Bob Hope. J. Edgar Hoover. John F. Kennedy.
What do all of them have in common? They were all members of the international organization Fraternal Order of Eagles, a nonprofit organization that has given more than $100 million to charity since it was founded in Seattle in 1898.
One of the beneficiaries of their generosity over the years has been the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. The Oklahoma state branch of the Eagles sent a check for $2,250 to OMRF on July 29.
Their first gift to OMRF was for $1,000 in 1978 before starting back up again in 2008, with the grand total now reaching $25,851.75. The funds are typically allocated to support Alzheimer’s and regenerative medicine research at the Oklahoma City-based nonprofit biomedical research institute.
“All the money we gather for these donations is raised in state, so being able to keep the money working in state is a huge benefit,” said Glen Martin, who serves as the Oklahoma state secretary for the F.O.E. “We started donating to OMRF because everything we were interested in led back to OMRF, whether it be Alzheimer’s or anything else. It was a natural fit and continues to be.”
The donations were raised through a variety of fundraising efforts from bake sales to auctions throughout the year, with OMRF being one of 10 recipients across the state.
“OMRF began as a statewide effort and that approach continues to this day,” said OMRF Director of Development Kelley McGuire. “It’s gifts from organizations and communities of all shapes, sizes and backgrounds that have helped transform us into what we are today and we are extremely grateful for the consistent support and generosity shown to us by the Fraternal Order of Eagles. Fundraising efforts of this kind have a distinctly Oklahoman sense of community about them.”
The F.O.E. has certainly lived up to its mantra of “People Helping People,” with more than 1,600 locations and 800,000 members throughout North America, raising around $10 million annually for charities ranging from medical research to disaster relief.
In Oklahoma, groups operate in Bartlesville, Chickasha, Muskogee, Pryor, Skiatook, Spiro and Stillwater.