Overview The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the United States of America is one of the oldest and largest fraternal organizations in the country. Since its inception in 1868, the Order of Elks has grown to include nearly 1.2 million men and women in almost 2,200 communities. The BPO Elks is committed to the ideals of charity and patriotism. To that end, Elks have now disbursed over the Order's 132 years more than $2.69 billion in cash, goods, and services to the nation's youth, its veterans, the disadvantaged and handicapped, and in support of patriotic and civic programs. In the 1998-99 fiscal year alone, the BPO Elks expended in such fashion over $160 million, and the Order ranks as one of the largest private providers of college scholarships in the nation. The Elks have created a quiet network of good deeds that has profoundly changed millions of lives for the better, yet there is little public awareness of the impact of their vital work. Why is this so? Quite simply, the Elks have rarely sought recognition, neither have they gone to the general public with fund-raising efforts nor received monies from any level of government. Indeed, the flow of money and goods moves in the opposite direction: the Elks donated to the government the first veterans hospital; contribute regularly to schools and police and fire departments; and assist the young and the needy throughout this great nation. How could this powerful force have come into being? And where does all this charitable giving come from? From the generous hearts of Elks members whose willingness to share, whose prudent long-term planning, and whose time devoted to serve--for free and with enthusiasm--infuses the Order with an exuberant and enduring expression of the true volunteer spirit. Of note is that the elected leadership of the BPO Elks--from the Exalted Rulers of the local Lodges to the national president, known as the Grand Exalted Ruler, and other decision-makers at the various levels--serve without salaries. The organization of the Elks is democratic representation, with overall statutes set through voting at national conventions. The BPO Elks national headquarters is based in Chicago. The Chicago campus is also the site of the Elks Veterans Memorial Building; the home of the Elks National Foundation, the Order's charitable trust; the Elks National Veterans Service Commission; and The Elks Magazine, the official publication that is sent to every member of the Order.
So You Want to Join the Elks To be eligible for membership in the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, you must be a citizen of the United States over the age of 21 who believes in God.
You must be sponsored by a member of the Elks Lodge and reside in the jurisdiction of the Lodge you wish to join. You also need two other Elks who will be your co-sponsors. The Elk who proposes you for membership must obtain a Membership Application from the Lodge Secretary. After your proposer fills in the required portion, you will be given the Application for Membership. Fill it in, following the instructions and answering all questions. Return the completed application to the Lodge Secretary with the prescribed fees. Your application will be read at a regular Lodge meeting. It will then be forwarded to the Investigating Committee, who will call you and set up a time for you and your sponsor to meet with the committee so that they can interview you. After the interview is concluded, the committee will report to the Lodge concerning your membership. The members will be given a notice not less than 10 days nor more than two months before the vote will be taken. When the vote is concluded, you will be notified and asked to present yourself and your spouse for indoctrination. During indoctrination, you will learn more about the Order's programs and charities. You will also be told during the program the date you will be initiated. After initiation as an Elk, you can take part in all meetings and social functions of the Lodge. If for any reason your application is rejected, you cannot make application for membership for six months from the date of rejection.
So You Want to Be Reinstated It is really quite simple to reinstate your membership in the Elks. Go back to your old Lodge and ask the Secretary for an Application for Reinstatement. Fill out the form. Pay the prescribed fees. Your application will be forwarded to the Investigating Committee, who will contact you for an interview. After the interview, the committee will make their recommendation to the members at a regular meeting. After the Lodge vote, you will be notified by the Secretary. You will be required to pay a prorated portion of annual Lodge dues. Then you will be issued your membership card. Should you wish to reinstate your membership in Elkdom with a Lodge other than the one in which you were initiated, you must reside in the jurisdiction of that Lodge. Before you reinstate you have to obtain a Certificate of Release from your old Lodge. Write a check payable to the old Lodge in the amount of $10 and ask the Lodge Secretary to forward a Certificate of Release. When you receive your Certificate of Release present it to the Secretary of the Lodge you want to reinstate your membership with. Then you would go through the steps described earlier. If a Lodge has no proof of prior membership, the burden of proof falls on you. Proof of prior membership can be: An old membership card A canceled check An affidavit signed by two members attesting to prior membership (It must be notarized) If you cannot provide proof of prior membership, it will be necessary to apply for membership as a new member.