The Fraternal Order of Elks, I.B.P.O.E. of W., held its 120th national convention in New Orleans, August 1-9 at the Hilton Riverside in New Orleans, La. The organization is under the leadership of Leonard J. Polk, attorney, the newly elected Grand Patriarch and Exalted Ruler of the Elks I.B.P.O.E. of W.
Polk was born in Arlington, Va., and attended graduate college at David A. Clark in Washington, D.C., and conducted his undergraduate studies in Fairfax, Va. where he majored in business management and computer science.
Polk joined the Elks organization in 1983 and is the 14th Grand Exalted Ruler and Patriarch in the 120-year history of the Elks Organization. Since 1898, the organization has had over 450,000 members, including members in the United States, Barbados, the Republic of Panama, the Bahamas and the Philippines Islands.
“My goals and vision are to raise the visibility of our organization in our communities where we have members,” Polk said. “It is important that we become more identifiable with the organization that we give charity to on a local and national level. This year our annual totals in charity total approximately $65,000 to organizations such as the Kidney Foundation, Diabetes Foundation and Alzheimer’s Foundation.
The Elks Organization under the leadership of the newly elected Grand Patriarch renewed its commitment to the community at the national convention as approximately 140 members, Both brothers and daughters fed and played Bingo with members of the Center City Seniors Citizen’s in New Orleans, La. The organization delivered snack bags and singing songs to the residents at Center City Senior Center.
“My vision is to focus on our youth as we have an increase in death and violence of our African American children,” Polk said. “When we build a partnership with our youth on a local level, we ultimately will increase membership as we build bridges and relationship with their parents.
“I will continue to work with organizations across the country to build networks that make our organization strong and to take this 120-year organization to the next level.
“It is important that we bridge the gap between our active members in our lodges and temples with the millennials. They are the engineers of social media and the next generation of leaders of this great organization and our country.”
The Elks will hold their national convention in 2020 in Baltimore, Md.