Elks Leading the Way
For over 150 years, the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks has been dedicated to serving our fellow citizens. There are more than 1,900 Elks Lodges across the country with a total membership nearing 800,000.
Here in Florida, the 55,000 men and women of the Elks in 99 Lodges from the panhandle to the Keys are enjoying the camaraderie, compassion, community outreach, and support that are all part of being an Elk.
In 2016, the Elks nationally donated approximately $283 million in cash, gifts and time to make our communities better places to live. The Elks are one of the premier patriotic and charitable organizations in the United States of America.
Elk volunteers will visit thousands of hospitalized Veterans who have protected our freedoms. The Elks vow, “So long as there are Veterans, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks will never forget them.” The Elks support both active military forces and retired veterans. Elks furnish food, comfort care items, therapeutic items and gifts, host holiday celebrations and recreational activities at bases and hospitals, and stand ready to fulfill any need when called upon. Last year alone, the value of Elks’ contributions to the nation’s heroes provided more than $32 million to more than 300 Veterans Administration Medical Centers, clinics, and state care facilities. The Elks have entered into a partnership with VHA to support efforts to rescue homeless Veterans in their communities. To this end, the Elks have pledged $4 million dollars to help end Veteran Homelessness.
Annually, the Elks award college scholarships across the nation totaling more than $4 million. The Elks’ Community Investments Program [CIP] will award nearly $10 million towards enriching our communities.
As a member of our Order, you are supporting all of these programs while enjoying all of the benefits of being an Elk.
Harry Anna Investment Trust, Inc.
Of everything that the Florida Elks do, perhaps nothing is more important than our work with the state’s youth. Sowing the seeds of accomplishment and commitment through our Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services and Florida Elks Youth Camp programs, children are given the opportunity to grow and learn beyond their wildest imaginations.
Known to Florida Elks as the Harry-Anna Trust Fund, named after Harry and Anna Miller, who donated land and a building to establish the original Florida Elks Hospital for Crippled Children, the trust was started in 1951. The purpose of this charitable trust was, and continues to be, the collection of donations and the acceptance of endowed gifts.
The trust fund is restricted, which means that only the income derived from it may be used to support our two major projects: the Florida Elks Youth Camp and Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services.
Florida Elks Youth Camp
Serving 20,000 children a year, the Florida Elks Youth Camp contributes to each camper's mental, physical and social growth. Whether it’s building confidence and resiliency for kids with serious burns, physical disabilities, or just kids’ needing to learn social skills and reconnecting with nature, the camp is there year round to make a profound difference in their everyday and future lives. Camp expands every child’s abilities.
A project of the Florida State Elks Association, the camp is a beautiful and modern 405 acre complex that provides a unique camping experience for 7 weeks during the summer to all children of Florida ages 9 through 13. Camp sessions last from Sunday afternoon to Saturday morning and provide campers with housing, food, and of course, tons of fun!
Each of the camp’s 52 modern cabins has heat, A/C, a full bathroom and sleeps up to 9, including staff.
During their stay, campers participate in a range of activities including: archery, swimming, canoeing, arts & crafts, capture the flag, soccer, and of course, climbing at our challenge ropes course!
The camp is accredited through the American Camping Association and provides a 2 to 7 staff to camper ratio, and maintains a dedicated infirmary staffed with registered nurses.
Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services
When a young child gets access to free in-home therapy, everything changes for that child and family.
Florida Elks Children's Therapy Services provides in-home physical therapy and occupational therapy to Florida children. Priority is given to children in need whose families have limited financial resources and would not otherwise have ready access to these therapy services.
Therapists are employed by the Florida Elks and are licensed to practice by the state of Florida. With 30 mobile units serving over 500 patients a week, our therapists are treating children throughout the state covering most of its 67 counties.
The services received by patients who meet eligibility requirements are absolutely free. We do not receive financial assistance from any level of government. Instead, we receive our funding from the Florida Elks Charitable Trust Fund, Elks lodges, various Florida Elks ladies organizations, the Elks National Foundation, and most importantly, from generous member and public donations.
Youth Scholarship Programs
The Florida State Elks Association is committed to helping deserving students receive the necessary education and training to start a successful career. Preparing a quality workforce is essential in generating economic growth and improving the quality of life for our Florida communities. By enabling deserving students the opportunity of success instead of a lifetime of what might have been, the Elks have helped thousands of students reach their dreams.
Florida Sponsored Scholarships
C. Valentine Bates Memorial Hope Scholarship
The C. Valentine Bates Memorial HOPE Scholarship targets mainly trade school students who are not in the top 10% of their graduating class but have managed to maintain a minimum 2.5 to a maximum 3.3 /4 un-weighted GPA. These students have demonstrated leadership through participation in school activities, community service, and citizenship. Consideration is given to those students who have shouldered extra responsibility such as working throughout their high school careers to help provide support of siblings or family.
In 2016, $106,000 in Hope scholarships were awarded to 20 deserving Florida students.
Van Duren Memorial Scholarship
This scholarship fund is a program of the Florida Elks Youth Camp and the Florida State Elks Association. The fund provides scholarships in amounts up to $5,000 per year to graduating high school/home schooled seniors who are planning to attend college and to students currently enrolled in an accredited American college, university or community college.
In 2016, $50,000 in Van Duren scholarships were awarded to 12 deserving students.
Military & Veteran Programs
On battlefields of long ago and today, America’s military and veterans made sacrifices for all of us. Through their service, their pride, and their patriotism, the men and women of our armed forces made our nation what it is today. They defended our freedoms. They fought for justice. They preserved our ideals. Through it all, they forged our character. They are our real heroes. Indeed, our nation was built, and continues to be built by their actions.
Since 1917, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks has demonstrated its compassion for the veterans of our armed forces through numerous programs and activities. Since 1946, the order has maintained the pledge, “So long as there are veterans, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks will never forget them.”
Each November, the Elks observe National Veterans Remembrance Month. We ask everyone in our communities throughout Florida to join the Elks as we thank our veterans. Let’s all do our part to remember these men and women.
Army of Hope
The Army of Hope is a program of the Florida State Elks Association established in 2007. Its mission is to provide aid assistance to the families of deceased, disabled, and deployed members of the military.
The families of Florida active duty military personnel, military reservists, Coast Guard, the National Guard, and/or their dependents are eligible. An active duty member stationed in Florida with his/her dependents would qualify as a Florida resident.
Since its inception, the Army of Hope has raised over $250,000 for families of deployed military members. The help our members give through the Florida Army of Hope allows the military member to safely concentrate on his/her duties without worrying about the family at home. The Army of Hope also assists returning veterans with costs to re-establish their civilian life after deployment.
Florida Ladies of Elks
The Florida Ladies of Elks (FLOE) and its affiliated ladies groups and members work to benefit the Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services, the Florida Elks Youth Camp and various other projects for their affiliated Lodges.
Through their financial, administrative, management and fundraising efforts, FLOE has long demonstrated the true meaning of Caring and Sharing. To date, the ladies have donated nearly $2,000,000 to the Harry Anna Investment Trust and our Major Projects.
FLOE encourages any wife, widow of an Elk, or a Lady Elk member, to become a member of a Ladies organization and join us in our good works. FLOE meetings are held in conjunction with the Elks State meetings and there is an annual FLOE Conference held in different locations throughout Florida.
Elks are the largest volunteer drug awareness program in the United States. We are very proud of our dedicated army of volunteers who freely give their time and talents to this most noble cause. The Elks are committed to eliminating the use and abuse of illegal drugs by all members of society and believe that in order to ensure a bright future for our country, it is essential that our children be raised in a drug-free environment.
Each year, Florida Elks sponsor statewide Drug Awareness Poster and Essay contests designed to involve the lodge, children, schools, and parents. The winner of the essay contest and their parents are invited to the annual Florida Elks state convention each year.
First Responder of the Year
For nearly 150 years, the Elks have been proud to support our first responders. Although our Lodges are known for recognizing their bravery and valiant efforts by honoring them with dinners and awards, we also recognize their bravery and commitment to their communities at the state level during our annual convention.
All law enforcement (police and sheriff), state certified firefighters of any rank below a Chief Officer, EMT’s and support service personnel (dispatch, corrections, etc.) are eligible for consideration. Awards are presented in each of these four categories.