Educational Foundation

What is the Educational Foundation and What is its purpose?

The Educational Foundation of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows began its operation on September 20, 1927. The purpose of the Foundation is to operate a revolving loan fund for students dependent in part, or wholly, on their own efforts for an education. It is supported by donations to a trust fund and no part of the trust fund can be used for operating expenses. Only interest from Student Loans and investments can be used for operating costs. Since its beginning, donations of approximately $2,750,000 have made it possible for over 3500 young people to receive loans amounting to more than $6,500,000. Continued perpetuation of this fund depends solely upon contributions from our membership and prompt repayment by recipients of the loans.

How is the Fund Administered?

The Educational Foundation is administered by a Board of nine Trustees, including the Sovereign Grand Master, Deputy Sovereign Grand Master and President of the International Association of Rebekah Assemblies (I.A.R.A.), three members of the Sovereign Grand Lodge appointed by the Sovereign Grand Master, and three members of the I.A.R.A. appointed by the President. Each appointment shall be for a term of three years, except to fill a vacancy when it shall be for the unexpired term, and must be approved by the Sovereign Grand Lodge. When appointments are made and approved, the Board is vested with authority to function and discharge its duties.

Where does the money come from?

The money comprising the Revolving Loan Fund has been contributed by Odd Fellow and Rebekah Lodges, individual members, Patriarchs Militant and Encampment Units of the Order. We have been able to loan approximately two and one-half more than contributions because as the loans are repaid by the students, the money is available to loan again. All contributions to the Educational Foundation are placed in a Trust Fund and used only for Student Loans. All Canadian contributions are deposited in a Trust Fund Account in Canada and used only for Canadian students.

Who is eligible to receive a loan?

Because available funds for student loans are low at the present time, it is required that applicants have a relative who is an active member of an Odd Fellow or Rebekah Lodge. A young person desiring a loan must write personally to the Executive Director for an application, stating age and school classification. A maximum of $10,000 can be borrowed for a complete course of four years or more. The maximum is $3,000 for one year of study. All applicants must be attending school halftime or more to be eligible. The method of lending is as follows:

Freshman Year $2,000
Sophomore Year $2,500
Junior Year $2,500
Senior Year $3,000
    Once a loan is approved, the Foundation must maintain a reserve sufficient to fulfill the loan obligations.

What are the requirements?

Loans are made for study in an recognized trade school, after completion of high school, for any course offering immediate opportunity for employment, such as a Business College, Beauty Culture Schools, Barber Schools, etc.

Two of Four year college students must establish one grading period with at least a “C” average in an accredited college or university before receiving loans.

What is the interest rate and How are the loans repaid?

     The interest rate is 5%. Interest begins the day the check is mailed from the office to the student. Interest is paid each year while the student is in school. Interest payments shall be paid by July 1st each year until the borrower has graduated or discontinued school.

Terms of Repayment

     Repayment of loans must begin three months after the borrower has graduated or discontinued school. The borrower may pay larger amounts on the principal or pay the loan in full at any time without penalty.

3 months after graduation or leaving school No payments
9 months after graduation or leaving school $35.00 per month plus interest
Second year after graduation or leaving school $50.00 per month plus interest
Third year after graduation or leaving and until loan is paid in full $75.00 per month plus interest
What security is required?

     The Educational Foundation is a Trust Fund and must be fully protected so the fund is available for succeeding generations.

     To fully protect the Trust Fund in the event the borrower should fail to make payments when due or default in any manner under the terms of the promissory notes, financially responsible co-signers are required. Co-signers must be under 65 years of age and property owners.

     Sometimes it is necessary to look to the co-signers for repayment which they sign as co-makers when they execute the notes. The co-signers for most applicants are the parents. Since the beginning of the Foundation, loss from unpaid loans is less than 1%.

What responsibility do the lodges affiliated with the Student have?

     The lodges are not in any way responsible financially or liable for the loan.

     The Foundation sends a reference form to the Lodge to verify the membership of the student’s relative designated on the loan application. We ask several questions concerning the applicant’s character and dependability. Should any difficulty arise over the repayment of the loan, we sometimes ask someone from the Lodge to help us locate the borrower or co-signers if they have moved without notifying the Foundation.

Brief History of the Educational Foundation, I.O.O.F.

     It is the oldest project of the Sovereign Grand Lodge, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, having been adopted at its session in Hot Springs, Arkansas on September 20, 1927.

     The Educational Foundation was the dream of Flora Sheets, Past President of the Rebekah Assembly of Illinois. She was raised in the Children’s Home of Illinois and for many years was the Editor and Publisher of the International Rebekah Fraternal Paper. It was her feeling that the Odd Fellows and Rebekahs could put into practice the principles of our Order by providing funds to assist worthy young people to receive a higher education.

     In the beginning, loans were provided only to sons and daughters of Odd Fellows and Rebekahs. In later years, when funds were ample, loans were made available to any worthy young man or women asking for financial assistance. Because of increased loan requests, available funds became low and once again since 1977, applicants are required to have order affiliation. This can be any relative of the applicant or the applicant them self.

What has the Educational Foundation Accomplished?

     It is difficult in a material way to measure what we have accomplished with the Educational Foundation since its beginning in 1927. We do know that we have provided funds to make it possible for students from all walks of life to receive a higher education.

     From inspiration to reality, from an infant to a revered senior citizen, the Educational Foundation has made it possible for young men and women to find their place in life working in all types of professional, business and trade fields. The many letters of appreciation from students gives the Order a feeling of satisfaction to know that the Odd Fellows and Rebekahs are providing badly needed financial assistance to worthy students. With your contributions, you can help them gain knowledge and watch them grow. Learning is a lifetime process.

How do you obtain an application for a student loan?

     Detailed information or an application can be obtained by contacting a Odd Fellow Lodge in your area, or by emailing the Grand Lodge Secretary  or by writing to:


R. Kenneth Babb
Executive Director

Educational Foundation, I.O.O.F.
P.O. Box 20455
Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27120
Telephone: (336)-724-5516
Fax: (336)-724-5116


Scholarship(s) Brochure Christine Smith
Graduate Studies Scholarship
Ingstrom Scholarship
Application Form