The Leader
MARCH 2020: Public Schools Month

Table of Contents

This Public Schools Month, No Effort Is Too Small

Charity comes in many shapes and sizes—something California lodges demonstrate each year during Public Schools Month. This year, as the fraternity celebrates the historic 100th anniversary of Charles Adams’s 1920 Public Schools Week proclamation, it’s a lesson worth remembering. Because whether yours is a lodge with a hefty financial endowment or one that just struggles to keep the lights on, there’s always an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of local schoolkids.

As lodges look for ways to pitch into the centennial spirit, no undertaking is too small—a fact exemplified by the members of Anaheim Lodge No. 207, where they’ve made every penny count.

The Multiplying Effect

Although they’re the oldest lodge in Orange County, Anaheim No. 207 still deals with the same essential concerns as upstart lodges do. “How do we engage membership? How do we keep dues low, but still make an impact in our community?” Luciano Leon, lodge master, asks rhetorically. “We’re still figuring that out.” It’s easy to get stalled on ambitious projects when you’re wrapped up with covering the basics.

For Leon and the members of Anaheim No. 207, the answer to cracking that fundraising puzzle was simply to push forward. “We knew that if we didn’t start, we never would get anywhere,” Leon says. So the lodge started—slowly, at first. Last in 2018, they hosted a pancake breakfast to raise funds for public education. Although the event didn’t net much money—a few hundred dollars in profit—it served to break the seal. Now the lodge is preparing for its second event, a chili cook-off scheduled for April, which Leon and organizers are excited to put lessons learned planning their initial event into practice. He’s also reaching out to neighboring lodges in an attempt to cohost the event and maximize turnout. “The more lodges we can work with, the better the outcome,” Leon says. “We know our fundraising goals aren’t big, but the difference between raising $1,000 and zero is a thousand opportunities for a child in need."

The key to getting the most out of their charitable efforts, Leon says, is working with the California Masonic Foundation. By partnering with the national nonprofit Raising A Reader, money donated through the Foundation—raised through Anaheim No. 207 and others across the state—brings the fundraising prowess of the entire fraternity to bear on a targeted solution to a critical educational issue. “The Foundation has the resources to stretch our $1,000 farther than we can on our own,” Luciano says. “Eventually, we’d like to build up a sustainable scholarship program, but for now, we’re focusing on ways to maximize our impact any way we can.”

With enough lodges like Anaheim No. 207 making their own drop in the bucket, the Foundation is able to create a meaningful difference in the lives of some of the neediest classrooms in the state—and impact the lives of schoolkids and their families. To donate, visit the California Masonic Foundation website.

Get Schooled: Public Schools Month Fundraising 101

Your lodge doesn’t have to raise millions to make a meaningful difference this Public Schools Month. Here are some tips on starting low-cost programs to support your local schools. Also remember to tell your community about all you do for local education. Use this press release template to get the word out.

  • Scholarship amounts don’t have to be huge. Even a $500 scholarship can make a real difference to graduating seniors from a local high school. Remember, it isn’t just the money that’s important—it’s the recognition and the knowledge that their community has invested in them. Invite the awardees to a stated meeting and give them a certificate along with a check to the school of their choice.
  • Make an effort as a lodge to achieve 100 percent officer giving. It’s a huge first step toward building a culture of philanthropy in your lodge.
  • Your lodge doesn’t have to do this alone. Take the example of Anaheim No. 207 and partner with your neighboring lodges on events or programs you can cohost. Two lodges mean twice the resources and twice the marketing—an important factor in successful fundraisers.

Whether you’re hosting Public Schools Month events in your community’s local schools or donating to the work of the California Masonic Foundation, know that your lodge is continuing a 100 year legacy of support—something we can all get behind.

Your March Checklist

Stay on track of lodge business and prepare for important deadlines. Here’s your March checklist.

Executive Committee

  • Share with your lodge any plans for celebrating Public Schools Month in April.
  • 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 2021 program plan.
  • Begin preparing 2021 budget, remembering to set aside funds for retreat attendance
  • Begin preparing 2021 officer appointments.
  • Begin preparing 2021 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.


  • 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.
  • File financial reports with Grand Lodge (unless your lodge uses Intacct, in which case you do not need to submit anything).


  • 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 or (415) 776-7000.

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. Use this ad to spread the word.

This month:
2020 Public Schools Month
UCLA International Conference on Freemasonry
MCYAF Telehealth

Find it on

Since 2018, California Masons have made gifts and pledges to the California Masonic Foundation’s Let’s Write the Future campaign that amounted to nearly $6.5 million. In 2019 alone, money from these types of gifts allowed the Foundation to expand the Raising A Reader program into 91 new classrooms and close in on its goal of putting expert vetted reading material in the hands of 1,000 of the lowest-performing California classrooms; dispersed nearly $300,000 in scholarships to deserving high school students; and once again support California teachers by offering cash awards for the California Teacher of the Year. Even if your lodge doesn’t have a lot, by donating to the CMF, every penny that you do give is multiplied by the generosity of others. Donate today!

Question of the Month

Last month, we asked how your lodge supported Job’s Daughters. Of those that responded:

  • 40% - By hosting a chapter
  • 36% - We don’t, but we do host another youth order
  • 28% - By mentoring chapter members
  • 40% - Other (Annual donations, host and support youth meetings and events, fundraising support)