June 23rd, 2003 - Masonic Angel Foundation, Inc. - Special
"The Boston First Fund" Makes a Difference!
Dear friend of the Masonic Angel Fund:
A few weeks ago we listed the "Boston First Fund" as a new partnership license on the list of Masonic Angel Fund's. We are pleased now to share some detail about the Boston First Fund (BFF) as well as good news about its most appropriate first benevolence.
The Boston First Fund was established by Lodges in the First Masonic District of Massachusetts. Many of the Lodges in this district meet at the Grand Lodge building on Tremont Street in downtown Boston.
Until very recently, there was no Masonic Angel Fund that specifically served children in Boston. The "St. Andrew Fund", established by the Lodge of St. Andrew, serves children in communities where there is not yet a Masonic Angel Fund - but this is a state-wide fund, not focused on any one geographical area.
Under the leadership of the First Masonic District's District Deputy Grand Master (R.W. David Howard) Lodges from the district came together at a meeting with Masonic Angel Foundation officials on April 14, 2003. At that meeting, the parameters of the Boston First Fund were established:
Boston First Fund - Established by the Lodges of Massachusetts' First Masonic District, the "Boston First Fund" serves children in the immediate Boston area. In 2003, the BFF's emphasis is providing necessities to families of military service personnel. The BFF also provides support to non-military families within the same geographical area. Requests for Boston First Fund benevolences are made through the volunteer staff of the Masonic Angel Foundation, Inc. In addition to receiving MAF benevolence requests through schools, BFF benevolences may be requested by USO staff, military chaplains, military family service staff and certain community service groups (i.e. Boys/Girls Club staff) as set forth by the Foundation.
Mount Lebanon Lodge took the lead by making the first contribution to the Boston First Fund. On June 9, 2003, Mount Lebanon voted to donate $5,000 to formally establish the BFF. Brother Howard informs us that other Lodges in his district will make additional contributions in the near future.
We at the Foundation are excited by the creation of the Boston First Fund. This is the first time that MAF has a mandate to serve a major urban area. Because of the extraordinary need in a city such as Boston, it was decided by the partner Lodges and the Foundation to use organizations such as USO, Boys/Girls Clubs, Tri County Youth Services and similar groups as the primary referral contact in Boston. We decided not to use the schools as primary contact because the consensus is that we never could serve all the schools in Boston. We anticipate that one or two schools would overwhelm the BFF in just a few weeks. By using this alternative outreach method, we hope that the BFF will serve children in need who are already receiving some level of services but are still "falling through the cracks" in areas where MAF can help.
The First Benevolence of the Boston First Fund!
On Friday, June 20, 2003, Bro. Robert Shaughnessey (one of the contact people for BFF benevolence requests) was contacted by the Executive Officer of the USS Constitution. It seems that a new member of the crew had recently moved to Boston and was in considerable distress. Shaughnessey contacted Bob Fellows at the MAF headquarters to explain the situation. They then contacted USO Executive Director Alice Harkins in order to craft a joint solution to this problem. At this point, we will let the USO's words take over...
"Thank you and all the contributing members of the Masonic Angel Foundation. Recently, the USO was contacted with regard to a military (Navy) family, recently transferred to Massachusetts. The sailor, his wife, and 7 year old son drove from Texas with all of their belongings. The sailor used all of his finances to get he and his family to Massachusetts. During the course of the trip, they used all their financial resources and their belongings were damaged during the trip.
The Masonic Angel Foundation, Inc., has once again, enabled the USO of New England to assist another Massachusetts family in need. As a result of your kindness and altruistic giving, we've been able to supply the family with a $200.00 gift certificate to the Stop-n-Shop, which is conveniently located 1 mile down the road from Hanscom Air Force Base. We are grateful to the the Masonic Angel Foundation, Inc. and all the wonderful members who made this charitable gift possible.
The crew from the U.S.S. Constitution assisted this family by getting them temporary emergency housing at Hanscom Air Force Base, and pulled together $75.00 to give to the family. Regards, Susie Crowley, USO of New England"
It is most fitting that the first benevolence of the Boston First Fund benefits the family of a crew member on the USS Constitution. A touchstone of American history, the USS Constitution is the very cornerstone of "Historic Boston". The venerable ship also has a splendid Masonic legacy! Did you know that Most Worshipful Paul Revere provided the copper bottom and much of the hardware/fixtures of the ship? Not only was her first captain (Samuel Nicholson, Jr.) a Mason, but the Constitution served as the flagship for Commodore and Brother Edward Preble as he sailed against the Barbary pirates commanding a seven-ship, thousand-man squadron. The USS Constitution and Massachusetts Freemasons were very visible during the commissioning of the USS Preble in Boston last autumn.
We at the Foundation are very proud to welcome those sponsoring the Boston First Fund into the ranks of "Masons who make a difference". MAF can look forward to helping many children with the BFF's benevolence.
Regards to all,
Robert W. Fellows, Board Secretary
Masonic Angel Foundation, Inc.