Beginning 2001, the fancy trappings of dwindling fraternal organizations have caught the attention of Hollywood, musicians, artists and historians alike. Fraternal regalia and antiques have been popping-up all over the internet, television shows and art exhibits. The internet and the popularity of social networking websites, such as facebook, instagram, and youtube, further made it a lot easier for younger generations to learn about these organizations.
As a result, there seems to be a renewed interest from some men and women in becoming members. There are some signs that the coming generation is re-discovering new forms of community in the lodges. While some lodges remain stagnant, others that have made extra efforts to catch-up with modern times are coming back to life in a dramatic way and are now experiencing a resurgence of membership from younger generations - tattoo artists, bikers, history buffs, community activists, musicians and many others. The San Francisco Odd Fellows Building has become a home for many artists, dancers, and musicians, and the area have become an arts center.
Evolving from the traditions of the medieval craft guilds, the first Odd Fellows emerged in England on or before the year 1700. The early lodges were first set up to protect and care for their members and communities at a time when there were still no social security services, national health insurance, service clubs and modern-day charity foundations. The aim was and still is to provide help to our members, our families and our communities in times of need, along with the goal of developing worldwide brotherhood and sisterhood, promoting universal peace and understanding, and improving personal character through the ethical and humanitarian principles taught in our ancient degrees of initiation. Our branch, the “Independent Order of Odd Fellows” (I.O.O.F.), was organized on April 26, 1819, in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A., by Thomas Wildey and four Odd Fellows from England. At a time when women were still not allowed to go to school, vote for public office or join fraternal organizations, the I.O.O.F. became the first fraternal order to officially accept women when the “Rebekahs” was founded on September 20, 1851.
- To improve and elevate the character of humankind by teaching and promoting the principles of Friendship, Love, and Truth; Faith, Hope, and Charity; and Universal Justice, as exemplified in the degrees of initiation and practiced in real life.
- To help make the world a better place to live by aiding each other in times of need and by volunteering in or organizing charitable activities and projects that would benefit the less fortunate, the children, the youth, the elderly, the community and the environment in every way possible guided by our ancient command: “to visit the sick, relieve the distress, bury the dead and educate the orphan”.
- To promote goodwill and understanding among people and nations through the principle of universal fraternity, holding the belief that all men and women regardless of race, nationality, religion, social status, gender, rank and station are brothers and sisters.
- To develop and expand a local, national and international social network for people from all walks of life - college students, professionals, retirees - dedicated to the purposes herein mentioned; ensuring genuine friendships, compassionate service for community and personal character development.
- To raise funds through membership fees, annual dues, donations, endowments, and purchase, acquire, own, rent, lease, sell, exchange, transfer and dispose properties, whether real or personal, in furtherance of the ethical, fraternal and charitable purposes; provided they show economic viability.