Original Elfun organization (as part of GE Corporation):

In 1905 the National Electric Light Association(NELA) bought Ellis Island, which was later named “Association Island”. NELA management used it for meetings. General Electric, after it acquired NELA in 1911, also used Ellis Island for company meetings until 1959 when the island was donated to the YMCA. The Elfun Society, initially a (senior) management organization and think-tank within GE was founded on Ellis Island in 1928.

As part of the present day town of Henderson, NY, the Island was once used by the many local Native American tribes to hold their War and Peace councils. In similar fashion, after its acquisition in 1911 General Electric instituted the island as a leadership conference and company gatherings center, until the latter part of 1959. In honor of its birthplace, the famous elm tree at Association Island became the official logo of the Elfun Society. Though the elm tree died in the 1970’s, the elm tree logo is still used to this day.

The Elfun Society grew and became GE Elfun Volunteers, an international organization with a Global Board, and  ~50 chapters, and > 45,000 members.


Formation of our Elfun Society California North, Inc. ‘chapter’:

Our Elfun Society CA North chapter was formed in ~1962. It grew to basically include most of the western US, including Hawaii. By 2014 we had grown to ~1200 members.

In May 2014, GE Corp announced that Global Elfun’s volunteer activities would be absorbed by GE Volunteers. It also established a group to liquidate, by the end of 2014, the remaining portions of the Elfun chapters, in their connection with GE Corp. Local chapters had to choose to re-form as independent organizations, or dissolve themselves.

Our chapter had sufficient interest and passion to take on the challenge to form our own, independent Elfun organization. We consulted with GE Corporate, other Elfun chapters and our attorneys. We re-formed as a 501(c)7 mutual benefit nonprofit corporation on 11-18-2014. We became: ‘Elfun Society  – California North, Inc.’.

On 12-31-2014, Global Elfun was liquidated. 15 of the 28 US chapters had chosen to continue and set up their own local, independent organizations. They included: Birmingham, Boston, California North, Chicago, Cincinnati, Florida (2), Greenville, Houston, Louisville, Milwaukee, Schenectady, Syracuse, Tarheel, Wisconsin.  We were independent, but continued to share best practices with the other 14 remaining chapters.


Elfun chapters outside of California:

Currently, there are ~ 10 other Elfun organizations in the U.S. There are links to some of the current US websites in the ‘Resources’ tab section.

We are not aware of any remaining non-US Elfun organizations.