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MASONIC ANGEL FOUNDATION UPDATE - January 21, 2002

LETTERS FROM MASONIC ANGEL FUNDS

In this issue, we thought it might be nice to share three letters we received from our constituent Masonic Angel Funds. In some cases we have edited the material to preserve the anonymity of the writers.

From a local MAF trustee - I was notified on Monday that a single Mom with four children had arrived in our town after escaping from a domestic violence problem in another state. They arrived with nothing but the clothes they were wearing. The family applied for and received from the Housing Authority on Tuesday a 3 bedroom house into which they moved yesterday. They did not suspect that the house would be available so quickly and had been living in a one-bedroom apartment with the grandmother since their arrival. Of the 4 children, 3 are in the elementary school and 1 in the middle school. On Tuesday, I received a request for any help with furniture for the family, specifically with beds. When they moved in yesterday, they had an air mattress and blankets. As you know, I talked with you about this situation and I felt that perhaps the MAF could help but the need was so great and the money somewhat limited. Last night I arranged with a local discount furniture store to purchase 4 beds, some mattresses, and a kitchen table with 5 chairs. I bought "sturdy but not purdy" basic furniture to the tune of $558 (the owner himself helped me and gave us 40% off the clearance tags). The family is ecstatic. They still have a need for tables, microwave, dryer, and some other stuff but I felt that the beds and a place for the family to eat together were the highest priority items. My girls came with me to the store and, you know, this is what being a Mason is about. Helping someone who has a need, not to get credit or brownie points, but just to feel good within from doing the right thing. As you again know, I was ready to quit our Lodge because we were doing nothing except meeting once a month and arguing over we should spend $50 for a DeMolay ad. When the MAF came along I saw it as a way to do what Masons should be doing, You don't know how happy I am to be working with MAF!

From one of our MAF's outside Massachusetts - Two small bits of news. First, one of our newest members stepped into the office right after Christmas and presented me with a donation of $750 for the MAF, far and away the biggest donation we have received. Second, we have expanded our coverage to include the Indiana School for the Blind (http://isb.butler.edu/). It is just up the street from our Lodge, and certainly qualifies as being in our neighborhood. The school has 178 students, and almost half of them are on some kind of financial assistance. Their Superintendent was ecstatic when I contacted him about the goals of the Fund, so we shall see if they take us up on it. Anyhow, I made it through my year as Master, with 8 new Masons raised, three transfers in from out of state, and three petitions accepted in December. Not bad for a Lodge that was ready to close, move or merge just a year ago!

From the Charles C. Dame Lodge MAF - Thanks to the generosity and support of the members of Charles C. Dame, our Masonic Angel Fund (MAF) has been able to fund 2 requests from the local High School. The first request was before the holidays where money was given for winter boots for 3 children in a family. The second request was in January where the school guidance head contacted the MAF for assistance to a ninth grader whose family had fallen onto difficult times. A donation there was earmarked for clothing and counseling. This charitable assistance is exactly why the MAF was formed and why our members have been so supportive. As we become known as a resource to school personnel, we can expect more and more requests. Our challenge will be to raise the funds needed to fulfill the requests. In March, part of the proceeds from the lodges White Elephant sale will be earmarked for the MAF. In the fall, the MAF's annual dinner will be another source of monies. And during the year, we hope that many lodge members will be able to send along a donation, as so many did last year when the fund began. You all know who you are and your generosity was and is appreciated. Our hope is that this year affords us all an opportunity to be generous and giving. We are making a difference in the lives of those less fortunate. It is a wonderful reflection on the tenets of our profession, the members of Charles C. Dame, and the lodge itself. It is hoped that as our charitable local activities become more and more well known, that good men will seek out our fraternity for membership, thus benefiting them and allowing our tradition of giving to continue.

 

WELCOME TO FOUR NEW MAF'S
We are pleased to welcome the following new Masonic Angel Fund's:

#31 Hammatt-Ocean Lodge, Saugus, MA 10/8/2001 
#32 Acacia Lodge #17, Salt Lake City, UT 12/7/2001 
#33 Azure Lodge, Walpole, MA 12/19/2001 
#34 Hope Lodge, Gardner, MA 12/20/2001

 

MAF IN THE PRESS

Visit our news archives section to view three recent news stories regarding the Masonic Angel Fund. Two of these were published in the Cape Codder newspaper and the third was published in Trowel Magazine. 

Please share any press clippings the cover the activities of your Masonic Angel Fund. If you need assistance in preparing a press release, please contact our staff for assistance.
 
MATCHING GRANTS AVAILABLE

Sylvester Baxter Royal Arch Chapter recently announced a matching grant series resulting from the second annual John Hockman Memorial Golf Outing. Each of the seven Lodges in the Provincetown 32nd Masonic District is entitled to a matching grant of $200. If your MAF is in the P32 and has raised at least $200 since September 1, 2001, please contact the Foundation staff to claim your grant.

The Grand Lodge of Massachusetts continues its matching grant series for 2001-2002. The only place on the net where you can get the application package is at www.masonicangelfund.org/downloads.htm - many thanks to our superlative webmaster for putting this information up on the site.
 
SHARE YOUR GOOD NEWS!

Please use our list server (angelfund@listserver.blackwidowweb.net) to share your benevolences and news with others in Masonic Angel Fund family. You may email your questions and stories to this address. 

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.
 
THE "MAF EXPERIENCE"

Recently, we were challenged by a request for advice on the first possible "big city" MAF adoption. The challenge was "how does one Lodge service a whole city of elementary schools?"

Well, we did a lot of talking. We talked primarily about how to get checks out to schools in a prompt, efficient manner. We talked about all kinds of ways of doing this - from electronic fund transfers, to school district inter-office mail to sending checks in the mail. As we explored these logistical issues we re-discovered a core value of the Masonic Angel Fund program. We call this the "MAF Experience".

The MAF Experience is the process of personal contact that accompanies each step in the fulfillment of a request for MAF assistance. This is a multi-step process:

Request - Someone from the school calls a Masonic Angel Fund trustee and asks for MAF assistance.
Approval - The MAF trustees make a very quick decision - which is usually "yes" - and inform the school staff person that the request will be fulfilled.
Fulfillment - A representative of the Masonic Angel Fund visits the school, is greeted by the staff and presents them with the check to fulfill the request for assistance.
This personal contact is absolutely essential to the core function of the Masonic Angel Fund - "Masons helping children in our community". The school staff and MAF volunteers maintain close, regular contact and develop a rapport over many months. The most important part of the MAF Experience - the "fulfillment" phase - is a necessary "uplifting experience" (to steal a term from AMWAY) that makes both the school and the Mason feel good about the program and about themselves for helping a child. 

Ask any Mason who has delivered an MAF check to a school. He will tell you that he wants to do more - he wants to bring more checks to that school to help more kids.

When we consider launching MAF in a larger community, it will be necessary to preserve the "MAF Experience" by involving a sufficient number of volunteers in the outreach phase of the MAF so that all schools can be covered by a person the staff recognizes and gets to know as a friend. 

We do not propose that you have a dozen MAF trustees or anything like that. Where trustees are concerned, smaller is better. However, you can gather a group of "MAF Ambassadors" around your trustees. Have each Ambassador adopt a few schools (perhaps three) where they will be the primary MAF contact. The Ambassador can receive requests for benevolence and then contact a Trustee to see about fulfilling the request. The Ambassador can then get the check from the Trustees and deliver it to the school in person.

The personal contact cornerstone of the "MAF Experience" is not just about everyone feeling good about a particular request fulfilled. It is about Masonic Awareness. The school staff will soon start to recognize their MAF Ambassador. This leads to contact in the community outside the school and the propagation of Masonic Awareness in that community. Good Masonic Awareness begets membership. Membership begets healthy, growing Lodges. Healthy, growing Lodges can do even more for their community....etc.

Who would like to write more about the MAF Experience? Send your thoughts to angelfund@listserver.blackwidowweb.net and we will pass them on to your colleagues in other Masonic Angel Funds.