Together we make a profound difference

BEST PRACTICE: Community involvement

HOW-TO: Partner with your community

Two-minute tutorial

One website every prospect should visit


Question of the month


BEST PRACTICE: Community involvement

One of the fraternity’s strategic priorities is to improve philanthropy, including increasing community involvement by lodges. The added benefit? Strong community ties tend to enhance the member experience.

In the foothills of Central California, Hornitos Lodge No. 98 has found its niche.

Master Richard Kleitman explains:

We are a traditional lodge, and take great pride in our gold rush history. At stated meetings, we often read not only the last month’s minutes, but those from the same month 150 years ago.

We help keep this sense of history alive in the community, too. For almost 20 years, we’ve cohosted a major event with a local nonprofit, the Hornitos Patrons Club.

Event details

  • Nonprofit partner: On the first Sunday in October, the Hornitos Patrons Club holds a huge flea market, drawing shoppers and vendors from throughout the area. Our little town swells from a population of 70 to over 400.
  • Be our guest: In conjunction with the flea market, the lodge conducts an open house. Residents and visitors tour our tiny lodge room and speak with our lodge historian and other brothers about Freemasonry in Hornitos.
  • 4,000 served, and counting: About 12 years ago the Patrons Club asked us to cook for the flea market, too. That first year we served breakfast and lunch out of our parking lot. Eventually we moved across the street to a parks and recreation facility, where we now serve breakfasts to 400-500 guests a year.

Organizing the event

  • History buffs: A club within our lodge (called the Geometers Club) works with our lodge historian to plan the open house. Members act as tour guides during the event.
  • Fuel for a crowd: Two brothers purchase the food and coordinate the breakfast.
  • Member volunteers: The day before the event, six or seven brothers set up. On the actual day, about 20 of us volunteer in shifts.
  • Advertising: We use flyers, large signs posted throughout the community, a dinner bell, and the smell of frying bacon to invite folks to our breakfast and open house.

Other community events

  • Preservation project: We hold an annual cemetery clean-up prior to the town’s Dia de los Muertes celebration.
  • Partnership for schools: Every May we join with Mariposa Lodge No. 24 for a public schools scholarship and teachers’ award night. We recognize the teachers of the year from every school in Mariposa County, as well as three student scholarship winners. Our lodge’s Public Schools Committee chair organizes the night with a counterpart at Mariposa Lodge.


  • Meaningful relationships: The lodge has a reputation for being active and involved in our small community.
  • Public awareness: Thanks to the flea market and joint public schools night, we are visible even in surrounding towns.
  • Honoring our heritage: We educate ourselves and our neighbors about the history of the lodge.
  • Membership development: As a direct result of the open house, we have received new applications and welcomed visiting brethren from other lodges.

For more information, contact: Richard Kleitman.

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HOW-TO: Partner with your community

Even before California was a state, Masonic lodges were anchors of their communities. And today, philanthropy - including community involvement - is one of the fraternity’s strategic priorities.

But when was the last time your lodge tried something new? Here are 31 ideas to inspire you.


  • Public school
  • Community center
  • Library
  • Cultural organization
  • Retirement home
  • Hospital
  • Food bank or soup kitchen
  • Meal delivery for elderly and ill residents
  • Rehabilitation center
  • Neighborhood cleanup
  • Preservation project
  • Boys and girls club
  • Animal shelter
  • Neighborhood watch
  • After-school program


  • Blood drive
  • Clothing drive
  • Book drive
  • Food drive
  • Holiday event, such as a Halloween haunted house
  • Community gathering, such as a picnic or performance


  • Civil servants, such as police, fire, or EMT departments
  • Veterans
  • Teachers
  • Volunteers
  • Local nonprofits

Show up

  • Participate in fundraiser walks or activities
  • March in local parades
  • Attend charitable organizations’ events
  • Purchase ad space to recognize accomplishments in school yearbooks, with a local sports team, or in other community publications
  • Interact with other community pages on Facebook, and share their upcoming events on your Facebook wall
Have we forgotten something? Email suggestions to with How-To: Partner with your community in the subject line.

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Two-minute tutorial

Every officer needs a basic understanding of dues, fees, and contributions. Here’s a quick refresher.

Degree fees

  • Definition: Paid by each applicant to the lodge for the conferral of their degrees
  • Cost: Determined by each lodge; at minimum $75, per the CMC

Grand Lodge application fee

  • Definition: Paid by an applicant to Grand Lodge for processing their application and background check
  • Cost: $45
  • Breakdown: $30 for processing the application; $15 for fees associated with the background check.


  • Definition: Paid by an applicant to support Masonic philanthropies
  • Cost: $49
  • Breakdown: $25 to the Masonic Homes of California; $9 to the California Masonic Memorial Temple; $15 to the George Washington Masonic Memorial

Applicant’s total payment: Degree fees, plus $45 Grand Lodge application and background check fees, plus contributions


  • Definition: Paid annually by a Master Mason to his lodge
  • Exceptions: Members who have purchased life membership or whose dues have been remitted by action of the lodge
  • Cost: Determined by each lodge; at minimum $12 per the CMC
  • Structure: Flat annual fee or fee plus the annual per capita sum approved by Grand Lodge
This resource is adapted from “Lodge Dues and Fees,” presented at the 2012 Secretaries and Treasurers Retreats.

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One website every prospect should visit

You probably use as a resource already. But are you taking advantage of its newest section, Discover Masonry?

Introduced as part of the strategic priority to enhance the overall quality of the member experience, Discover Masonry:

Any time you connect with a prospect or applicant, point him to this URL:

The information at this site will reinforce what you’ve already discussed and may anticipate answers for topics you haven’t covered yet.

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With the fraternity’s biggest annual event just weeks away, we’re dedicating this Resource section to the women who will attend.

This year at Annual Communication, a special ladies’ event will bring the house down: Jeanie Loui, wife of the grand master, has arranged a private performance of Beach Blanket Babylon, one of San Francisco’s cultural gems.

Share this flyer to remind your lodge ladies to sign up.

This month: Flyer: Ladies’ Event

Print and post at lodge, or include in your Trestleboard.

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Question of the month

Last month we asked how you promote lodge events to the community. Of the 100 who responded:

44% - Newspaper
33% - Facebook and/or Twitter
20% - Flyers
7% - Radio

Here’s your next question.





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