings. Many members feel the same way, yet others are motivated to belong by the parties and exclusivity. NCL wants to grow nationally, and it is wise young women like you who can help it become the organization it is meant to be. As it stands, I concur, it is a bit offensive to spend money entertaining an affluent group of girls and parents when they could donate money to people who need it. That is what charity is supposed to be about.

    1. I find this to be untrue, and I literally just had my final tea as a member of NCL. There was a girl in my class that did over 500 hours of service and as a total we did over 11,000 hours. Which is INCREDIBLE. And NCL is not just about service. It teaches us to be leaders, to work with other people, how to conduct meetings, work in a professional setting and how to be successful. As teenagers we are given the opportunity to work alongside successful women in the community who are great role models for girls struggling to figure themselves out. This program isn’t perfect, but I would say the pros far outweigh the cons. It also gives girls the opportunity to build lasting friendships and relationships with girls they may not have had the opportunity to work with. Overall, we learn to work hard and serve others. And this program opens doors to more service opportunities. It’s a good thing, despite the negative view everyone seems to have of it. If the organization didn’t exist that’d be 11,000 hours of service that wouldn’t have gotten done. Ask yourself, how many hours of service did you do this year?

      1. As a newspaper, it’s really great to see fellow Lakers stand up for what they believe in. Consider writing a letter to the editor, which you can leave signed in Ms.Leben’s box. With a record number of service hours this year, no one can deny that NCL’s work is important. The author of this piece is not questioning the work NCL does, but rather the sorority-like nature of the chapter.

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