November 23rd was the Elks Day at the Races, a fun day for race lovers and those who support the Elks Lodges of the San Francisco Bay Area. The event, which included valet parking, Golden Gate Fields Turf Club admission, a Turf Club Buffet and more, helped the Elks Lodges give back to the community.
The Elks raise funds for various charities. “We are a social and charitable organization,” said Bob Merjano, a member of the Elks. “Through our social activities we raise funds to support children who need physical therapy, veterans, scholarship programs, and other charitable programs.” According to the site for the San Francisco Elks Lodge No.3, the Lodge, established in 1876, works upon the principles of charity, justice, brotherly love and fidelity, as well as a belief in God and to promote the welfare and happiness of its members. Since 1868, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks—the largest fraternal organization in the country–has seen their membership grow to over 1 million members. They have also donated more than $3.6 billion to programs benefitting veterans, civic and patriotic programs, the youth and the handicapped and disadvantaged. The fraternity is also the largest private providers of United States scholarships.
“[Elks Day at the Races] was an event for the Elks of the San Francisco Bay Area CA,” said Merjano. “Our seven Lodges are part of the more than 1,500 Lodges across the country.”
To spread the word about the event, the Elks placed posters in their Lodges and took to the internet to send email blasts and allow for interested participants to buy their tickets online. “We have had people RSVP but always had a hard time collecting,” said Merjano. “People wanted to send checks or pay at the event. This year, with Ticket River, we were able to collect money in advance. We had more people and were able to collect all fees before the event. [There was] much easier accounting.” There were also a lot of last-minute ticket sales. “…[It’s] still hard to guess how many people you will have,” he said.
Merjano said the event ran smoothly. They were also able to raise a great amount of money for their cause. “We doubled our income from last year,” he said. “[W]e collected far more money up front than in past years.”
You can learn more about the San Francisco Elks Lodge at their website.