January 2023 Council and Chapter News

January 2023 Council and Chapter News

Recent news from The MOAA Newsletter. View previous editions of Council and Chapter News here. Send updates about your affiliate’s activities to blaird@moaa.org for possible inclusion in future editions.


Advocacy In Action 2023

Find details about MOAA’s annual advocacy event.


MOAA's annual advocacy event — Advocacy In Action (AiA) — brings members from across the nation in contact with their lawmakers to address critical topics on MOAA’s legislative agenda. Traditionally an in-person event that brings hundreds to the Hill, the 2021 and 2020 events were virtual. The 2022 campaign was a hybrid model, with MOAA members reaching every member of Congress via thousands of letters and more than 235 meetings, both in-person and virtual. The 2023 AIA event will be held in-person Wednesday, April 26. It will coincide with the board of directors meeting the week of April 24 at the Hyatt Regency in Crystal City, Va. Here are some key dates and planning considerations:

  • In early February, state leads will receive more details that will help with building their teams, making appointments, and preparing for the trip (parameters and rules to follow).
  • We will have a Legislative Leaders Page on MOAA.org as the go-to source for information on the AiA event and support.
  • Training is scheduled for April 25 from 1-3:30 p.m. at the hotel.
  • You can start some of your planning now based on the dates and who you might want to be on your team. For awareness, an all-day engagement schedule can take up to 3 to 5 miles of walking, including stairs. We will address team sizes later based on specific concerns for those states with 18 or more representatives.
  • More details will follow regarding the rest of the events during this week, which include the Marix Awards ceremony, meetings, and AiA team instructions, and Council Presidents’ Seminar.


MOAA’s AIA topics are being staffed this month and will be vetted by the Government Relations Committee mid-January, then approved by the board of directors Jan. 27. You can try to get appointments early, but given the changes on the Hill with the 118th Congress, it is more likely you will need to wait until early February when you will know the approved topics (the fact sheet will not be completed that early, but you can include the information in your appointment request).


For general awareness, here are MOAA’s priorities for this coming year. You can find more details in the January issue of Military Officer:

  • Compensation and Service-Earned Benefits​
  • Military Housing​
  • Health Care for Currently Serving and Retirees​
  • Health Care and Benefits for Veterans​
  • Service Families​
  • Survivors​
  • Guard and Reserves


MOAA Earns Top Lobbyist Award for the 16th Consecutive Year

Thank you to MOAA’s councils and chapters for your continued efforts to educate and inform members of Congress.


With the help of its more than 400 councils, chapters, and satellites, MOAA recently earned Top Lobbyist honors for the 16th consecutive year from The Hill, one of the nation’s top Washington-focused news organizations. This recognition is a direct result of the work of our headquarters’ team in Alexandria, Va., and our chapter members nationwide.


Throughout 2022, MOAA members and national staff contacted every one of the 535 congressional offices and conducted at least 250 virtual and in-person meetings during our spring Advocacy in Action campaign. Further, chapters and members at-large nationwide initiated over 116,000 actions to engage their legislators. This coordinated legislative advocacy effort focused on military pay raises, eliminating the dollar-for-dollar offset in concurrent receipt for medically retired veterans, and reducing mental health copayments through the TRICARE health insurance program.


A highlight of our work together in 2022 included passage of the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act benefiting servicemembers and veterans impacted by exposure to burn pits and other toxic substances during their military service.


MOAA’s efforts will continue in 2023 as the first session of the 118th Congress convenes and our elected representatives look to MOAA to bring forward well-researched and defensible policy solutions to maintain the strength of the all-volunteer force and honor the service of our nation’s 16.5 million veterans and their families and survivors.


2023 Council Stipends

We will again be offering two stipends to councils for 2023, upon request. First, the virtual meeting stipend is again a lump sum of $180. This stipend is also available to the virtual council. Second, the travel stipend of $1,250 for geographic councils is based on 2,000 miles at the 2023 IRS rate ($.625/mile), but councils may use the funds to pay for any travel expenses necessary to visit member chapters (i.e., lodging). The visits may be conducted by the council president or by any council officer they designate, and accounting is expected to be done at the local level. 


No claims need to be submitted to national, but we do ask that you submit visit reports, as they might be considered for Levels of Excellence award purposes. Council presidents are asked to kindly signal your intent for both virtual meeting and travel stipend, or intent not to receive the stipends, to chapters@moaa.org.


Enter Your Affiliate’s Newsletter, Website in the Communications Award Contest

The deadline to submit a nomination for the annual Col. Marvin J. Harris Communications Awards is Feb. 1. Council and chapter leaders can submit entries to be recognized as a four- or five-star winner in two categories of competition: 1) print newsletters and electronic newsletters and 2) websites.


Entries are accepted through an online submission platform. Find more details.


Earn Advertising Revenue for Your Affiliate

Would you like to earn $100 for your chapter by including an advertisement in your newsletter for MOAA Insurance Plans? MOAA councils and chapters can enroll in the advertising program now through May 31. (Ads can be published later in the year.) Find additional details about the program and how to enroll here.


Apply for a 2023 Community Outreach Grant

Each year, The MOAA Foundation awards Community Outreach Grants to active MOAA councils and chapters providing services to local military and veteran families — either directly or through partnerships with other community organizations — in one of 10 areas of critical military and veteran family need: housing, food assistance, employment, health (including behavioral health), family support, community reintegration, financial assistance, legal assistance, transportation, and crisis relief.


This year’s grant application closes Feb. 28. Councils and chapters interested in applying can find grant criteria, reporting requirements, and the application at MOAA.org/communitygrant.


Surviving Spouse Corner: Looking Back On 2022

MOAA’s Surviving Spouse Advisory Council saw many accomplishments this year — participating in advocacy efforts, educating fellow MOAA members, and giving back to their communities.


By Gail Joyce, chair, Surviving Spouse Advisory Council


Surviving spouses comprise approximately 13% of MOAA’s membership — that is over 46,000 members, voices, voters, givers, and doers. The Surviving Spouse Advisory Council (SSAC) represents these 46,000 members by supporting surviving spouses and spouses and promoting MOAA’s strategic priorities at every opportunity through education, encouragement, and engagement. 


In 2022, surviving spouses led MOAA chapters as president, secretary, treasurer, newsletter editor, program director, and legislative chair and created and managed community programs. We conducted five surviving spouse liaison trainings for over 100 surviving spouse liaisons, spoke at more than two dozen chapter meetings, wrote 12 articles, contributed to more than 100 Advocacy In Action sessions, and participated in 12 virtual meetings with over 500 total participants. We also organized and participated in a surviving spouse/spouse summit that attracted more than 80 participants. Here’s a closer look:


Surviving Spouse Liaison Training: SSAC member training was held during regional leadership workshops in Florida, Washington, North Carolina, Nebraska, and Texas. Average attendance for each workshop was 80, with about 20 attending the Surviving Spouse Liaison Training. SSAC members continue to fine-tune the training based on new information, evaluations, and comments from participants.


Surviving Spouse Virtual Chapter: Membership continues to grow, with 210 members from 38 states. The chapter meets on the third Tuesday of each month. Every other month is a business meeting with a speaker, and alternate months are an informal gathering to exchange information and ideas. Attendance varies but usually includes 30 at the social meetings and about 60 at the more formal meeting. Learn more about the chapter online.


Articles for MOAA Newsletters: SSAC members wrote monthly Surviving Spouse Corner columns, which are published the first Thursday of each month in The MOAA Newsletter. Read past Surviving Spouse Corners.


Surviving Spouse Liaison Excellence Award: This year, we chose two excellent finalists from an outstanding list of nominees as recipients of the award — one representing a chapter and one representing a council. Learn more about this year’s recipients, Judith Thomas and Patricia Bergquist.


Surviving Spouse/Spouse Summit: A highlight of the year was the second annual “Surviving Spouse/Spouse Summit,” held during the MOAA annual meeting in October in Kansas City, Mo. Over 80 surviving spouses, spouses, and military members attended the two-hour event that featured a five-member panel discussing relevant issues. Based on evaluations and comments, it was a huge success and something we can build on for future events. 


Chapter Leaders Roundtable Discussion: SSAC members participated in roundtable discussions about important chapter issues. This was an excellent opportunity for SSAC members to get to know chapter leaders from other states. 


MOAA Surviving Spouses and Friends Facebook Group: This group has over 750 members and provides updated information on important surviving spouse issues, especially regarding the Survivor Benefit Plan/Dependency and Indemnity Compensation offset. Former SSAC member Kathy Prout is the administrator, with current SSAC members Kathy Thorp and Nancy Mullens assisting. 


Community Involvement: In addition to direct MOAA involvement, SSAC members participated in caregiving and Gold Star Family organizations, Veterans Day and Memorial Day events, and with local veterans’ service organizations such as the VFW, American Legion, and Disabled American Veterans.

The council’s goals for 2023 include increasing surviving spouse membership in national MOAA, local chapters, and the virtual chapter; developing a webinar on surviving spouse and spouse issues; and organizing the next Spouse/Surviving Spouse Summit. Improving training guidelines and support materials will also be at the top of our to-do list this year. We look forward to a very productive and exciting year as we never stop serving!


Upcoming Events

Monthly Chapter Leader Virtual Roundtable: Join us Jan. 26 at 7 p.m. Eastern for a discussion about generational recruiting. Join here at the time of the meeting.


Find a complete list of Council and Chapter Affairs events online.


Save the Dates: Regional Leader Workshops will be held in 2023 as follows. Presidents, membership chairs, legislative liaisons, and surviving spouse liaisons from councils and chapters in nearby states will be invited to attend. National MOAA pays for meals and Friday night lodging.

  • Feb. 24-25, Midsouth (Birmingham, Ala.)
  • June 3-4, Northeast (TBD)
  • Sept. 22-23, Northcentral (TBD)
  • Nov. 17-18, West (TBD)


From the Field

MOAA chapters give back to their communities through fundraising efforts, community-service projects, scholarship programs, and other initiatives. Here are some recent activities. 


The Fort Knox (Ky.) Chapter hosted its annual Ralph Reese Golf Tournament on Sept. 16, 2022, at the Lindsay Golf Club on Fort Knox. This was the 45th year of hosting the tournament, which is named in honor of retired Maj. Ralph Reese, who was a World War II veteran, a lifetime member of MOAA, and an avid golfer. This year, 88 players participated. The tournament serves as the major fundraiser for the chapter, with the funds used for college scholarships and support to other military-affiliated charities such as high school ROTC programs, the Radcliff Veteran’s Home, Wreaths Across America, and Warriors Afield Foundation.


Member of the Northern Arizona Chapter conducted its second annual holiday card writing campaign. Members wrote cards to residents of a local retirement community and to veterans at the VA to help ensure no one felt forgotten over the holidays.


The Tampa (Fla.) Chapter hosted its sixth quarterly event for transitioning military members and their families in November. The event, “Thriving After Military Service,” addressed leading fulfilling lives following military service and included speakers from TRICARE, the VA, local financial advisors and attorneys, and representatives and volunteers from local veterans’ organizations and charity organizations that address veteran homelessness and mental health. 


Get Newsletter Content From National MOAA

Need some content to supplement your chapter’s newsletter? The White Label Newsletter Template includes information, articles, and helpful tips from national MOAA that already are formatted for inclusion in your newsletter. The content is updated every month to ensure you are receiving timely, relevant information.   


New Chapter Recruiting Video

Enjoy and share freely this chapter recruiting video. Find the video on YouTube at https://youtu.be/cvpal93ZwpY.  



National MOAA Travel Schedule

Here are the councils and chapters MOAA leaders will be visiting over the next few months.


Contact the associated chapter if you would like to attend any of the following scheduled visits:

  • Jan. 6, Florida Council of Chapters Leadership Seminar, Orlando, Gen. Gary L. North, USAF (Ret), board of directors (BoD) chairman, and staff
  • Jan. 7, North Carolina Council of Chapters, virtual, Capt. Frank J. Michael, USN (Ret), Council and Chapter Affairs (CCA)
  • Jan. 7, Prince George’s County (Md.) Chapter, Clinton, Col. Lucretia M. McClenney, USA (Ret), BoD
  • Jan. 10, Grand Strand (S.C.) Chapter, Myrtle Beach, Capt. Frank J. Michael, USN (Ret), CCA
  • Jan. 13, Low Country (S.C.) Chapter, Beaufort, Capt. Frank J. Michael, USN (Ret), CCA
  • Jan. 14, Cape Fear (N.C.) Chapter, Fort Bragg, Capt. Frank J. Michael, USN (Ret), CCA
  • Jan. 18, Olympia Area (Wash.) Chapter, Olympia, Capt. Frank J. Michael, USN (Ret), CCA
  • Jan. 18, Susquehanna (Md.) Chapter, Havre de Grace, CWO4 Lelia Jackson, USMC (Ret), BoD
  • Jan. 18, Virginia Council of Chapters, virtual, Capt. Jim Carman, USN (Ret), vice president, Council/Chapter and Member Support
  • Jan. 19, Piedmont (S.C.) Chapter, Central, Chaplain (Col.) Samuel J.T. Boone, USA (Ret), BoD
  • Jan. 19, Georgia Mountain Chapter, Cumming, Capt. Erin E. Stone, JAGC, USN (Ret), CCA
  • Jan. 20, Ark-La-Tex (La.) Chapter, Shreveport, Capt. Erin E. Stone, JAGC, USN (Ret), CCA
  • Jan. 26, Virginia Peninsula Chapter MOAA, Williamsburg, Maj. Gen. Joseph Lynch, USAF (Ret), MOAA general counsel
  • Feb. 2, Northwest Florida Chapter, Fort Walton Beach, Capt. Frank J. Michael, USN (Ret), CCA
  • Feb. 11, Cape Coral (Fla.) Chapter, Cape Coral, Capt. Jim Carman, USN (Ret), vice president, Council/Chapter and Member Support
  • Feb. 17, Tampa (Fla.) Chapter, Tampa, Capt. Erin E. Stone, JAGC, USN (Ret), CCA
  • Feb. 24, Mid-South Workshop, Birmingham, Ala., Capt. Frank J. Michael, USN (Ret), CCA


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