Fraternal Order of Eagles

The Fraternal Order of Eagles, an international nonprofit organization, unites fraternally in the spirit of liberty, truth, justice, and equality to make human life more desirable by lessening its ills and promoting peace, prosperity, gladness, and hope.



"On February 6, 1898, six of Seattle's most prominent theater owners gathered to discuss how to handle an ongoing musicians' strike. John Cort, brothers John W. and Thomas J. Considine, H.L. Leavitt, Mose Goldsmith, and Arthur G. Williams headed down to the Moran Brothers' shipyard on South Charles Street to make a plan. According to most popular accounts, the men began to discuss life after deciding to work together to settle the strike by using piano players to replace the musicians. At that moment, the Order of Good Things was born.

As their numbers grew, the Order chose the Bald Eagles as their official emblem and changed the organization's name to "The Fraternal Order of Eagles," with the goal of making human life more desirable by lessening its ills and promoting peace, prosperity, gladness, and hope.

Touring theater troupes are credited with much of the Eagles' early growth. Most members were actors, stagehands, and playwrights who carried the Eagles' story from town to town as they traversed the United States and Canada. The group's early motto, "Skin'em," became the secret password to identify members, while the official motto was changed to "Liberty, Truth, Justice, and Equality."

Within 10 years of its inception, the organization boasted more than 1,800 Aeries scattered throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico, with a membership exceeding 350,000. Members received free medical attention for themselves and their families, weekly payments in case of sickness, and a funeral benefit - all valuable services before the widespread availability of medical, disability, and life insurance.

The organization quickly became a leader in influencing national politics, pushing to create Mother's Day and eventually Social Security, Medicare, and more. The Eagles' growing membership, comprised of many prominent local figures, held a position of significant influence in communities everywhere. "

The Birth Of An Auxiliary

"For years, women accompanied male members of the Order to social events. As early as 1914, women were in attendance for the organization's Grand Aerie Convention, eventually inspiring them to bring their own wing of the Eagles - the Ladies' Auxiliary.

Pressure increased to recognize the Auxiliary formally. In January 1926, sitting Grand Worthy President Charles C. Guenther issued an Official Circular explaining that the time had come for definite action regarding the formal creation of the Auxiliary.

When the Eagles assembled for the 28th annual Grand Aerie Convention in August 1926, delegates formally approved the formation of the Ladies Auxiliary. On August 14, 1952, Past Grand Worthy President Lester Loble of Montana served as the instituting deputy for the Grand Auxiliary. Because Alta Browning Smith was a primary contributor to organizing and instituting the Grand Auxiliary, she was appointed the first Grand Madam President. "

Making A Difference

"Since the beginning, the F.O.E. has maintained a strong dedication to giving back to the communities housing our Aeries and Auxiliaries. Armed with a robust Grand Aerie and Grand Auxiliary, the organization reached its full potential. In 1954, nearly 10,000 Ten Commandments plaques were distributed by the Order, promoting its foundation of faith and encouraging citizens to use the Commandments as a guideline for treating others and building a stronger community.

Eagles continued their commitment to helping their own through the Memorial Foundation, designed to aid the children of members who lost their lives in World War II. In 1967, the Jimmy Durante Children's Fund was established, providing financial aid to institutions aiming to help youth through medical research and prevention programs.

The Charity Foundation continued to grow, establishing separate funds for various causes as they became more prominent, ensuring all brothers and sisters facing illness could have hope for care and a cure.

In 1985, blooming from a strong relationship with member and entertainer Danny Thomas, the Eagles became the first organization to top $1 million in donations to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital.

The Eagles took on their biggest fundraising challenge in 2008, committing $25 million to the University of Iowa to fund The Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center, which opened in August 2014 inside the John and Mary Pappajohn Biomedical Discovery Building in Iowa City, Iowa. The 20,000-square-foot facility hosts a team of more than 100 researchers working on ways to prevent, treat, and ultimately cure diabetes. "

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