"To relieve the
distressed is a duty incumbent on all men, but particularly on Freemasons, who are linked
together by an indissoluble chain of sincere affection. To soothe the unhappy, to
sympathize with their misfortunes, to compassionate their miseries, and to restore peace
to their troubled minds, is the great aim we have in view. On this basis we form our
friendships and establish our connections.
--Illustrations of Masonry, p. 72 William Preston, 1772.
Among Masonic charities and relief efforts in the US are:
As one Shriner put it, "We can't put a price on what we do for these
children so we do it for free!"
For those living in Mexico, the US or Canadian, these hospitals are pretty
well known. What is not always known is that all Shriners are Masons!
There are 22 hospitals throughout the United States: three for treatment of burns and 19
which address crippled children's medical problems.
The first Shriners Hospital opened in Shreveport, Louisiana in 1922 and the first Burns
Institute opened in Galveston, Texas in 1966. To date, the Shriners have spent over $3
billion dollars on hospital operating costs and over $7 million on construction and
The number of children helped to date is nearing 550,000 and all care is free!
The one department which is never found in a Shrine Hospital is a billing department.
Funds for this come from gifts, bequests, income from the endowment fund, hospital
fund-raising events, and the annual hospital assessment paid by every Shriner (of which
there are approximately 600,000).
Football fans also know of the Shrine Hospitals through the Annual East-West Shrine
Football Classic and Pageant which was begun in 1925. During the past ten years, the
game has drawn an average of 70,000 fans, by far the largest attendance of any college
all-star game. Over the years, "Football's Finest Hour" has raised more than $14
million dollars to provide quality medical care free of charge to children of every race
In addition, throughout the United States, there are hundreds of high school
post-season football games also played for the benefit of the Shrine Hospitals. For many
graduating seniors, it is their last competitive football game but the one they'll
remember with the fondest memories, despite the other accolades they may have received
while playing. An essential part of game preparation is a trip to a local Shrine
Children's Hospital so that these athletes will see the children they're helping.
The motto of all Shrine football games is:
"Strong Legs Run That Weak Legs May Walk."
CONTACTING SHRINERS HOSPITALS
If you know of a child who might benefit from care at a Shrine Burns or Crippled
Children's facility, contact ANY Shriner or call one of our toll-free patient referral
lines between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern Time. In the United States: 1-800-237-5055.
In Canada: 1-800-361-7256.
For emergency burn admissions to one of the Shriners Hospitals that treat burns, the
referring physician should telephone the chief of staff at the Shriners Hospital in
Boston, Cincinnati, Galveston, Tex., or Sacramento, California and indicate the patient
needs emergency care. Emergency care is not available at the orthopaedic hospitals.
Non-emergency admissions of burn patients for reconstructive or plastic surgery can be
arranged in the same manner as orthopaedic admissions at the nearest Shriners Hospital for
The Grottoes of North America
The GROTTO is a great fraternal Order with an even greater charitable program. The
organization started as a fun Order in 1892 and although not a Masonic
organization per se, it's membership is strictly and exclusively limited to Master Masons.
Its humanitarian project began in June 1949 when it adopted as its national objective the
cause of Cerebral Palsy and to this day continues support to find a cure for this dread
disease. The Supreme Council has contributed over a half million dollars to the
United Cerebral Research Foundation and these funds are used exclusively for research
In addition, the Grotto sponsors an extensive program of Dentistry for the
The image of a handicapped child evokes immediate sympathy Some of the needs of these
special children are clearly obvious and easily met: wheel chairs, prostheses, and
crutches. Other needs are not as obvious but are just as important. Dental care is one of
these significant but often overlooked necessities for good health that is being provided
by the Masons in the Grottoes of North America.
The Supreme Council, Mystic Order Veiled Prophets of the Enchanted Realm (to use the
Grotto's formal name), saw a need and took the opportunity to meet it. Because of their
handicaps, many children cannot receive traditional dental services; their muscle control
simply will not let them keep their mouths open for a dental exam. Dentists with specific
training are needed to provide this care and it is the goal of the Grottoes of North
America to provide these special services to children who need it.
This dental care is available to any child 18 or younger with cerebral palsy muscular
dystrophy mental retardation, or myasthenia gravis. The dentistry program is administered
locally through a network of volunteer members known as Doctors of Smiles. Applicants must
be sponsored by a local Grotto, though in areas where no Grotto is convenient, parents can
apply directly to the Grottoes' Humanitarian Foundation.
In addition, the Grottoes of North America have two National Regional Treatment
Centers: one at the Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago and the other at the
Medical College of Ohio in Toledo. In either location, the Grottoes can supply the most
advanced dental treatment possible to patients who are severely medically compromised.
Also, dentists who have hospital privileges in their respective communities often utilize
hospital facilities to serve children who would otherwise be untreatable in a regular
office environment .
Whatever the service, the only return on their time and money expected by the Masons in
the Grottoes is intangible - the smile of a child they helped.
32° Masonic Learning Centers for Children
In 1994, the 'brainchild' of a Massachusetts Mason, J. Phillip Berquist,
came to fruition and the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite began its
support of centers to help children with dyslexia. Phil is a Past Grand Master of
Masons in Massachusetts and one of the most active individuals you'll ever find.*
He'll probably order us to remove all references to him when he finds this page but we
feel strongly, that this man, whom we also consider a friend and mentor, should be
recognized for his vision and for his outstanding contribution to Masonic philanthropies.
The program grew 'like topsy' in the Scottish Rite's Northern US Masonic
Jurisdiction. It was also replicated in the Southern US Masonic Jurisdiction of the
Scottish Rite as well. You can read about the NMJ's programs at this site and the SMJ's
here. New centers seem to be opening all the time, thus enhancing this wonderful
program filling a very important need.
Since 1994, many children have received free specialized
instruction at these Scottish Rite Masonic Children's Learning Centers. Scottish
Rite Masons of the US Northern Masonic Jurisdiction have pledged to continue to offer this
service for as many children as they can - free of charge. They also provide guidance and
funding for other means to defeat dyslexia, such as teacher tutor programs, research, and
scholarships for teachers.
This worthwhile program is just another of the many fine charities
sponsored by the Masonic family.
Knight Templar Eye Foundation
As a Knight Templar Mason, one has many opportunities to help others who
are less fortunate. One way is through the Knights Templar Eye Foundation. The Eye
Foundation is a great humanitarian charity whose purpose is to provide research, surgical
treatment and hospitalization to those who suffer from diseases or injury to the eyes.
Cross-eyes, which occurs in children under 16 for example, is one affliction that can lead
to blindness if not treated properly and is just one of the eye afflictions for which the
Foundation provides considerable research and treatment funding.
Since its inception, the Knights Templar Eye Foundation has spent more
than $71 million dollars to help provide medical treatment for those unable to afford it.
Today, over 59,000 people have directly benefited from this financial assistance. And as
always, treatments are provided regardless of race, color, creed, age, or national origin.
Research grants, totaling over $5 million dollars, have been made to
institutions working in the field of Eye Research. Informative films are also available
through local commanderies for presentation to churches, PTA meetings and other interested
organizations. To this end, the Knights Templar, through the efforts of all its members,
is committed to "Helping Others To See."
You can contact the Knights Templar Eye Foundation, Inc. at
5097 North Elston
Avenue, Suite 100
Chicago, IL 60630-2460
Phone: (773) 205-3838
Fax: (773) 205-1689
or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
or you can visit their web site at http://www.knightstemplar.org/ktef/index.php
to read much, much more about this wonderful charity.
Scottish Rite Hospital
In 1913, a friend of Forrest Adair, an Atlanta, Georgia (USA) financier
and Scottish Rite Mason, suffered a dislocated hip in a train accident. Adair engaged
orthopaedic surgeon Michael Hoke, M.D., to care for his friend. Through this connection,
Dr. Hoke and Adair began a long friendship resulting in the involvement of Masons in the
founding of the Scottish Rite Convalescent Hospital for Crippled Children.
That same year, Dr. Hoke treated a college student for a bone infection.
During his treatment, the student stayed with his aunt Mrs. William C.
(Bertie) Wardlaw, Sr., a neighbor and friend of Dr. Hoke. Wishing to express
her appreciation for Dr. Hokes treatment of her nephew, Mrs. Wardlaw asked what she
could do to honor him. He said if she would raise the money for the hospital expenses of
indigent, crippled children, he would volunteer his time to treat those patients.
In 1915, The Scottish Rite Convalescent Hospital for Crippled Children was
founded in Decatur in two rented cottages after funds are raised for the care of needy
children by Mrs. Wardlaw and other philanthropic Atlantans. The facility gave indigent,
crippled children a place to recover after having surgery at Piedmont Hospital and Wesley
Memorial Hospital (now Emory University Hospital). It accommodated 18 patients, 20 in case
of urgency. Michael Hoke, M.D., was named Medical Director.
In 1918, a new 50-bed building was opened in Decatur. The name was changed
to Scottish Rite Hospital for Crippled Children, honoring the Masons who raised money to
build the facility. It is now an orthopaedic surgical hospital for those who cannot afford
to pay for care.
In 1933, Scottish Rite Mason Tom Slate convinced Georgia Tech Athletic
Director Bill Alexander to allow the University of Georgia and Georgia Techs
freshman teams to play on Techs Grant Field free of charge to benefit Scottish Rite.
This begins the Scottish Rite football festival. Over 50 years later, it has evolved into
a year-long series of fund-raising events involving hundreds of volunteers.
Finally, in 1966 the hospital began taking paying patients so that
specialty pediatric care would also be available to those who can pay. Other surgical
specialists joined the orthopaedics on staff as new surgical clinics were added and in
1971, additional services were developed including a Pediatric Continuity Clinic plus
neurology, allergy, and cardiology clinics.
The Scottish Rite Childrens Hospital moved to a new, 50-bed facility
on a seven-acre site in north Atlanta in 1976 and the Intensive Care Unit opened as a
In 1985, the Emergency Department saw 5,000 patients in its first year of
operation and the following year, a Pediatric Pulmonology Program was started. A year
after that, Scottish Rite was one of Georgias first hospitals to receive state
designation as a pediatric trauma center.
In 1989, the name was changed to Scottish Rite Childrens Medical
Center, comprising the Scottish Rite Childrens Medical Center Foundation, the
Meridian Mark Corporation (the holding company for the Childrens Medical Center
Professional Building), and the Wilbur and Hilda Glenn Hospital for Children.
In addition, Scottish Rite was the first childrens hospital to have
national Miracle Children in the Childrens Miracle Network telethon for
two consecutive years.
They also opened The Center for Craniofacial Disorders and started the
Dorsal Rhizotomy Surgery Program and Sleep Disorders Program.
In 1991, Immunize Georgias Little Guys, a state-wide
coalition to increase immunization rates for children age two and under, was launched by
Scottish Rite and in 1992, the Medical Center received Accreditation with Commendation,
the highest rating possible, from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare
Organizations (JCAHO). Fewer than four percent of the hospitals surveyed nationally during
the same period received this honor.
That same year, the Child Advocacy Center, which serves sexually abused
children, opened with funding from the Employee Annual Fund Campaign and the School
Outreach Program starts, reaching over 84,000 children in its first two years.
Statistics from the National Pediatric Trauma Registry show that Scottish
Rite trauma patients are more seriously ill or injured than the national norm but, in the
majority of areas, have superior outcomes.
In 1994, a national study of pediatric intensive care units published by
The Journal of the American Medical Association, patients treated in Scottish Rites
intensive care unit had the best outcomes and the following year Scottish Rite receives
its second consecutive Accreditation with Commendation rating from the Joint Commission on
Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO).
These are just a few of the tremendous accomplishments in the history of
this marvelous medical facility.
For the year ended June, 1997, there were 41 Pediatric Specialties of the Medical Staff
which consisted of 645 Physicians, Surgeons and Dentists. There were 5,350 Volunteers and
2,000 Employees. Emergency Department Visits totaled 67,179 while Patient Visits
(Inpatient and Outpatient) totaled 161,336.
The Medical Center has 165 Inpatient Beds (including 39 ICU Beds) and there were nearly
15,000 surgeries (inpatient and outpatient) performed. With 27 single-specialty outpatient
clinics and 13 multi-specialty clinics for treating complex conditions, Scottish Rite
Children's Medical Center is a facility which truly cares for children!
The care provided is done in facilities specially designed for these young
patients and this hospital is a proud member of the Masonic Charity family. You can find
out more by visiting the Scottish
Rite Children's Medical Center web site where you can also get some great information
about children's health. Visit it now!
The Masonic Service
Association of North America conducts an active Hospital Volunteer Program in more
than 157 Veterans Administration Medical Centers, several state operated Veterans Homes,
and in a number of Military Hospitals in the United States and other countries, using
hundreds of volunteers who contribute more than one quarter million volunteer hours of
service each year. This program is wholly financed by the voluntary contributions of
Masons and Masonic Bodies. More than nine million dollars have been expended in the
operation of this Program since 1946.
"Little things mean a lot": a friendly smile, a warm handclasp,
an embrace and a kind word can do as much for those who are lonely and depressed in a
hospital or a nursing home as all the medicine that the doctors can prescribe.
Particularly for veterans who may be without families, these Hospital Visitors provide a
link with the outside world which is critical. The friendships formed and the appreciation
of those who are hospitalized, sometimes for life, are a wonderful 'paycheck' for the work
done. The Hospital Visitation Program is a vital part of the Fraternity that deserves your
attention and needs your immediate help.
HERE'S HOW TO GET INVOLVED!
If you have time and want to become involved in a program that will give
you a feeling of self-satisfaction and pride, knowing you are helping those who cannot
help themselves, write to us. This program will help to make your life more meaningful!
The Masonic Service Association
8120 Fenton Street
Silver Spring, Maryland 20910-4785
or contact them from their web site above. It's a wonderful program!
The National Masonic Foundation for Children
The National Masonic Foundation For Children is a non-profit, charitable
organization supported by Masonic Grand Lodges and allied Masonic organizations created to
establish programs, particularly "Masonic Model" Student Assistance Training
programs in schools, which will help youth lead productive, useful, and healthy lives.
The Foundation builds on Freemasonry's centuries-old tradition of helping
the most vulnerable in our society. Today, more than ever, children need help in becoming
responsible adults as they face countless challenges: broken homes, patterns of substance
abuse in families, and a complex world with many traditional nurturing institutions
shaken. Freemasons are sensitive to the fundamental belief that children are our future.
We cannot neglect the needs of today's children if we expect them to grow up to be happy,
healthy, productive stewards of our future.
Every year addiction claims younger victims. And there are the tragedies
associated with addiction, such as suicide (a leading cause of death among adolescents),
pregnancy (more than a million teenage girls become pregnant each year), violence,
physical and sexual child abuse, homicide, depression, tragedy on the highways, mental and
physical illness, birth defects, and on and on. Everyone is being called on to help
confront these addiction-associated tragedies and the Foundation is Freemasonry's
contribution to this vital effort. In 1987, the Foundation opened its offices near the
White House in Washington, DC and works through and with individual Grand Lodges to
establish substance abuse programs designed to reach young people. In certain
circumstances, the Foundation also works with state government and education officials,
prevention professionals, health systems, and the general public to help foster addiction
The Foundation's long-term goals involve organizing prevention programs in
all 50 States, and Canada and Europe, and to communicating the success of these programs.
By publicizing the positive results, the Foundation hopes to stimulate further community
The "Masonic Model" Student Assistance Training
programs originated in the early 1980's. "Masonic Model" programs
train a core group of five to seven educators (administrators, teachers, school nurses,
guidance counselors, etc.) from an individual school in how to identify those children
most likely to succumb to addiction and in how to successfully intervene to help these
young people. The intensive training, which usually lasts from three to five days,
involves practice sessions designed to simulate real events, along with presentations on
such subjects as "Characteristics of an Addictive Family, "Pharmacological
Effects of Drugs," "Creating a Crisis Response Team," etc.
Experience with schools with "Masonic Model" trained teams in
place shows that most children who are identified as potentially at-risk, or who are in
the early stages of addiction, can be successfully steered away from the addictive cycle.
The prevention approach works. Freemasons contribute in a number of ways. Grand Lodges may
provide initial organizational and community guidance, or financial support and materials.
Individual Lodges may supply meeting space, help with food or meeting materials, or
volunteer help. In many cases, Lodges have acted as sponsor for a nearby school building
with positive results ultimately extending throughout the entire community. It has been
shown time and again that Freemasons can also provide a positive presence and a motivating
influence on group activities. With Masonic Lodges (over 13,000) located in virtually
every community or region in the United States, Freemasons are uniquely positioned to have
a dramatic impact on improving the lives of our nation's young people.
As a result of its efforts, the Foundation is establishing a national
identification for Freemasonry on the subject of adolescent drug and alcohol abuse. Yet
another example of our 'Caring Concern'.....
Head to the National Masonic Foundation For Children and read more about this
wonderful Masonic charity benefiting all....
Organ Donor Awareness
Hundreds of thousands of people
world-wide await life-saving organs. In the United Sates alone, it is believed that more
than 79,000 seek 'the gift of life' through transplantation of life-saving organs. As most
realize, the need for donated organs and tissue far exceeds the supply and thousands of
people die needlessly each year due to lack of donors.
In Tennessee, one Mason - himself an
organ transplant recipient - has incorporated his personal understanding and charitable
concern into Masonic action! You can read about his efforts and those of his Grand Lodge here.
While neither Brother Jones nor
Freemasonry are alone nor unique in providing their support to this extraordinary need, it
is just another indication of the many, many involvements which reflect the fraternity's
charitable concern. It's obviously impossible to say whether individuals who get involved
in such causes would have done so without the influence of Freemasonry but by being able
to share their enthusiasm and zeal with their Brothers, their efforts are greatly
You can save lives by deciding to be
an organ and tissue donor - whether you're a Mason or not (and even if you don't like
Masons!). It's something you should seriously consider.
Child ID Program
Here in Nevada, you can find out details by visiting this