||Our Charter..dated July 7, 1954
on image to the left to see larger
veiw of the Charter
Who Are We?
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
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