Meet the New 223-2024 Elks Lodge #322 Exalted Ruler; Shane Bagnall!
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. Invite a friend to join.
Click here to submit an online application to a friend or relative. In the top left corner, complete the red box.
What We Do
Elks invest in their communities through programs that help children grow up healthy and drug-free, meet the needs of today’s veterans, and improve the quality of life for their members and the community. 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 eagerness to share, whose prudent long-term planning, and whose willingness to serve for free and with enthusiasm infuses the Order with an exuberant and enduring expression of the true volunteer spirit.
Since its inception, the Elks National Foundation (ENF) has contributed more than $500 million towards Elks charitable projects nationwide. The ENF also helps provide for benevolent, educational, and patriotic community-minded programs in such fields as benefiting 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. For this reason, the Elks Drug Awareness Education Program was launched to warn primary-grade students and their parents of the dangers of drug use. Additionally, every lodge observes June 14th as Flag Day, a tradition that the Elks began in 1907 and was later adopted by Congress as an official observance. 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; nor 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 veteran’s hospital; they regularly contribute to schools and police and fire departments; and they assist the young and the needy throughout this great nation.
Of note is the fact 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, as well as other decision-makers at various levels-serve without salaries.
The Elks organization is governed through democratic representation, with overall statutes set by voting at national conventions. The BPO Elks national headquarters is in Chicago. The Chicago campus is also the site of the Elks National Veterans Memorial building, and it is the home of the Elks National Foundation, the Order’s charitable trust; the Elks National Veterans Service Commission.
It All Began With the Jolly Corks
An Englishman by the name of Charles Algernon Sidney Vivian arrived in New York in 1867 after a successful theatrical career in London. He wanted to imitate an English fraternity named after the (African) Buffalo, but others wanted an American animal, hence the Elk was selected for its peaceful and protective nature.
While in England, Mr. Vivian, had heard the novelist Charles Dickens speak on benevolence. Inspired by Charles Dickens, Charles Vivian included the word “Benevolent” into our title; the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.
It All Began With the Jolly Corks. Starting as a group of actors and entertainers bent on having fun AND avoiding a New York Excise tax in 1867 (Sundays were the ‘dry’ day), this social group called themselves the Jolly Corks (for a clever trick with corks they performed on the uninitiated to win rounds of drinks). That same year as membership grew, some members saw the vision to become more helpful in the community. Alas, two feuding factions split the group over different philosophies. Fortunately, the latter faction moved forward with their new ideals, and in February of 1868, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks was chartered–and with a great new spirit and direction, began to help Veterans, Scouting, Scholarships and more–wherever Charity, Justice, and Brotherly Love were needed!
For more information about the elks lodge, click here.
Want to know more about the history of Elkdom? Watch this video, 150 years told by the Jolly Corks.