Loyal Orange Institution of the United States of America
The Loyal Orange Institution of the USA has a long history of charitable endeavor. Through the nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth centuries, when immigration was at full flood, the Order met important social needs. For many, the lodges provided a network for finding employment and a safety net for those who fell on hard times. Lodge meetings, dances, and similar events provided many people's only opportunities for significant recreation and socializing. In cities where immigrants settled, the respective ethnic groups, to assist new arrivals and to provide a forum for perpetuating the group's values and heritage in the new country, formed numerous "friendly societies" and "benevolent associations".
One of many such organizations, the Orange Order ably served the needs of communities of immigrants from Ulster and elsewhere. But, because of vast and well-known social and cultural changes too complex and extensive to detail here, the time has long since passed when the Order can usefully fulfill these functions.
At one time the lodges provided unemployment insurance, death benefits, and care for the elderly and for widows and orphans. In 1902, the Orange Home was founded at Hatboro, Pennsylvania, and, for almost a hundred years, it provided shelter and support for those in need. However, with the coming of the welfare state, beginning before World War II and accelerating in the 1960s with Great Society legislation, the state assumed more and more responsibility for those in need, and the provision of voluntary care to the needy became progressively more regulated and costly. The Orange Home continued as a retirement center until 1996, when the Order sold it as a going concern to a large church-related organization.
The proceeds from the sale were used to establish a charitable trust, known as the Orange Foundation. This is administered jointly by the Loyal Orange Institution, and the Loyal Orange Ladies Institution. Income from the Foundation is disbursed to a number of qualified charities. A significant amount is applied to supplementary scholarships in tertiary education for the children and grandchildren of Orangemen and Orangewomen. The recipients must be enrolled full-time at accredited two-year or four-year colleges or universities, and must have completed their first year of study successfully. This program is growing rapidly.
The Orange Foundation functions at the national level. Many primary lodges also engage in acts of charity at the local level