BENEVOLENT FUND BOARD OF TRUSTEES
The Benevolent Fund of this Grand Lodge was founded in 1923 to supplement the benevolent work of the constituent lodges, especially in cases where assistance was required beyond the financial capacity of the lodges. It was created to further enlarge the noble and beautiful practice of benevolence so that relief could be supplied to as many of the needy and worthy cases as possible.
The original capital of the fund was based on the then existing charity fund of about $97,000. Over the years this amount has been augmented by donations, bequests, by contributions from the General Funds of Grand Lodge, by re-investment of securities, and in a large measure by the voluntary contributions of the members of the jurisdiction. This financing has had the result of increasing the capital account until at this writing it stands at approximately $2,000,000.
These funds, invested under the supervision of the Grand Lodge Finance Committee, are wholly contained in the highest grade of securities obtainable.
The regulations governing the fund provide that no portion of the capital in excess of $5,000 in any one year can be expended unless by a resolution properly introduced and approved by Grand Lodge and then only after the proposal has been reviewed and reported upon by the Grand Lodge Committee on Finance. The regulations also provide that only the revenue or income from the capital account can be used for benevolent purposes. This revenue is administered by a Board of Trustees, five in number, appointed by the Grand Master, each holding office for five years with one appointment each year.
It is the duty of this Board of Trustees to direct the general policy respecting the distribution of benevolence, to investigate all applications for assistance and to determine the amounts of relief to be granted. The business of the board is conducted in the most efficient and economical manner possible. Its members give their services voluntarily and all the costs of administration, bookkeeping, stationery, postage, etc., are provided by Grand Lodge. Practically every dollar of revenue is directed for the use of the board.
Any member in good standing in this jurisdiction and the widow, orphans or dependents of a deceased member, who at the time of his death, was in good standing in this jurisdiction, is eligible for assistance.
All applications for relief are made through the lodges of which the applicants are members. All applications from widows, orphans or dependents are made in the same manner.
The purpose of the fund is to assist the lodges to provide for the care of permanent cases of relief. The fund was never intended to supersede the benevolent work of the lodge, but to assist where a lodge is unable to sufficiently supply the needs of any of their members or dependents.
The demands upon the resources of the fund are never ceasing and as time advances it is almost certain that such growth will be paralleled by an increase not only in the requirements for relief, but in the amounts of financial support which the trustees are authorized to give to the Masonic Bursary Fund.
Therefore, it is imperative that the increase in the capital account of the fund be consistently maintained in order that there will always be a sufficient supply of income or revenue available for distribution.
The voluntary contributions solicited from all members have become the principal source of increment for the capital account and it is therefore particularly suggested that all members should avail themselves of the privilege of giving what their circumstances in life may fairly warrant.
It is desired that all gifts to this fund be free and voluntary, (as all benevolent work should be) and you may contribute or not as you choose, but it is confidently hoped that you can be depended upon to heed this appeal. Your money will be put to work and the income will be used to assist the unfortunate brother, the widow, or the orphan.
The secretary of your lodge will accept your contribution and give you a receipt, and it should and no doubt will be a source of gratitude and pride to you to know that you are joining with many other brethren in giving a practical demonstration of your attachment to the principles of our institution, one of the chief of which is charity.
Your contribution can be in any amount, but it is expected that it be not less than $100.
Benevolence is not in word and in tongue, but in deed and in truth: He that does good to another does good to himself. Every virtue carries with it its own reward, but none in so distinct and eminent a degree as benevolence.
The Board of Trustees of The Benevolent Fund of Grand Lodge.
Text reprinted from a brochure published in 1961, updated in 2011. Also see 1930 brochure.