In 1992, the NRA’s fundraising program, Friends of NRA was founded with one goal in mind – raising money to further the growth of the shooting sports. But since then, it has become so much more.
Friends of NRA hosts events all across the country to celebrate those who support and protect the Second Amendment. These events bring together like-minded folks for evenings of fun, fellowship, and the chance to win a firearm or two. Since its inception, the program has held over 17,600 events and reached more than 3.2 million attendees, raising $600 million for The NRA Foundation, the country's leading charitable organization in support of the shooting sports.
Friends of NRA is made possible not only by those who attend events, but by the NRA Field Representatives and volunteer committees that work tirelessly to bring the program to their communities.
“I believe that I have made a difference,” shared Tom Baldridge, NRA Field Representative from Western Pennsylvania. “And I tell my committee members that because they’re the ones who do it. They’re making a difference and changing their communities [through Friends of NRA.]”
That support doesn’t go unnoticed. This week, NRA Field Representatives traveled from across the country to NRA Headquarters for their Winter Meeting to celebrate their committees’ accomplishments during the past year as well as to plan for 2017. But there’s a twist. This upcoming year just so happens to be the 25th Anniversary of the Friends of NRA program and NRA staff are dedicated to making it the best year yet!
“It’s amazing how this program has progressed,” explained Jason Quick, NRA Regional Director of the South West region. “You look at this room and it’s full of true believers in the Second Amendment, the cause of Friends of NRA, The NRA Foundation, and the money that we raised for youth shooting sports… It’s awe inspiring.”
The big draw that had each Field Representative on their toes was the chance to view the 2017 Merchandise Package, the Gun of the Year, and National Sponsorship items at the annual Merchandise Preview. Here, they got to see first-hand what items would be available for 2017 events as well as meet with vendors and industry partners. From gun bags to home decor to firearm accessories, they carefully chose items perfect for their communities
Several of the vendors have been supporting Friends of NRA for many years. Big Sky Carvers has been supporting the program since the beginning, Made in USA Framing for 23 years, and Blue Ridge knives for the past 10 years.
“Our partnership with Friends of NRA partnership has really grown,” shared Alex Martin of Blue Ridge Knives. “I’m a huge Second Amendment supporter and actually doubled my donation to the program this year. I’m happy to be a sponsor.”
Field Representatives also had the chance to check out products from new vendors like Flags of Valor, a veteran owned, veteran operated, and combat veteran made business. “This experience has been great,” said Bill Steorts of Flags of Valor, “We didn’t really know what to expect but we’ve been meeting people from all around the country. We knew [this opportunity] would be beneficial not only for us, but for Friends of NRA as well.”
With the help and support of vendors, NRA Field Representatives, and countless volunteers, the 25th year of Friends of NRA will be one for the books.
Want to see the exclusive merchandise found only at Friends of NRA events? Find an event near you today and learn how you can get involved. Also, stay tuned for the announcement of the 2017 Merchandise Package and the prestigious Gun of the Year!