Sons of Norway is the largest Norwegian-American organization in the world, comprised of members in the United States, Canada and Norway. The organization provides opportunities for members to familiarize themselves with the culture and traditions of Norway through local lodge and district lodge activities and events. Sons of Norway was organized as a fraternal benefit society by 18 Norwegian immigrants in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on 16 January 1895. The purposes and goals were to protect members and their families from financial hardships during times of sickness or death. This was gradually expanded to include the preservation of Norwegian heritage and culture.
Originally, to qualify for membership, one had to be male, either Norwegian or of Norwegian descent, give proof of being morally upright, in good health, capable of supporting a family, at least 20 years old, and no more than 50 years of age.
Today, their extensive insurance program offered to qualifying members provides a firm foundation and economic base from which their numerous programs are carried out, furthering the cultural values of the Norwegian heritage.
The organization Sons of Norway consists of a main office and district offices that gathers all the reports and payments from the different lodges. The lodges are run by a president, finance secretary, secretary, cashier, and the members. All of the lodges have to send in financial reports and member lists every six month. The district secretary then meets with the main office secretary for a yearly meeting where they go through the reports.
There are 47 Sons of Norway lodges found in District 2, located in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska. The oldest lodge, Leif Erikson Lodge No. 2-001 was organized in Seattle, Washington on 13 May 1903.