A brief history of the National Charity 
of the
Elks and Royal Purple of Canada

 

 
Contact Information:
The Elks & Royal Purple Fund for Children
100-2629 29th Avenue
REGINA SK S4S 2N9
Phone: (306) 569-3723
Toll Free: 1-888-THE-ELKS (843-3557)
Fax: (306) 565-2860

 
 
 
The story of the Elks & Royal Purple  Fund for Children is one of vision and commitment. It's the story of a National Charity that has improved the quality of life for Canadians since 1956.

 
 
THE FUND IS CONCEIVED 

In the years preceding the Elks & Royal Purple Fund for Children, the Canadian Save the Children Fund was considered the national project of the Elks and Royal Purple of Canada. Each year, a cheque was presented and thanks received, but no direct involvement beyond that. 

As time went on, there was a growing desire among the members of the Elks and Royal Purple to have a charity of their own. This was the early 1950s when Medicare was not yet available and it made a great deal of sense to help children in families who couldn't afford to help themselves. 

THE FUND IS BORN 

It seems a number of Elks and Royal Purple members across Canada were having this idea at the same time. One of them was Brother Colonel Royal Burritt from Winnipeg, the Grand Secretary-Treasure of the Elks of Canada until 1956. At the time, the Manitoba Elks Association had been looking for a provincial project. At their provincial conference in June of 1956, a resolution presented by the Pas Lodge No. 35 to adopt the Elks & Royal Purple  Fund for Children as the national charity of the Elks and Royal Purple of Canada was passed. 

Later that same year, at the national convention in Sherbrooke PQ, Brother Burritt spoke passionately about creating a national fund. A resolution was presented and passed and the Fund was born! 

THOUSANDS OF CHILDREN HELPED THROUGH 
THE FUND'S SAFETY NET 

Over the next ten years, the Elks & Royal Purple Fund for Children provided a safety net for thousands of Canadian children whose families had no other means of medical assistance. 

Around 1962, Medicare provided a solution to the general health concerns of all Canadians. Subsequently, members of the Elks and Royal Purple decided it was time to shift their focus to other areas requiring their assistance. 

THE BIRTH OF THE DEAF DETECTION PROGRAM

In 1964, a committee was formed to investigate new directions for the Fund. It consisted of Brothers Bill Alton and Keith French, and Ladies Phoebe McCullough and Marjorie Burke. 

At the end of one year, Brothers Robert K. Coulling and Adam Deminick, and Lady Anna Eliason were added to the Committee. 

In 1965, the Committee made a recommendation borne from the personal experience of Lady McCullough. In her native city of Edmonton, Lady McCullough had been very involved with a deaf group through her church. With vision and conviction Lady McCullough asked, "Why don't we speak for those who cannot speak for themselves." A commitment was then made to further investigate this possibility and some very sad facts began to emerge. 

The committee found that the deaf were segregated from society with no special training programs to help. Frequently individuals were not diagnosed until the age of ten and many were illiterate. In fact, many were not diagnosed at all. Many were considered retarded because of the way they looked and behaved. Inside they were angry and broken, and in many cases helpless and forgotten. Touched by their plight, the committee was astonished to learn that ONE OUT OF TEN CANADIAN CHILDREN BORN HAD THIS TYPE OF AILMENT. They knew these were the people they wanted to help. 

Through further study and consultation with specialist Dr. Doug Martin, they learned the biggest problem was identifying these children. There were no standards for early identification and it became obvious that to help Canadian children born with hearing loss, THIS WOULD HAVE TO CHANGE. 

A pilot project was drafted for the city of Regina, with the hope that an expanded project would eventually network to the rest of Canada. In 1968 the war cry went out across the nation "Early Detection of Hearing Loss - Your Responsibility!" 

It was the birth of the Deaf Detection and Development Program. That year $50,000 was transferred from the Elks & Royal Purple Fund for Children to the Deaf Detection and Development Program and Dr. Pat Alexander was hired as a professional consultant to help create public awareness material. Also that year, 10,000 children across Canada were tested at bedside with an aural stimulator, proving children could in fact be tested at an early age. 

ADVANCES IN THE DIAGNOSIS AND 
TREATMENT OF DEAF CHILDREN

At a 1970 conference of the Canadian Association of Speech Pathologists and Audiologists in Calgary, it was suggested the Elks and Royal Purple could help make major advances in the diagnosis of deaf children by coordinating an international conference. 

In 1974, a conference in Nova Scotia brought together doctors and specialists from all over the world. They came from Italy, Puerto Rico, Stockholm, Israel, Warsaw and the US. During the conference, history was made when a resolution for worldwide early identification of hearing loss was adopted. The high risk register was also developed at this conference and a short time later, the World Health Organization adopted this program by legal mandate. 

The first step to success had been achieved. Through their national charity, the Elks and Royal Purple were able to create standards for identification of hearing loss to be used all over Canada and the world. Lady McCullough's vision had become a reality and was growing in more ways that she could have dreamed possible. 

MAJOR RECOGNITION FOR DISTINGUISHED SERVICE

Over the next ten years and through a series of seven international conferences sponsored by the Elks & Royal Purple Fund for Children, many related areas were addressed and developed including diagnostic procedures, early management of the deaf child, the multiply handicapped and central auditory disorders. 

Since then, thousands have been diagnosed and treated in Canada and worldwide thanks to the vision of the Elks and Royal Purple and their national charity. 

In 1987, the Elks & Royal Purple Fund for Children was given the ASHA Award for Distinguished Service - the first time the award had ever been given outside the US. 

DIAGNOSING THE CANADIAN CHILD

Geographically, Canada presented a challenge for diagnosing hearing impaired children. In the early 1970s, one of the only ways to provide diagnostic services to a sparsely populated but large country was through the use of mobile vans. The Elks & Royal Purple  Fund for Children supplied those vans in addition to other equipment needed to get the job done across the country. Today, some of the vans are still in use by clinics and hospitals for expanded services. 

CONTINUING TO HELP CHILDREN IN NEED

Throughout the development and implementation of Deaf Detection Programs, the Funds personal assistance division continued to provide financial assistance to individual children in need across the country for any purpose beneficial to their welfare. 

Thousands of children in families without financial means have been helped this way and the Fund continues to help more children every day. There will always be children with special needs and the Fund will always strive to make a difference by giving hope to young Canadians through its national charity. 

PROVINCIAL PROGRAMS, A SOURCE OF HOPE FOR MANY 

Through their national charity, the Elks and Royal Purple have impacted communities nationwide. 

The Elks & Royal Purple Fund for Children has developed and continues to support many wonderful provincial programs with the help of Provincial Associations. 

In British Columbia, the Elks Family Hearing Resource Centre networks services to the entire province. The Centre has been instrumental in helping develop models for preschool hearing rehabilitation as far east as Newfoundland. It also maintains training for the BC Ministry of Health Speech Pathologists and Audiologists. 

In Alberta, The Institute for Stuttering Treatment and Research (ISTAR) is a world leader. 

The Saskatchewan Preschool Auditory Rehabilitation Centre (SPARC) provides services to the entire province and conducts major research on rehabilitative models and service for preschool children. 

The Elks Westman Preschool Aural Rehabilitation Program in Manitoba continues to provide important services to hearing impaired preschool children in that province. 

In the East as well as the Yukon and Northwest Territories, thousands of dollars have been poured into improving the quality of life for Canadians. In short, the Elks & Royal Purple  Fund for Children has assisted coast to coast. 

THE ELKS AND ROYAL PURPLE DRUG & 
ALCOHOL AWARENESS PROGRAM 

In 1992, the Elks and Royal Purple saw the need to help address a major threat to society and launched the Drug & Alcohol Awareness Program, aimed at educating children, teachers and parents. Members work alongside existing professional drug awareness agencies/experts to meet our goal and make a difference. 

The Elks and Royal Purple Literary and Poster Contest is held annually and focuses strictly on drug and alcohol awareness themes. The 1st place national prize is a $1,500 Scholarship. 

RECAPPING THE EXPERIENCE 

The Elks & Royal Purple Fund for Children continues to impact the lives of thousands of Canadians annually. The quality of life that many children, and in some cases whole communities enjoy, can be either directly or partly attributed to projects funded through this national charity. The Fund has been extremely effective in three areas: 

1.   Personal assistance to individual children with special needs. 
 
 

2.    Developing and supporting ongoing provincial programs across Canada in the area of speech, hearing and communication disorders. 
 
 

3.   Working directly with drug awareness agencies and experts through the Elks and Royal Purple Drug & Alcohol Awareness Program to educate children about the dangers of drugs. 
 


 
 
A DREAM, A VISION, A NATIONAL CHARITY HELPING CANADIAN CHILDREN REMOVE BARRIERS TO A BETTER QUALITY OF LIFE

THE Elks & Royal Purple Fund for Children