At the Massachusetts Elks Association Convention held in Haverhill, a very dedicated Past Grand Exalted Ruler from Massachusetts who was also known as the father of the Elks National Foundation saw his dream of a scholarship foundation become a reality. On June 6, 1927 our membership voted to organize a new corporation known as the Massachusetts Elks' Scholarship Foundation, Incorporated. The original plan was to raise a permanent fund of at least $100,000.00, which shall be invested and the income to be used for distribution in scholarship loans to worthy young men and women of Massachusetts to assist them in obtaining a college education.
PGER John F. Malley, who fathered the plan and was the new corporation's first president, hoped that in time the Scholarship Foundation would become an important factor in educational work in Massachusetts. In a 1928 edition of the Worcester Sunday Telegram, a staff writer stated, "the new foundation established by the Elks is a state-wide humanitarian movement which grants scholarship loans to worthy boys and girls, the out-growth of a new self-help movement instituted by the fraternity to assist higher education". Little did PGER Malley or the Telegram staff writer dream that this program would foster and grow to what we know it is today.
Although carried on quietly within the organization, and without the help of publicity, our permanent fund now exceeds seven and a half million dollars and no longer distributes scholarship loans, but rather scholarship grants. This current year the Scholarship Fund has received over 870 applications and will be awarding a total of $450,000 to worthy boys and girls in pursuit of their college degree.
While there is no compulsion upon any Lodge to contribute and support the foundation, except to urge its members to participate in the great work, this past year we did achieve 100% participation of all Lodges in the state making contributions of $21,786.25 to the fund. Also, this past year a number of Lodges and Districts held fund raising events to help increase the amount of donations made. Two Districts held Gong Shows and raised $6,946.00 and the New Bedford Lodge held a Testimonial Dinner for PSP Joe Antonietta raising $2,085.00, which Big Joe donated to the Scholarship Fund.
Unlike the Elks National Foundation, the Scholarship Fund does not have a suggested per capita donation; however, if every Lodge appointed a Massachusetts Elks Scholarship Fund Raising Chairman who promoted members making individual donations or holds a fund raising event in each lodges our fund will continue to grow and more funds would be available for scholarship grants.
We appeal to every Massachusetts Lodge and to every member thereof to join with us in the effort to build up the fund. Let us demonstrate that "Elks Care - Elks Share".