Together we make a profound difference

Supporting Students, Teachers and Schools

Tips for setting up scholarships and other awards

Your March checklist

For your Trestleboard

Find it on freemason.org

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Supporting students, teachers and schools

When Don Travis joined Montebello DeMolay Chapter in 1954, he had no idea his Masonic career would lead him where he is now. Thanks to his help, and the help of dozens of his brothers from Montebello and Whittier lodges, Don has helped disburse at least three hundred thousand dollars over the years in scholarships and related programs to deserving local youth. “I love watching these kids, with their dreams for their future, and I’m just happy to help them get there” Don says. To him, it’s obvious why supporting public education is so important: “the kids are our future—this is a great way we can give back to the community.”

Originally a member of Montebello Lodge No. 451, Don and the rest of his lodge joined with their brothers from Whittier in 1999 to form the consolidated Montebello-Whittier Lodge No. 323. Each lodge has a long history of supporting their local public schools, and after they consolidated their resources, they were able to make an even greater impact. Don explains how his lodge went about giving back to their local youth.


Supporting students through scholarships

  • Each year our lodge gives out $1,000 scholarships to six public high school seniors—three from Whittier and three from Montebello school districts. This program has existed in one form or another since the late 1980s. We approach the principals every year and ask them to provide us with applicants for consideration. A committee of three readers chooses the final awardees.
  • In addition to $6,000 in scholarships, we also award another $4,000 in scholarships to local Masonic youth who are graduating high school. Also, thanks to the generous support of one of our brothers who willed us money, we are able to give out another $2,000 in scholarships specifically to students who intend to enter a trade school. All recipients must attend our June stated meeting dinner to accept their awards.
  • We’re able to afford these gifts because we set up a scholarship fund after Montebello Lodge was forced to sell its building after an earthquake in 1987. Between the interest and dividends accrued, and the generous support of brothers who willed us funds, we’re able to continue these scholarship programs.

Alternative, less costly forms of support

  • Our lodge also funds the Junior Citizen Award program administered by Montebello High Twelve Club No. 422. High Twelve is an organization of Master Masons who meet at noon each week to support Masonic causes, especially those relating to our youth. For the past four decades, the club has been providing a Junior Citizens award each month. This award honors a student, selected by the school, from one of three different high schools in the Montebello School District. No money is disbursed, but the honored student gets a plaque and public recognition for his/her work. Montebello Whittier Lodge pays for the plaques and lunches.
  • The biggest of our school programs is our annual Lodge Public Schools Night. We reach out to principals from up to eight middle schools in the area and ask them to pick seven of their most worthy students to be honored. We host all these students and their families to celebrate their academic success. Each student walks away with a certificate and a book on the United States Constitution.

Supporting teachers

  • Another program we offered for a while was a grant-funding program in the amount of up to $10,000 to schools in Montebello an another $10,000 to schools in Whittier.
  • We set up a committee to review applications from teachers and school administrators for needs not covered in their annual budget. The committee would review each request and determine if it fit our profile of possibilities. Ultimately the lodge membership voted for the final awardees.
  • Over the time span we were involved in this program we purchased a white board, a computer package, a long list of needed library books, Lavaliere microphones, etc.

The importance of recognition—for the awardee and the lodge

  • Each of our scholarship and award programs involved bringing the students either to lodge during a stated meeting or to the High Twelve luncheon. Not only do the students feel proud being honored so publicly, but the Masons get to see the results of their efforts. They get to see where their money is going to and it makes them feel good.

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Tips for setting up scholarships and other awards

It took decades of hard work for Montebello-Whittier Lodge to get to the place they are today. Your lodge doesn’t have to give out thousands of dollars to make a difference. Here are some tips on starting low-cost programs to support your local schools.

  • Scholarship amounts don’t have to be huge. Even a $500 scholarships can make a difference to graduating seniors from a local high school. Remember, it isn’t just the money that is important—the recognition is too. Invite the awardees to a stated meeting and give them a certificate along with a check to the school of their choice.
  • Think outside of the box. If you don’t have the funds yet to start a scholarship program, think of a way you could help teachers. Consider creating a $500 grant program for a local school. Or just award that money each year to a local school library—that money can buy a lot of books, and you can write the name of your lodge in the inside cover of each book to remind posterity of your lodge’s commitment to education.
  • Your lodge doesn’t have to provide all of the funding. Think about offering funds on a cost-share basis, that way you’re not only giving money to public schools, but helping them leverage funds from other sources.
  • Don’t think your lodge has the manpower to manage such programs? Your lodge can vote to donate to one of the California Masonic Foundation’s many initiatives that support public education. This past year alone, support from lodges like yours allowed the California Masonic Foundation to distribute $385,000 to support literacy and college success in the state.

If you have any questions, or are seeking advice on creating your own scholarship program, reach out to Don Travis at pmdtrav@aol.com.

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Your March checklist

It’s a big month for getting organized: The secretary, treasurer, and hall association all present reports at the stated meeting, and the annual lodge audit begins.


Executive Committee

  • Share with your lodge any plans for celebrating Public Schools Month in April.
  • Attend regional Public Schools Month celebrations organized by the California Masonic Foundation’s Public Schools Advisory Councils.
  • Arrange a member outing to a Public Schools Month Celebration.
  • Schedule inspector’s official visit and examination of the books, due by end of the month.
  • Attend, or make plans to attend, the Master & Wardens Retreat. Register now.

Senior Warden

  • Begin preparing 2020 program plan.
  • Begin preparing 2020 budget, remembering to set aside funds for retreat attendance.
  • Begin preparing 2020 officer appointments.
  • Begin preparing 2020 installation of officers.
  • Review all candidates’ progress towards advancement.

Junior Warden

  • Begin tracking 100% officer giving to the Annual Fund, with officers setting an example through gifts that represent their capability as well as their commitment to our charitable programs.

Secretary

  • Continue to collect delinquent dues from members (were due by January 1).
  • Send list of members with late dues to the master for the Retention Committee.
  • Send any suspension notices.
  • Charity Committee considers remissions.
  • File financial reports with Grand Lodge (unless your lodge uses Intacct, in which case you do not need to submit anything).

Treasurer

  • If your lodge has employees, file W-3 with IRS along with copies of all W-2 forms.
  • File financial reports with Grand Lodge (unless your lodge uses Intacct, in which case you do not need to submit anything).

Audit Committee

  • Audit lodge books, to be completed by end of April.

Questions? Contact Member Services at memberservices@freemason.org or (415) 776-7000.

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For your Trestleboard

One of the fraternity’s favorite traditions is fast approaching! If you haven’t already, start rallying your lodge for Public Schools Month in April. Use this ad to spread the word.

This month:
2019 Public Schools Month
2019 Symposium Ad
Age Successfully at Acacia Creek

Share in your Trestleboard.

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Find it on freemason.org

Public education is one of our fraternity’s most treasured causes – and it is one that we have championed for hundreds of years. The California Masonic Foundation is dedicated to the support of students and teachers in our state. Each year the California Masonic Foundation gives $1,000 to each of the five California teachers of the year in recognition of their important contributions to public education in our state.

Additionally, California Masonic Foundation continues to champion programs like Raising A Reader, which is an award-winning literacy program that provides a rotation of high-quality books to children, along with parent education around the importance of book sharing and its role in literacy development. In the last six years the California Masonic Foundation has raised $1.6 million for this program, and with your help, it hopes to raise another $2.5 million. Donate now.

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Question of the month

Last month we asked how your lodge supports local youth?. Of those that responded:

  • 93% - Provide financial support
  • 70% - Provide meeting space
  • 70% - Brothers attend youth order special events and fundraisers
  • 70% - Brothers serve as adult leaders/advisors
  • 59% - Invite youth to all appropriate lodge events
  • 44%- Brothers attend monthly youth order meetings
  • 44% - Promote youth fundraisers/activities on lodge social media
  • 44% - Provide space in Trestleboard for youth articles/updates
  • 33% - Host special events to honor youth orders
  • 7% - Helped start a new local chapter/bethel/assembly


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