From Br. Harper, in his book: Conspiracy of Hate: A Christian Perspective on the un-Christian Tactics of the anti-Masons, (c) 1995. --------------------------------- MASONIC CHARITIES: A Tradition Of Giving This chapter is not done for the purpose of pointless boasting or the tallying of dollars, but rather, to answer to the much asked question: "What do the Masons do ? " Let us examine several of the charities which Freemasonry supports. Some of the charities supported by Freemasonry benefit its own members, only about 40% actually remains "in-house", for things like retirement communities and help with medical care. The remaining 60% of Masonic charity goes to the general public. The Masons, and Masonically affiliated organizations, contribute what averages out to over one and a half million dollars per day throughout the world to make life a little better for others.
You may wonder where all this money comes from ? Simple things such as membership dues, spaghetti dinners, craft sales, pancake breakfasts, outright cash donations, bequests from wills and estates, and other fundraising activities.
Probably the best known Masonic charity in all of Freemasonry is the free care provided in the Shriner's Hospitals. The membership of Shriners in North America, in 1995, was over seven-hundred twenty-thousand. These members support twenty-two hospitals, burns centers and spinal cord injury centers. Any child, up to their 18th birthday is eligible for treatment at any one of the hospitals in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Masonic membership or affiliation is not, nor has it ever been a pre-requisite for treatment. And, because of that policy, there have been nearly a half-million children helped at these hospitals since the first Shriner's Hospital opened in 1922. The parents of the child are never charged for this help, regardless of the length of stay or the kind of treatment sought.
The same fee-free policy applies to the Knights Templar, who supply funding for surgery and hospitalization for diseases or injuries to the eyes, as well as funding for pediatric ophthalmology. This program was established in 1955, and its record of success is unparalleled. To date, more than fifty thousand cases have been underwritten, totaling more than fifty million dollars for surgery, hospitalization and other treatments. They also have a program called The Holy Land Pilgrimage Fund, which was originally conceived in 1977.
The program is used to help fund Christian Ministers to the Holy Land in order they may deepen and enrich their spiritual life by walking the same paths and experiencing the same places where the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, walked and spoke. To date, over two hundred Christian Ministers have been given the opportunity to enjoy this. One of the longest running benefits is the Knights Templar education scholarship program. It is was started in 1922, and is available to students of vocational, professional or technical studies. Since its inception, nearly eighty thousand students have been helped through this program, totaling more than thirty million dollars in educational funding.
The Scottish Rite Masons have several charities, some are offered by the Southern Jurisdiction while others are offered by the Northern Jurisdiction. Some of these charities include centers for childhood language disorders, such as stuttering and dyslexia. Another of the outstanding programs is the Scottish Rite funding for schizophrenia research, as well as college scholarships. And, support for the Museum of our National Heritage, which is located in historic Lexington, Massachusetts. There is also a scholarship program designed to help journalism students called the Leon M. Abbot Scholarship Fund, which is available at nearly a dozen major universities in the United States. I recommend you contact the Scottish Rite office in your state to find out which charities are available in your area.
The Royal Arch Masons fund a learning disabilities and auditory perception correction/research center, located at Colorado State University. This research program was started in 1974, even-though there are many unanswered questions about the auditory processing in our brain, the research conducted has been invaluable. Some treatments might include hearing aids or a machine which manipulates speech signals thus enhancing the intelligibility of the persons speech.
The Cryptic Masons, through the University of Indiana School of Medicine, research the causes and cures of arteriosclerosis. This hardening of the arteries affects nearly every family in the world, and is a contributing factor in nearly 50% of all recorded deaths each year here in the U.S.
The Daughters of the Nile contribute major financial resources, and an immeasurable amount of time, toward providing braces and artificial limbs for patients, as well as providing additional funding for convalescent relief.
The Order of the Eastern Star provides substantial funding for scholarships to graduating High School Students, assisting or allowing them the opportunity to attend a College or Trade School. In some states the Grand Chapter of the Eastern Star supplies education grants to students pursuing Religious studies, and Divinity Degrees. If you are interested in finding out which Eastern Star charities are available in your community, please contact any of the officers of the Eastern Star in your area. The Mystic Order of Veiled Prophets of the Enchanted Realm, better known as M.O.V.P.E.R. ~ Grotto. The Grotto, which is a group much like the Shriners, provides grant money for cerebral palsy research each year. Children under the age of eighteen, afflicted with mental retardation, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy or myasthenia gravis are all eligible to participate in the program offering fee-free dental care. DeMolay for boys has an extensive program which offers scholarships to Students, regardless of whether or not they are a member. The Tall Cedars of Lebanon supports muscular dystrophy research and treatment. And MDA Spokesman, Jerry Lewis, who is not a Mason, is the Honorary Chairman of the Tall Cedars/MDA committee.
The Order of the Amaranth supports research and the prevention of life-threatening complications of diabetes. The Masonic Service Association, has helped victims of disasters or war with food, clothing and other forms of relief. During World War Two, the Masonic Service Association had dozens of representatives who visited government hospitals to help with the many wounded and ill veterans. Since the end of World War Two, the MSA has continued this program. Today field agents work with our veterans in over one hundred fifty VA hospitals and veterans retirement centers. There are literally countless thousands of letters received by the MSA from hospital staff commending the field agents, and the hospital visitation program.
Thousands of residents in Florida and Louisiana were devastated by the hurricane of 1992. The MSA, provided over a half million dollars in relief to these people, Masons and Non- Masons alike.
I am sure you remember the Mississippi river flood of 1993, which was so devastating to our Nation's heartland. The MSA donated another half million dollars in assistance to the people who were caught in this disaster, residents in six states were helped by Masons.
And most recently, the MSA, along with every Grand Lodge in the U.S., and several foreign Grand Lodges, has made donations totaling over three hundred thousand dollars, helping the victims of the Oklahoma City bombing. Not once were the people ever asked to repay the money, nor did the Masons seek-out publicity for their benevolence.
The Lodge in your home town has programs that continue this long history of giving. For example, it may have donated wheelchairs to the local Nursing home, or possibly it has donated funding for the construction of a new library. Some Lodges donate food to local food pantries, while others donate assistance for people in need of hearing aids, or they may support a home for orphaned children. Nearly every town has experienced their local Lodge awarding scholarships to graduating highschool students, helping to further their education. While other Lodges are known for their hospital visitation program, or support of Masonic retirement homes.
These examples are only "the tip of the iceberg", there are literally countless charitable acts and donations by members of this Fraternity. That is Freemasonry, it endeavors to teach and encourage its members to walk a straight path and help their fellow man with their time, their back or their wallet.