Update on Freedom Grants and Covid-19

We know that many Lodges are unable to hold events and projects as planned, given that many VA and veterans facilities are restricting volunteers and large gatherings are postponed.

To help ensure that veterans are receiving needed help in this difficult time, we are relaxing normal Freedom Grant guidelines for the next few months to allow Lodges to do what is necessary to serve veterans in need.

For the next two months, Lodges may donate remaining 2019-20 Freedom Grant funds or supplies to veteran’s causes. If you have funds remaining due to a cancelled project, please email Vets@elks.org for approval and include your proposed change and a new budget.

Additionally, Freedom Grants for the 2020-21 year will not go online April 1 as previously planned. This year’s Freedom Grant applications will now be available starting June 1. Please note that this is subject to change. For information about ENF Grants, visit elks.org/cip.

Great news! In 2020-21, the Elks National Veterans Service Commission will award Freedom Grants of $2,500 to 325 Lodges holding projects that serve veterans and active-duty military members. Grants will be awarded to Lodges that submit qualifying projects that serve a population in need.

"So long as there are veterans, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks will never forget them."

Freedom Grant projects must focus on one of these five areas:

  • employment
  • homelessness and housing
  • military families
  • health
  • educational support

Applications must follow all grant guidelines. Please take the time to craft detailed and complete applications that explain how your Lodge is serving veterans in need. Expect follow-up for applications that do not provide enough information. Qualifying applications will describe in detail:

  • How many Elks will be involved and what they will do
  • How the project addresses the needs of veterans and/or military members
  • How the Lodge will budget the grant, including three or more expense categories

Basic Grant Guidelines

Click here for a succinct, printable version of our general CIP grant guidelines.

Charitable: Grants should always be used for charitable purposes. Keep the following six broad categories (defined as charitable by the IRS) in mind when planning a grant project; relieve the poor, distressed or underprivileged; advance education or science, but not through scholarships; lessen the burdens of government; lessen neighborhood tensions; eliminate prejudice and discrimination; combat juvenile delinquency.

Restrictions: Grant guidelines state that Lodges may not use grants to support State Major Projects, national Elks programs, fund scholarships, Hoop Shoot/Soccer Shoot events, youth awards nights, poster and/or essay contests, appreciations dinners, fundraisers or general community events. Grants may not be used for Lodge maintenance and/or repairs, or to only benefit Lodge members and their families. Grant funds must serve a population in need, and cannot be donations of funds or supplies to individuals.



2020-21 Dates: Freedom Grant applications will become available online June 1, 2020, and will be open until all 325 grants are awarded. Freedom Grants are available for use between June 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021. Final Report Forms are due one month after Freedom Grant projects are completed.

How to Apply: The Lodge Secretary or Grants Coordinator is able to process, complete and submit the online application.

Process: Upon approval of a Lodge's online application, an approval letter and grant check will be sent to the Lodge address. A Lodge can use its $2,500 Freedom Grant in conjunction with a Beacon Grant, Spotlight Grant and/or a Gratitude Grant. Applications must be submitted separately.

Online Final Report: Final Reports are online and can be accessed on the Grants Dashboard. After the grant has been used, complete the Final Report and upload all grant-related receipts and photos. Final Reports will be due 30 days after the anticipated grant completion date. The Lodge will be locked out of applying for grants 60 days from that date.

Questions? Email Vets@elks.org or call 773/755-4736.

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