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THE MASONIC WIDOWS AND ORPHANS FUND OF TENNESSEE

 

AKA MASONIC BENEVOLENCE FUND

GOALS and OBJECTIVES

To HELP, AID and ASSIST within the length of our cable tow, provide for the necessities of worthy Master Masons, their wives, widows, and orphans is one of the most sacred obligations resting on every Lodge and upon every Master Mason worthy of the title which has been conferred upon him.

HISTORY

On August 11, 1886, as a private enterprise, a Charter of Corporation was issued, known as the Masonic Widows and Orphans' Home Fund. The home was designed to offer refuge to Masonic Widows and their children. The cost of construction of this housing building was $30,000.00. In 1992, this home, located on 220 acres outside of Nashville, was completed and opened for habitation. A school was also established to enable the children to receive a proper education. Five years later, the Grand Lodge assumed ownership and control of the Home. To pay for the upkeep, they increased the per-capita tax to $1, of which 50 cents was assigned to the Home, and from then the Home grew and prospered. In 1913, the building was named “The Old Masons' Home”.

The home continued to operate with a capacity of 400 residents until the early 1930's when applicants were given a choice of entering the home or remaining in their own area and receiving financial aid. In the 1940's the State of Tennessee purchased the Old Masons' Home from the Grand Lodge. Today, the Masonic Widows and Orphans Fund and the Board of Control is provides two benefits:
1) A supplemental income for those worthy distressed brother Master Masons, their wives, widows and orphans, and 2) a financial aid for education.

ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE

The Grand Lodge has exclusive ownership and control over the Masonic Benevolent Fund. It is represented in its management and supervision by a Board of Control of ten members. It consists of four Trustees: the Most Worshipful Grand Master, the Deputy Grand Master, the Senior Grand Warden, and the Junior Grand Warden. The six other members are Master Masons selected by the Grand Master from Tennessee Lodges. During his selection of members to the Board, the Grand Master chooses two Master Masons from each Division: 2 from East Tennessee, two from Central Tennessee, and two from West Tennessee – all appointed to a term 6-year term. This includes one brother to serve the Board as Chairman of the Board of Control and one brother to serve as its /Treasurer/Secretary; he is the Board’s only compensated employee. Currently, Brother Don Y. Woody if filling in that capacity.

To provide financial educational aid to the children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews of Masons in good standing, the Educational Fund was established.

To secure the administration and permanent endowment of the Masonic Widows and Orphans Fund of Tennessee, the Endowment Fund was created. Its function is to act as oversight over all of the finances of the Widows and Orphans' Fund and the Educational Fund. Money placed into this fund cannot be withdrawn; only the interest derived from the principle can be used for assistance. The only source of income is from the Endowment. No monies from the general budget of the Grand Lodge are used for this fund.

QUALIFICATION FOR BENEFITS

To be eligible for assistance from the Widows and Orphans' Fund, the applicant must be unable to earn a living. In addition, the Lodge of the member of good standing MUST exhaust all of its possible means to aid the distressed brother of his family

REQUIREMENTS

A) The applicant must have been raised in a recognized Tennessee Lodge and has been continuously thereafter been a Mason in good standing.


B) A Master Mason raised in a chartered Lodge in Tennessee whose membership was interrupted, but upon re-instatement to the Order, maintained his membership uninterrupted for a period of five (5) years and considered a Mason in good standing.


C) A Master Mason who was raised in another jurisdiction, but who has been a Mason in good standing in a duly constitutional Tennessee Lodge for a period of five (5) continuous years.


D) A worthy wife, widow, mother, or mother of a child of a Master Mason in good standing as outlined above.


E) Any unmarried daughter of a Master Mason in good standing – regardless of the age - who, because of a physical or mental disability, is unable of earning a living.


F) A son of a Master Mason in good standing who became mentally or physically disabled prior to his twenty-fifth birthday to the extent that he is incapable of earning a livelihood.

Once the needs of an applicant has been addressed by the Lodge and deemed too great for the Lodge to bear, the Lodge Secretary files an application on behalf of the distressed to the Secretary/Treasurer of the Board of Control (Jim Hurt).

The Board reserves the right to approve or reject any application. If approved, the qualifying member may receive financial assistance in the amount of $300.00 per month.

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To apply for educational assistance, the children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews of a Master Mason in good standing may submit their financial scholastic needs to the Educational Committee for consideration. These applicants must be without monetary means for attending college, technical or vocational school AND in the opinion of the Committee, have scholastic records justifying the request. The total amount awarded to each recipient and the length of time that the recipient will receive the financial aid will be determined by both the Educational Committee AND based on the total amount of money allotted to the Educational Fund for that year.

FUNDING

There are numerous ways that the Widows and Orphans Fund is financed:
Through cash contributions, memorial contributions in memory of a loved one, a living tribute to an organization or to someone who has not yet passed away to commemorate a special occasion or pay honor to, life insurance policy naming the Fund as the beneficiary, or bequests by naming the Fund as a beneficiary, through contributions to the United Way, specifying the Fund as the recipient, or from the proceeds of the Masonic License plates.

As of March 31, 2009, the Fund has a total of 181 recipients on its rolls. Of these, there are 22 Masons, 16 wives, 114 widows, 6 boys, 5 girls, 5 aged daughters, two mothers of Master Masons, and 2 students receiving educational aid.

The Masonic Widows' and Orphans' Home Fund is a very worthwhile part of our Masonic History. Thousands of our Masonic family have felt the brotherly hand of assistance since its inception. It is a living testament of our commitment to Charity, Brotherly Love and Relief.

Masonic Widows and Orphans Fund of Tennessee
Aka: Masonic Benevolence Fund
100 7th Ave N. Suite 1
Nashville, TN 37203
Contact the Secretary: Click Here