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Freemasonry at its Best!

"Angel Mail" Update - October 22, 2008

Welcome to Our Newest Masonic Angel Funds
We are pleased to welcome the following new Masonic Angel Funds:

123 Hampshire Lodge Haydenville MA 12/06/2007
124 Old Colony Lodge Hingham MA 01/08/2008
125 Buffalo River MAF Mondovi WI 02/11/2008
126 Satuit Masonic Angel Fund Scituate MA 02/28/2008
127 Mount Bigelow Masonic Angel Fund Stratton ME 11/06/2007
128 Plymouth Masonic Angel Fund Plymouth MA 03/17/2008
129 Konohassett Masonic Angel Fund Cohasset MA 04/04/2008
130 Cochichweick Masonic Angel Fund North Andover MA 05/09/2008

Since the Universal Lodge Masonic Angel Fund carries the designation of MAF #0, this places us at 131 Masonic Angel Funds in twelve states.

Masonic Angel Fund - A Decade of Service 1998 - 2008
Is it possible that we are approaching the tenth anniversary of the Masonic Angel Fund?

For those of us who have worked in the MAF program since its very inception, these past ten years have passed quickly! It was November 1998 when John Sherman and I sat down over dinner at the Orleans Hearth 'n Kettle and drew up the framework of the Masonic Angel Fund on a paper placemat.

After a couple days of fine tuning and conversations with trusted school administrators, John and I presented the idea to Vartkes "Al" Perperian, who was at that time the presiding as Master of Universal Lodge in Orleans, MA. We found some money in a dormant account, made a presentation to the Lodge members and the Masonic Angel Fund was born!

In December 1998 the Sylvester Baxter Royal Arch Chapter hosted the annual Christmas observance of Cape Cod Commandery #54. We decided to turn the evening into a fund-raiser for the new MAF. Eminent Commander Dick Seychew arranged the Commandery program, John and Sue Hockman with Don and Marilyn Haden prepared a wonderful dinner and yours truly got to play "auctioneer" for the first time. That night we auctioned off Beanie Babies, gift certificates from local establishments and witnessed a moving presentation by the Knights Templar. We also raised about $3,700.... and we were off!

In the fall of 1999 we began the process of creating a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation and developed what we now know as the Ten Standards, all in preparation for bringing the Masonic Angel Fund program to other Lodges that wished to sponsor a program for their local children in need. In July 2000 we established the Masonic Angel Foundation, Inc. and began to talk to Lodges in our geographical area about sponsoring the program for their local schools. Later that summer, John Sherman, Mario Mere and I met with Jimmie St. Pierre and Paull Cudak of Mount Horeb Lodge in Dennis, MA and laid out the program. A few days later, Mount Horeb became Masonic Angel Fund #1. (Universal has always carried the designation of #0 as the "birthplace" MAF.)

Over the next few months our District Deputy Grand Master, Southard Lippincott, introduced the Masonic Angel Fund concept not only to the Lodges in our district but to many Lodges near his own home just west of Boston. More MAF's sprung up.

From these humble beginnings grew a program that now encompasses 131 affiliates in 12 states, with a 13th state just around the corner. From a single Lodge's charity program we have grown into a national foundation that recently was granted Exempt Group status by the IRS - making MAFI one of only some 5,400 of the 1.5 million charities in the nation have achieved a group exemption.

Through all of these, the basic concepts that we laid down that night over the dinner table have stayed exactly as we envisioned:

100% of the money raised goes to help children in need
100% of the money raised in the local community stays in the local community

All benevolences provide direct assistance to a specific child or to specific children
Overhead expenses are paid by the sponsoring Lodge
Masonic Angel Fund volunteers work with local school professionals to identify and assist children in need
Masonic Angel Fund volunteers do not have direct contact with recipient families

Today we have nearly four hundred volunteers working the MAF program in their local communities. The program is still principally school-based, though we have expanded our reach to work with recognized social service programs as well as various components of the military and its supporting organizations. Most of MAF's money is raised at the grass roots level, with local Masons working hard to help their community's children in need. The program grows "organically", meaning that we don't proselytize Lodges to sponsor the program - we wait for interested Masons to come to us and then we show them how to get started.

I cannot begin to share the pride that John Sherman and I feel when we look back at the last ten years of the Masonic Angel Fund. It is truly humbling to consider the thousands of children that have received MAF assistance since 1998. As we used to say in the early days, the Masonic Angel Fund is a program that makes one feel even prouder to drive down the street with that Masonic emblem on the back bumper.

To each and every one of you that has helped the Masonic Angel Fund in this past ten years, we thank you and look forward to what we will accomplish together in the days ahead.

Regards to all,

Robert W. Fellows
Co-Founder/Board Secretary


Benevolence Stories
We thought we would do something a little different with benevolence stories in this issue. Rather than share one or two stories from a dozen or more Masonic Angel Funds, we decided to focus on the longer-term activities of two active and long-established programs.

The first benevolence collection is from King Hiram's Lodge in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Provincetown is located at the far tip of Cape Cod. There is one supermarket in town - the next supermarket is twenty-seven miles away. There are no discount stores in Provincetown - the closest thing to a discount store (T.J.Maxx) is also twenty-seven miles away in Orleans. This is a community where many families truly struggle to survive, most especially in the winter season when tourism dollars are not feeding the local economy.

Below is a sample of benevolence reports from King Hiram's Lodge's reports for the 2007-2008 school year:

Back to school items for an eighth grade boy and seventh grade girl, both being raised by their single father - $300
School clothes and uniform for a seventeen-year-old girl - $250
Emergency food assistance for a family with two children (ages 1 and 4) - $250
Emergency assistance for a homeless family with two children (ages 4 and 6) - $200
Winter clothing for a child previously helped by MAF - $200
School supplies for a high school girl - $50
Emergency assistance for a sixteen-year-old boy who is living on his own (mother moved in with boyfriend in another town) - $200
Provided holiday gifts for nine children through the Interfaith Council for the Homeless
Clothing and small holiday gifts for three boys - $150
Holiday gifts for 4th grade and 9th grade siblings whose father is suffering from colon cancer - $150
Counseling sessions for a seventeen-year-old boy - $100
Emergency food assistance for children whose mother is incarcerated - $100
Winter clothing for a high school girl - $100
Provincetown High School - clothing for three girls - $450
Emergency grocery funds for a family with a four-year-old girl whose father had open heart surgery - $200
Registration fee of $60 for an eighth grade girl to attend the summer program at Massachusetts Maritime Academy. Provincetown High School covers $1,000 program tuition.
Assistance with fitness program tuition for two obese high school girls - $50
Emergency food and clothing assistance for thirteen and fourteen year old siblings - $150
Provided $75 for clothing and feminine products for a high school girl
Clothing assistance for a seventeen-year-old girl - $140
Assist a family that had fallen behind on school lunch accounts and pre-school tuition. The school picked up $700 and MAF provided $600
Provided clothing and personal items for three children living in a motel following an apartment fire - $300

 

Next we turn to the Eau Claire Area Masonic Angel Fund, sponsored by Sanctuary Lodge #347 in Eau Claire, WI. This chapter was founded in 2002 and initially covered one school. Over the years the ECAMAF has grown to cover most of the schools in their city of some 62,000 people in the west-central part of Wisconsin. There are approximately 23 schools in Eau Claire.

Below we list some of the benevolences submitted on the spring 2008 semi-annual report from Eau Claire Area Masonic Angel Fund:

A request was received from the Mound View Elementary school at Elk Mound, WI in helping a family where the father had lost his job and the family could not afford the cost for their child’s milk breaks. They do receive free meals. $70.00.
Ms Danni C- contacted us seeking help for three children needing dental work. Calls were made to one of our brothers who is a dentist and a member of a local lodge. Dr. -- agreed to the work at no cost to the MAF. The children are ages, 6, 8, & 11. The father abandoned the family in California. The mother made it To Eau Claire and is trying hard to take care of the family.
A request was received from school counselor at Roosevelt Elementary to purchase a new back brace for a girl with curvature of the spine. The MAF purchased her first one. $500.00.
The social worker at Roosevelt Elementary contacted the MAF seeking funds to cover the cost of a summer school program for children needing extra help. This program is taught at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. A check for $240.00 was issued.
Mr R- the school counselor at Meadowview Elementary contacted the MAF asking for funds to cover the cost of milk breaks for 15 kindergarten students whose families can't afford the cost to the end of the school year. Check was issued for $200.00. ($13.33/child)
A request was received from Robbins Elementary School asking for help for a family of a little boy who needed medical attention. The parents did not have gas money to take him to the clinic. It was agreed that two gas $25.00 cards would be purchased.
A request was received from a school counselor at Robbins Elementary asking for summer pool passes for a family of 4. A check for 100.00 was issued to the Eau Claire Parks and Rec.
A request was received from the counselor at Robbins Elementary asking for help to purchase clothing for some needy children. $126.44
A request was received from Jackie K- of the Eau Claire City-County Health Department seeking assistance to purchase eyeglasses for a 7th grade girl whose parents cannot afford the eye exam or glasses. One of the school counselors referred the city agency to the MAF for help. A check for $45 was issued for the eye exam. Funds for glasses will be provided when they are ready. ($134.97 later paid for lenses and frames)
School counselor at Longfellow Elementary requested assistance to purchase shoes and warm clothing for four boys and four girls. The children also received socks and sweatshirts. $202.84
School social worker Ellen H- requests assistance for three children (ages 5, 6, 7) who live .2 miles short of receiving school bus service and must pay for bus transportation. A check for $134.97 was issued.
A check for $35 was issued at the request of the school counselor at Pederson Elementary to cover the cost of medication for a child whose parents did not have the money to pay for the prescription.
Another prescription was reimbursed to a school counselor at Flynn Elementary. This was $40 for a little boy who was experiencing a lot of pain but parents did not have funds for the pain medication.

As you can see, these are two very different communities but the needs are often strikingly similar. We selected these two programs to profile because they are so representative of what most Masonic Angel Funds work with on a day to day basis. Neither program is terrifically well-funded but they always find a way to help every child that needs assistance. One of the things we have observed over these past ten years is how most Masonic Angel Fund volunteers seem to value the same kinds of benevolences.

By and large, what you have just read is an exemplar of what we see when we review the semi annual reports that all MAF's are required to submit. Yes folks, we really do read your reports!


Speaking of which...


Semi-Annual Reports for the Fall Semester Due January 31st
Semi-annual report packets will be mailed out sometime in early December. The reports are exactly the same as they were last semester. Please remember that the reports for July 1, 2008 to December 31, 2008 are due at the Foundation's office by January 31, 2008. In addition to the mailed packet, the forms will be posted on our web site for download as soon as they are published.

Military Benevolence Program
A reminder, if you have any children of military personnel who are deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan a generous private foundation patron has made a fund available to help local Masonic Angel Funds who are providing assistance to children of these brave men and women. Contact the Foundation if you have a benevolence request that might qualify for 100% reimbursement under this program.

Share Your News!
Do you have benevolence stories you would like to share with the rest of the MAF on-line community? If so, please email them to info@masonicangelfund.org and we will pass them along to your colleagues.

Regards to all,
Robert W. Fellows, Co-Founder/Board Secretary
Masonic Angel Foundation, Inc.
info@masonicangelfund.org
www.masonicangelfund.org