October 22, 2003 - Masonic Angel
"MASONS MAKING A DIFFERENCE"
HOW EFFECTIVE IS YOUR
SCHOOL OUTREACH PROGRAM?
This is a time of year when we receive quite a few annual reports from our constituent Masonic Angel Funds. It is always a pleasure to read about the activities of MAF's all over the country as they grow and evolve.
The most successful Masonic Angel Funds are those with effective school outreach programs.
We define "effective" as "giving away money". Too often in Masonry we see Lodges that accumulate thousands of dollars for a "Widows' Fund" or a "Charity Fund" and then sit there and "worship" the money. In too many cases we hoard funds and are very proud of ourselves for having lots of money in the bank.
We don't think so!
In many communities MAF has re-defined Masonic charity and fund raising. As our faithful readers know, the credo of the Masonic Angel Fund is "spend the money and go get more". We enjoy the "act" of delivering benevolence checks to the schools and we want to do it more often. Because giving "feels good" we challenge ourselves to raise money so that we always have funds available when a school calls.
Recently we receive a proud report from a constituent MAF that had accumulated some $3,700 in the past year and had given out only $600 in benevolences. Needless to say, our Foundation volunteers were not proud of that particular MAF. Upon investigation we learned that the local MAF trustees had been working exclusively through the superintendent's office and had little direct contact with the local school staff.
The superintendent's office is a starting point for MAF contact with schools. The purpose of that contact is to obtain introductions to the local school administration and - ultimately - to the nurses and counselors that have daily contact with the pupils. Once we get to the individual schools that is where our continued contact should be maintained. As one of our Foundation board members says, "You should be having milk and cookies with the school nurses, not tea and crumpets with the superintendent".
Our most successful Masonic Angel Funds have monthly contact with their individual school contacts. Even if it's just to say "hello", we should visit or call our schools at least once a month. For those who are new to MAF, we can tell you that November and December are our two busiest months system-wide. You should be in the schools now talking about Christmas needs and clothing for the cold weather.
For those who have been in the "MAF business" for a couple of years, we encourage you to talk to your school nurses and make certain they know the full spectrum of benevolences your MAF will provide. In our own "mother MAF" here in Orleans, we recently discovered that some of the school staff thought that we were doing only health-related work because we were using the nurse as our primary point of contact. We dispelled that notion by providing an informational flyer to be inserted in each teacher's mailbox - with information on what we can do for them and the phone numbers of our three Masonic Angel Fund trustees.
Take a look at your checkbook. If you see more money coming in than going out, you need to get on your horse and go visit your schools. It is amazing how fast a "quiet" MAF can become a very active one with proper application of the school outreach program.
If you would like to talk about your school outreach program, please email John Sherman on firstname.lastname@example.org or Southard Lippincott on email@example.com - both of these men can help you build a more effective relationship with your schools.
USO AND MASONIC ANGELS SHINE
Last month the USO New England Council approached us about helping with back-to-school packages for children of active-duty military personnel in Massachusetts. Given our excellent association with USO we were more than pleased to help.
A USO "back-to-school package" consists of necessary clothing and school supplies. In some cases, fall outerwear was required as well. Alice Harkins (USO Executive Director) did her usual "ruthless" shopping for bargains and negotiated some excellent discounts with major retailers. Essentially, MAF provided about $75 per child - which Alice brokered into around $200 worth of merchandise.
Dozens of children from across Massachusetts were involved in this benevolence. In communities served by a Masonic Angel Fund was extant, we introduced USO to the local MAF trustees. In places not yet covered by MAF the St. Andrew Fund provided the necessary funds.
As with all other experiences we've had with USO, this program was a terrific success. There will be more from Ms. Harkins coming in future bulletins.
MAF AND OVERLOOK VNA GIVE THE GIFT OF HEARING
Last week we received one of the most moving letters I've seen in five years with MAF. It was the result of a benevolence that the St. Andrew Fund and a local Lodge did with Overlook Visiting Nurse Association some time ago. Please visit the link to this story. It will bring tears to your eyes.
UNIVERSAL LODGE PROVIDES EYEGLASSES
Again this month, the Universal Lodge Masonic Angel Fund was called upon to provide eyeglasses to a boy with a serious vision impairment. This youngster is being raised along with another sibling by his single father. The dad is a hard worker but the unanticipated expense of the eyeglasses put his budget past the breaking point. As usual this who transaction was completed in about a day.
BOSTON FIRST FUND HELPS AGAIN
Amanda Benyo from Tri County Youth Programs emailed us last week with the case of a sixteen year old Roxbury boy who is in foster care. He wanted to continue his after-school YMCA basketball league but the funds were not available for the tuition. The BFF provided the needed $100 about five minutes after we received the email.
Our work with the BFF and Tri County Youth Programs has taught us a lot about children in foster care. These kids' lives have been turned completely upside down. In many cases a sports activity or after-school program may be the last vestige of normalcy left in the child's life. These programs can be critical in keeping an at-risk child on track. The children in the TCYP program have an excellent support system around them. The Masonic Angel Fund is able to do what it does best - fill in the cracks for these children with opportunities to reclaim some control of their lives.
HAMMATT-OCEAN LODGE FUNDS AFTER-SCHOOL TUITION
Speaking of Tri County Youth Programs, we were pleased to learn that Hammatt-Ocean Lodge has again helped TCYP with a foster child living in Saugus. This six-year-old girl is doing well in her foster home of eighteen months but was at risk of losing the arrangement because her after-school program tuition was no longer funded by the state. These at-risk kids are not allowed to be "latch key children" - they must be supervised. Since the foster parent works, the girl was required to be in some kind of structured after-school program. Hammatt-Ocean Lodge and Tri County put together a package to fund this girl's tuition through the rest of this school year.
BENEVOLENCE BUILDER GRANTS
A reminder - through the generosity of The Lodge of St. Andrew, Massachusetts Masonic Angel Funds are eligible to receive a 50% "benevolence builder grant" to replenish benevolences given between October 1, 2003 and January 30, 2004. If your Lodge provides a benevolence of $150, you are eligible for a replenishment grant of $75.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to apply for your benevolence builder grant.
HEADSTART ON CAPE COD
MAF's on Cape Cod have established a productive relationship with the regional HeadStart pre-school program. We recently assisted one child with the rental of a musical instrument and another with a special gymnastics program to help with her gross motor skill development. HeadStart programs are recognized by the Foundation as "schools" and, as such, are entitled to request assistance through MAF. Have you outreached your local HeadStart programs yet?
WELLESLEY LODGE MAKES A DIFFERENCE
This week we received a copy of a thank-you note that the Wellesley Lodge MAF received from an appreciative parent. You can read about their excellent work here
HOCKMAN GOLF OUTING SUCCEEDS
With well over $1,500 earned and money still coming in, the fourth annual John Hockman Memorial Golf Outing has again helped Masonic Angel Funds in Massachusetts' 21st Masonic District. Read the story and see the pictures here
FIFTH ANNUAL MAF CHRISTMAS AUCTION
The Fifth Annual Masonic Angel Fund charity auction will be held on Tuesday December 16th at the Sheraton Four Points in Eastham, MA. Proceeds will benefit the Universal Lodge Masonic Angel Fund. The evening will commence with a social hour at 5 p.m., dinner at 6 p.m. with the auction to follow. Dinner is $20 per person. More information will be forthcoming.
20th MASONIC DISTRICT FUND-RAISER
The Lodges in the upper-Cape 20th Masonic District are sponsoring a Charity Ball and Auction on October 25, 2003 at the Sea Crest Resort in North Falmouth. The event will split its proceeds 50/50 between the Masonic Angel Funds of the 20th District and the Shriner's Hospitals of Massachusetts.
More information is available from DDGM R.W. Thomas Hickey via email@example.com
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.