April 2024:
Hall Association Preservation Grants Are here!

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    Hall Association Preservation Grants Are Here!

    Anyone who has ever owned an old home knows that even the simplest of repairs can turn into cascading set of difficult—and pricey—fixes. A leaky toilet reveals rotted flooring, which reveals termite-damaged floor joists, and so on. Take that experience and multiply it tenfold and you might begin to understand the challenges of maintaining an old lodge building. “Many lodges do have the financial resources to maintain their buildings, but there are just as many who don’t and for them, basic maintenance can be a challenge,” says Khalil Sweidy, the Grand Lodge director of financial planning and real estate.

    That’s why Grand Lodge is piloting an exciting new grant program to help hall associations get their buildings back in shape. It's an important program and one that Masonic hall associations should take full advantage of.

    How the Grants Work

    For the first time, the Grand Lodge is now setting aside funds earmarked for local lodges’ improvement projects: the Hall Association Preservation Grants.

    “We began talking about wanting to create a grant opportunity to help those lodges who both own historic buildings and are unable to afford the upkeep,” Sweidy says. So, in March, the Grand Lodge sent out a call for applications to the new hall grant program, which will distribute $300,000 to eligible and deserving lodges. Says Sweidy, the Grand Lodge is particularly interested in awarding grants to lodges that can demonstrate a financial hardship and which own historic lodge buildings. “Projects that we’re particularly eager to help with are ones that preserve the building envelope,” Sweidy says. Think: roof repairs, brick repointing, window restoration, that sort of thing. “Pretty much all those projects that keep the building safe from mother nature’s wrath,” he says.

    The Grand Lodge anticipates awarding grants in the amount of around $10,000 to $30,000, but that is subject to the type and number of applications received and the decision of the Grand Lodge Executive Committee, which will make the final decision on such projects. “It’s possible that we might award partial funding and ask that the hall association match that amount for projects that are particularly expensive,” Sweidy says. So don’t be afraid of submitting larger asks; just know that you might not get the full funding.

    By last count, some 250 hall associations are currently managing Masonic lodge buildings in the state, representing an insured value of nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars. That’s a huge asset for the fraternity, and one that members of the Grand Lodge are hoping to help preserve. But these buildings are more than just brick and mortar with an insurance value. They’re often the cornerstone of their towns. And they’re the lifeblood of the fraternity. “We recognize the inherent value of these buildings, Sweidy says. “Oftentimes, when a building goes, the heart and soul of the lodge goes with it.” So don’t wait, apply today. The deadline to submit your application is May 31.

    How to Apply

    The HGP Grant Application form, located in the iMember Resources tab under Applications, should be completed and submitted with the following information and documents:

    • Project Description: A description of the project to be undertaken by the hall and the reason(s) the project is important and necessary.
    • Estimated Project Cost and Start Date: The hall must provide one or more contractor bids that include the complete scope of work, estimated costs and fees, payment terms, warranty information, and work timeline (including start date).
      • Hall representatives must describe any known relationship between the contractor(s) and hall or lodge.
    • Photos:Including of the hall building (as applicable)
    • Historical Significance: A description of anyhistorical significance of the hall.
    • Amount of Grant Requested by the Hall: The application must include an estimate of the amount of HGP grant funds needed to complete the project. Grand Lodge will treat this estimate as the request by the hall. In preparing the estimate, the hall may assume a reasonable retention of hall cash and investments post-project-completion to ensure the sound operations of the hall after the project is completed.
    • Financial Documents Demonstrating Financial Need: The hall must include financial and banking statements sufficient to demonstrate that its financial need for the full amount of HGP funds requested.
    • Active Lodge/Hall: The hall must include documents or descriptions demonstrating that the hall and its owner-lodge are currently active (e.g., degrees are being conferred, stated meetings are being held, hall board meetings are being routinely held) and that the hall and board officer positions are filled.
    • Tax Filings: Confirmation that federal (IRS) and state (FTB) tax filings are up to date for both the hall and the owner-lodge.
    • Insurance: If the hall is not participating in the Alliant Insurance Program, the hall must provide its current property and general liability insurance policy summaries.
    • Other documentation: as requested.

    A Note from Grand Lodge I.T.

    Chris D. Smith, the chief technology officer for the Grand Lodge, has an important message to all lodges regarding recent email scams circulating around the state:

    Have you received an out-of-the-blue text or email from your “Worshipful Master” asking “are you free at the moment?” Or maybe you’ve received one from your “Inspector” saying that they “need your help.” If you have, you aren’t alone. But beware, these are scams.
    As Masons, we want to be responsive to a brother’s request, and scammers know that. If you receive such a message, my advice is to contact the brother directly about the message/request, and don’t reply to the message you received. If you do reply and then are asked for gift cards (or any other abnormal purchase) alarm bells, red flags and every other kind of warning should be going off. And again, contact the brother directly to confirm the request.
    Stay safe my brothers!”

    For Your Trestleboard

    Use this content to spread the word about resources provided by the California Masonic Foundation, the Masonic Homes of California, and more.

    Masonic Health Services:

    Services at MCYAF Across the Lifespan

    The Pavilion at the Masonic Homes

    Masonic Homes of California Resources

    Masonic Value Network

    Masonic Philanthropy:

    Masonic Youth Order Resources Library

    California Masonic Foundation Cornerstone Society

    April Officers' Checklist

    Stay on track of lodge business and prepare for important deadlines. Here’s your April checklist. Executive Committee
    • Prepare any proposed legislation for Annual Communication, due April 24.
    • If you haven’t yet, attend or make plans to attend the Master & Wardens Retreat. Retreats are still open for Anahiem (April 5-7), Lake Tahoe (April 19-21), and Indian Wells (May 17-19). Register now.
    Senior Warden
    • Begin preparing 2025 program plan.
    • Begin preparing 2025 budget, remembering to set aside funds for retreat attendance.
    • Begin preparing 2025 officer appointments.
    • Begin preparing 2025 installation of officers.
    • Review all candidates’ progress toward advancement.
    Junior Warden
    • Begin tracking 100 percent 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.
    • Continue to collect delinquent dues from members (were due on January 1).
    • Send list of members with late dues to the master for the Retention Committee.
    • Send any suspension notices.
    • Charity Committee considers remissions.
    • If your lodge has employees, file quarterly federal payroll tax form 941 (unless IRS has approved an annual filing of form 944, due in February, or the lodge is using the Paychex payroll system).
    • If your lodge has employees, file quarterly state payroll tax form DE9/DE9C and deposit form DE88 unless the lodge is using the Paychex payroll system.
    • Prepare and file annual tax returns (IRS form 990 and FTB form 199), both due by May 15, unless your lodge has previously agreed to have Grand Lodge prepare these  tax forms.
    • For lodges that are not using Intacct, per CMC, submit your 2022 annual financial report to Grand Lodge.
    Audit Committee
    • Audit lodge books, to be completed by end of month.
    Hall Association
    • Prepare form 200, due to Grand Lodge by May 15.
    • Prepare and file annual tax returns (IRS form 990 and FTB form 199), both due by May 15 to the IRS, unless the Hall is using Intacct and opted in to the Grand Lodge preparation service.
    • Prepare insurance premium payment, due in May.
    • Consider submitting an application to Grand Lodge for a Hall Association Preservation Grant. Applications are due May 31.
    Questions? Contact Member Services at memberservices@freemason.org or (415) 776-7000.

    Question of the Month

    Last month we asked, how does your lodge support the Masonic youth orders? Check all that apply. See the results here.

    • 90% - Financially
    • 67% - Leasing or donating lodge hall for meetings
    • 48% -  Joint events (dinners, fundraisers, etc.)
    • 43% - Scholarship
    • 9% - Awards/recognition
    • Other - Sponsor both a Job's Bethel and a DeMolay Chapter, Attempting to get Job’s Daughters going, Provide advisors, Provide leadership to our Chapter.

    Here's your next survey question