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 more than 800,000 men and women in more than 2,000 communities.

The BPO Elks is committed to the ideals of charity and patriotism. To that end, Elks have now disbursed, over the course of the Order's history, more than $3.6 billion in cash, goods, and services to the nation's youth, its veterans, the disadvantaged and handicapped, and to individuals and groups in support of patriotic and civic programs. Annually the BPO Elks give more than $200 Million in this fashion, 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; 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 veterans hospital; they contribute regularly to schools and police and fire departments; and they 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 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.

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; and The Elks Magazine, the official monthly publication that is sent to every member of the Order.

Eye Clinic Annual Appeal 2020

Dear Fellow Elks'

The Oregon State Elks provide Oregon’s children with the facilities for the best pediatric eye care in the region, possibly the nation. Thanks to your continued generosity, during the Covid-19 pandemic, our dedicated Elks Children’s Eye Clinic staff was able to provide pediatric eye care at about 80% of our normal capacity.

With Elks support, the Elks Vision Screening program has
assisted Head Start teachers to perform vision screening on
thousands of preschool children this year, despite the lockdown
and school closures. The Elks program provided screening
equipment, telephone assistance and follow up support to
every district of the state. Your state project is truly one to be proud of. The daily miracles that occur at the Elks Children’s Eye Clinic would not be possible without thousands of donors and volunteers who give time, money, talent and love. I hope you’ll join me and your fellow Elks in supporting our major project.

If you would like to donate online, please click the yellow “Donate” button.

While we won’t be sending out individual thank you letters, please accept in advance our sincere thanks and appreciation of your thoughtful gift. Your donation is tax deductible; please keep this for your tax records. (Elks Children’s Eye Clinic 501-C Tax ID # 93-1117289).

Warmest wishes for a happy holiday season,


Kim Duty
President, Oregon State Elks Association


Eye Clinic Live Cameras

Dear Oregon Elks,

Jan right after his first surgery.

On April 18, 2020, our 3-year-old son Jan was playing with a stick that accidentally sprung into his face. Hours later after emergency surgery, we confirmed that a twig had speared 4mm into his eye, through his cornea and line of vision. The ophthalmologist referred us immediately to Dr. Lori Wilson at the Elks Children’s Eye Clinic and gave this sage advice: “Today was about reconstructing and saving his eye. Tomorrow, your long journey begins.”

Days later, I carried Jan into Dr. Wilson’s office, absolutely empty due to Covid lock-down. She and her team were calm, skilled, and helped us make a plan, despite the pandemic complications. Jan had microscopic stitches holding his injured cornea together, damage to his lens, the development of traumatic cataracts, and risk of severe amblyopia because such a young brain will quickly forget an eye exists if it isn’t being used. We were prepared for blindness.

On top of this, one of the most difficult things to manage was Jan’s trauma. Such a small child, he had developed severe PTSD from the experience. Everything – from managing his eye shield, tape on his skin, doing exams, eye drops (sometimes up to 15 per day), and patching took 24/7 care with patience, love, and coaching.

Jan had surgery with Dr. Wilson to remove his stitches, remove the cataracts and replace his lens. The whole team was extremely sensitive to his PTSD. Even the anesthesiologist helped when she realized Jan was afraid to be wheeled alone into surgery, so she held out her arms and carried him herself.

Today, Jan’s recovery is miraculous. He wears glasses with a bifocal, patches daily, and has improved his vision to 20/30.

Jan in his bifocal glasses.

A note to family after a recent appointment said it all: “Expecting minimal vision, he beat the odds.” It means that all the effort to keep his fingers out of his bandages helped the stitches hold. It means the raw skin on his face from taping his shield protected from further injury. It means that all the stressful patching helped his brain not forget that eye exists. It means thatwhen he talks about wanting to play basketball like Sabrina, I’m able to tell him he can without lying. It means that he doesn’t have a “good eye” and a “bad eye.” Just a right and left. Dr. Wilson looked at me and said “This is so positive. He will never see worse than this. And if we keep at it, I think we can improve.” All I could think about was one thing: I’m so grateful. My baby can see!

Thank you for all your support to this clinic. It truly does change lives.

Jan, fall 2020 sporting a perfect smile and 20/30 vision.
Amelie Aust


Oregon State Elks Association Newsletter

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