To inculcate the principles of Charity, Justice, Brotherly Love and Fidelity; to recognize a belief in God; to promote the welfare and enhance the happiness of its Members; to quicken the spirit of American patriotism; to cultivate good fellowship; to perpetuate itself as a fraternal organization, and to provide for its government, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the United States of America will serve the people and communities through benevolent programs, demonstrating that Elks Care and Elks Share. For more information, visit the Elks website at
Origin & Purpose
The Elks organization was founded in New York City on February 16, 1868 under the name “Jolly Corks” by 15 actors, entertainers and others associated with the theater. In ensuing years, membership expanded to other professions.
The Fraternal Order was founded “To promote and practice the four cardinal virtues of Charity, Justice, Brotherly Love and Fidelity; to promote the welfare and enhance the happiness of its members; to quicken the spirit of American Patriotism and cultivate good fellowship.”
The Order is a non-political, non-sectarian and strictly American fraternity. Proposal for membership in the Order is only by invitation of a member in good standing. To be accepted as a member, one must be an American citizen, believe in God, be of good moral character and be at least 21 years old.
What They Do
The Order spends more than $80,000,000 every year for benevolent, educational and patriotic community-minded programs in such fields as benefitting physically handicapped children, sponsoring Elks National Foundation scholarships, scouting, athletic teams, veterans’ works, a national “Hoop Shoot” free-throw contest involving more than 3 million children, physical and occupational therapy programs and patriotic programs. The youth of our country have always been important to the Order. It is for this reason the Elks Drug Awareness Education Program was launched to warn primary grade students and their parents of the dangers in drug use. Additionally, every lodge observes June 14th as Flag Day, a tradition which the Elks began in 1907 and was later adopted by the Congress as an official observance.
Elks Lodges bring so much more to their communities than just a building, golf course or pool. They are places where neighbors come together, families share meals, and children grow up. Elks invest in their communities through programs that help children grow up healthy and drug-free, by undertaking projects that address unmet need, and by honoring the service and sacrifice of our veterans.
- Elks National Foundation
- Elk State Association
- Elks Hoop Shoot
- Elks Drug Awareness Program
- Elks National Veterans Memorial
- Veterans Service Commission
- Elks Community Investments Program
- Americanism Essay
- Elks Soccer Shoot
- Elks Gold
- Elks Schools
- The Antlers
- Elks Achievements
Each year the Elks National Foundation provides more than $3.65 million in college scholarships to graduating seniors.
All across the nation our Elk State Associations sponsor programs to build stronger communities by assisting those in need through scholarships, medical research, recreational opportunities, and lots more.
The yearly Elks Hoop Shoot Free Throw Program is open to all boys and girls ages 8 through 13. The contest starts at the lodge level and advances through district, state and regional contests before the national finals in the spring.
The Elks Drug Awareness Program distributes literature and organizes events to make kids and their parents aware of the dangers posed by alcohol, tobacco and illegal drugs. Try the program’s Drug Awareness quiz and test your knowledge!
A monument in the truest sense, the Elks National Veterans Memorial was built in 1926 to honor Americans whose profound sacrifices for the nation can never be recognized by mere words.
Since the early days of Elkdom, the Veterans Service Commission has patriotically served those Elks who have fought for our great nation.
Through the Elks National Foundation’s Community Investments Program, Lodges can apply for grants to serve their communities, meeting local needs.
The Americanism essay contest is a patriotic theme based writing contest for students in 5th through 8th grade.
A program under the Youth Activities Committee, the Elks Soccer Shoot Program is intended for toddlers to teenagers.
A program designed young people with a desire to play golf and want to be the next Tiger Woods or Natalie Gulbis.
This effort has been bringing nearly 10 million dictionaries to schools and students over the past 15 years.
A program for young people between 12 and up to 21, the Junior Elks are part of the Antlers.
A program designed to recognize outstanding young men and women for achievements in their school and community.