August 25, 2003 - Masonic Angel Foundation Update
"Masons Making a Difference"
RUFUS PUTNAM LODGE MAF MAKES A DIFFERENCE
The Rufus Putnam Lodge MAF (Rutland, MA) serves schools in the Wachusett Regional School District, covering Rutland, Holden, Paxton, Princeton and Sterling. For the past two years, the RPMAF has focused on certain elementary schools in the district with an excellent record of success. Recently, MAF trustee Norman Peterson received the following letter from a principal:
This letter is long overdue. As the Principal of the Mountview Middle School in Holden, MA and on behalf of my staff and students, I would like to thank you and your organization for your continuing support of students and families in need. The level of commitment that your organization has demonstrated to provide for those families is all too rare in today's world.
There have been a half dozen or so requests from our school to your organization in the past two years. You and your group have always come through. As a result, we have been able to provide opportunities for them that those kids would have missed. Most recently, your organization was able to help a young man whose mother is very ill and could not meet the financial need required to send him to summer school. This has been a most difficult year for this young man; through the kindness and generosity of your group, he will have the academic opportunity to join his peers in the high school rather than remain behind.
It is my hope that our respective organizations are able to perpetuate our relationship in the future. If there is any way in which we might be able to repay the debt of gratitude we owe to your Lodge, please do not hesitate to let me know. Once again, thank you for all that you have done.
John F. Sullivan, Principal, Mountview Middle School, Holden, MA
NEEDHAM MAF CONTINUES TO SHINE
The Needham Masonic Angel Fund issues a periodic "news bulletin" for their Lodge notice. The most recent edition includes information about their benevolences and two fundraisers.
The NMAF raised $732 in a single day through a partnership with a local automatic car wash establishment. They also received nearly $500 from a coin canister campaign. In addition to matching grants from Grand Lodge and The Lodge of St. Andrew, the Needham Masonic Angel Fund also reports a donation of $250 from the Massachusetts Elks Association, Inc.
Since March of this year, Needham's Masonic Angels provided over $2,100 in benevolences to twelve different students.
READ ALL ABOUT IT!
The most recent issue of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts' Trowel magazine includes an extensive feature story on the Masonic Angel Fund. If you have not seen this story already, you may read it at http://www.masonicangelfund.org/newsitem106.htm
NAUSET LIGHT LODGE HELPS WITH AUTO REPAIRS
Nauset Light Lodge's MAF recently helped a family with a disabled child through a rather dire emergency. This family relies on a van to transport their child to various hospital, therapy and doctor visits. The van's brakes failed and the vehicle was sitting at an auto repair facility for the want of a little of $200 to repair the brakes. Within an hour of learning about this situation from the staff of The Children's Place (preschool) in Eastham, Nauset had made arrangements with the service station for the MAF to pay for the brake work and get the family back on the road.
Due to a scheduling conflict at the hosting hotel, the September "Jazz with the Angels" and MAF convention weekend is postponed until winter. As soon as the hotel notifies the Foundation as to which weekend they will donate, we will get the word out to our readers.
NEW FOUNDATION BOARD MEMBER
We are pleased to announce the election of Mario B. Mere of Yarmouth Port, MA to the Board of Directors of the Masonic Angel Foundation, Inc. In addition to creating and maintaining the Foundation's excellent web site, Mario has worked tirelessly as a member of our advisory board for the past three years.
THE "TEN STANDARDS" AT WORK
This is a rather unhappy story with a happy ending.
It recently came to the Foundation's attention that one of our constituent Masonic Angel Funds had not responded to a request for assistance two weeks after the initial request was received. Needless to say, we investigated this situation immediately.
What we learned was a bit upsetting. The request in question was for about $250 worth of child safety equipment for a family with young toddlers. The local MAF trustee who received the request was uncertain of what to do, since the kids did not attend local schools (because they were too young!) and the request came in through an agency other than a school. When one of the Foundation's volunteers contacted this trustee, he learned that the matter was to be "brought before the Past Masters" for consideration.
Fortunately, the volunteer who contacted this particular MAF is one of our more patient and gentle workers. He pointed out that the local MAF was in violation of the Ten Standards because they had failed to respond within one business day and because the Trustees did not exercise their "due empowerment" to respond to all requests.
Once this was explained, the Trustee said that he would take care of the matter at once.
Brethren and friends, the thing that sets the Masonic Angel Fund apart from other charities is our ability to act and to get things done. We do not refer matters to committee and we do not rely on monthly review sessions. Children's emergency needs are referred to MAF because we act instantly.
One of the things that sets our volunteers apart from "country club do-gooders" is their ability to think outside the box and to respond to needs creatively and immediately. In this particular case, the request came to the MAF through an agency that is recognized by the Foundation as a valid referral source. Indeed, the kids were not of school age but nowhere is it written that we can't help a pre-schooler - quite the contrary!
There will always be cases where we are not certain just what to do. In these situations, we should call on our fellow trustees promptly and make a decision. If further assistance is required the trustees can call the Foundation at 508-255-8812 or send us an email. The local MAF trustees are the sole arbiters of local MAF benevolence - not the "Past Masters" and not any other "committee" - you were selected for this job by your Lodge and are duly empowered by the Ten Standards to address all cases brought before you. Even if the decision is "no", the school or agency that referred the need deserves a response within one business day - and the Ten Standards require it. If your MAF is unable to fund a particular request, your immediate response gives the school an opportunity to pursue other avenues right away.
The "happy ending" here is that the family did finally receive the necessary safety equipment and their toddler did not fall down the stairs while they were waiting for an answer.
The "moral" of the story is that each and every one of us needs to be reminded of the Ten Standards once in a while. That applies as much to we here Foundation-side as it does to our constituent Masonic Angel Funds. Most of us here are MAF trustees in our own Lodges and we have all seen unusual situations like this from time to time. Our ability as trustees to adapt and act is a cornerstone of the MAF system.
BECOME A MEMBER OF THE MASONIC ANGEL FOUNDATION, INC.
As of a recent by-law revision, any member in good standing of a Lodge that holds a Masonic Angel Fund License may apply for membership in the Masonic Angel Foundation, Inc. Annual dues are $25. Members are entitled to participate in meetings of the corporation and to attend meetings of the Board of Directors.
If you would like to become a member, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org - we will email you an application form in MS Word format. Generally, new applications for membership will be acted upon at the next meeting of the membership held after the application is received. New members must pass a unanimous ballot of the Foundation members present.
SHARE YOUR GOOD NEWS!
Please use our list server (email@example.com) to share your benevolences and news with others in Masonic Angel Fund family. You also may email your questions and stories to firstname.lastname@example.org
Better still, if you hold a fund raiser or do some special project in your community send us photographs and a "press release" for the web site.
Remember, the web site and these email broadcasts are everyone's forum to share and learn about how we all operate our Masonic Angel Funds.
We thank one and all for your outstanding support of the Masonic Angel Foundation, Inc.
Regards to all,
Managing Director/Board Secretary
Masonic Angel Foundation, Inc.