September 2023:
Back to School!

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    Back to School! Here’s How to Make it Count

    Your lodge doesn’t have to raise millions to make a meaningful difference this September for Public Schools Month. It may be as simple as putting some school supplies together.

    “As Masons, it’s important for us to make meaningful impact, and public education is where it all starts,” says Ed del Rosario, past master of San Francisco No. 120 and chair of the California Masonic Foundation’s Public Education Advisory Committee in San Francisco. “The next generation of leaders needs our help more than ever, and it’s in the schools where we can change their lives for the better.”

    Whether you’re hosting Public Schools Month events in your local schools or donating to the work of the California Masonic Foundation, know that your lodge is furthering a century long history of Masonic charity, while at the same time helping raise positive public awareness of the fraternity at large, a priority of our current strategic plan. That’s a double win, and something we can all get behind.

    Getting Behind Public Schools Month

    Here, a few tips for making the most of Public Schools Month this year.

    • Scholarships don’t have to be huge. Even a $500 award can make a real difference to graduating seniors. 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. (And be sure to take pictures and share them in your trestleboard and on your social media pages!)
    • Reach out to your local school’s administration and simply ask, “How can we help?” Whether it’s gifting school supplies like backpacks or volunteering to repaint a basketball court, a lodge’s support can do so much. Plus, your lodge efforts will set example of promoting positive change for the students.
    • 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. Consider partnering with the lodges in your district on events or programs you can cohost. Two lodges mean twice the resources and twice the marketing—an important factor in successful fundraisers.

    Best Practices and Due Diligence Tips for Hall Associations Regarding Building Repair/Improvements

    If your lodge's Hall Association is considering or preparing to undergo repairs or improvements, it's important to dot all your I's and cross your Ts. Here, the Grand Lodge Real Estate team has compiled some helpful reminders to help you avoid common mistakes.

    • Obtain at least two or three similar and competitive bids on the same written scope of work.
    • Scope of work must be comprehensive and indicate the specifications on materials, equipment, etc.
    • For complex renovation projects, explore engaging professionals to produce design drawings, structural engineering reports, termite reports, and other pertinent building inspections as part of your due diligence.
    • Make sure all bid/contract documents reference the hall association and not the lodge as "customer" or "client."
    • Bid/contract documents must clearly define a project completion timeline and warranty information
    • Bid/contract document must contain progressive payment terms with the down payment not exceeding 10% of total project cost or $1,000, whichever is the lesser of the two.
    • Select a contractor using several criteria, including cost, competency, professionalism, and reputation, and ensure that contractor is licensed and adequately insured.
    • Obtain, or have the contractor obtain the required city and/or county permits for the project at hand.
    • Formalize contractor selection at a Hall Association board meeting, which should be reflected in the board meeting minutes.
    • Solicit input and buy-in from various disciplines from within the lodge and the Hall Association, and obtain approval for funding from the owner lodge at a lodge stated meeting, with the lodge’s investment account and building designated fund being the most common funding sources for improvements projects.
    • Obtain proper written approval from the Grand Lodge Masonic Properties Committee for improvements/repairs projects greater than the $25,000 threshold, as required by the California Masonic Code (CMC).
    • Before any work commences, obtain a certificate of liability insurance (COI) from each contractor, naming the Hall Association as additional insured and certificate holder for the general liability insurance coverage; the COI must also include worker’s comp and auto liability insurance coverage for contractors utilizing employees and vehicles on hall premises.

    If your hall association has any questions on these due diligence tips and requirements for a complete improvements application packet, please email

    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

    September Officers' Checklist

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

    Executive Committee

    • Make plans for your lodge master, wardens, or other representatives to attend Annual Communication this October. Your vote is important to the future of Freemasonry in California. Tickets are going fast for the Grand Master’s Gala and Partners and Families Lunch, as are hotel rooms. If you haven’t yet, be sure to register now.

    Senior Warden, along with Executive Committee

    • Identify and approach members for 2024 open elected and appointed officer positions.
    • Urge presumptive master, wardens, and senior deacon to perform their Master Mason’s proficiency soon, if not already completed.
    • Urge respective officers to answer the master, senior warden, and junior warden questions early.
    • Identify and approach members for the 2024 Audit, Membership Retention, and any other committees.
    • Set calendar for 2024 and identify event leaders.
    • Continue preparing 2024 budget.
    • Set installation date and approach installing officer, master of ceremonies, and chaplain.
    • Review all candidates’ progress toward advancement.
    • Introduce and vote on the Membership Restoration Campaign at a stated meeting to invite suspended members back into the fold. 

    Junior Warden

    • Continue 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.


    • If lodge per capita has not yet been paid, submit payment ASAP.
    • Prepare to send out dues notices and begin collecting member dues, starting Oct. 31.


    • If lodge per capita has not yet been paid, submit payment ASAP.

    Questions? Contact Member Services at or (415) 776-7000.

    Question of the Month

    Last month, we asked whether your lodge has a committee dedicated to handling incoming prospects. Of those who responded …

    • 42% - Yes 
    • 58% - No

    Here's your next survey question