The Masonic Widows and Orphans Fund of Tennessee
aka Masonic Benevolence Fund
GOALS & OBJECTIVES
To HELP, AID and ASSIST within the length of our cable tow, to provide for the necessities of worthy Master Masons, their wives and children, widows and orphans is the most sacred obligation resting on every Lodge and upon every Master Mason worthy of the title which has been conferred upon him.
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 1892, this home, located on 220 acres outside of Nashville, was completed and opened for habitation. A school was also established to enable the children living at the home 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, most chose to stay in their home area.This caused the home to become unfeasible to maintain and in the 1940's the Home was closed and the State of Tennessee purchased the Old Masons' Home from the Grand Lodge.
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: East Tennessee, Central Tennessee, and West Tennessee all appointed to a 6-year term. One brother is appointed to serve as the Chairman of the Board. The Board of Control appoints one brother to serve as its /Treasurer/Secretary; he is the Board's only compensated employee. Currently, Brother Keith E. Walker, PM Hendersonville #359 is serving in that capacity.
Endowment Fund Commission
The Endowment Fund Commission, whose sole duty is to secure and administer the Endowment Fund of the Masonic Widows and Orphans Fund, consists of three members. All must be Master Masons and members of a Tennessee Lodge. They serve a three year term and one member is elected by the Grand Lodge annually.
QUALIFICATION FOR BENEFITS
To be eligible for assistance from the Widows and Orphans' Fund, the applicant must be unable to earn a living or have an income that does not meet their basic necessities.
- The applicant must have been raised in a recognized Tennessee Lodge and has been continuously thereafter been a Mason in good standing.
- 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.
- 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.
- A worthy wife, widow, mother, or mother of a child of a Master Mason in good standing as outlined above.
- Any unmarried daughter of a Master Mason in good standing â€“ regardless of the age - who, because of a physical or mental disability, is unable of earning a living.
- 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 their 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.
If approved, the qualifying member may receive financial assistance on a one timeâ€śimmediate reliefâ€ť basis or qualify for extended monthly assistance. The Board reserves the right to approve or reject any application.
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 Board of Control and based on the total amount of money allotted to the Educational Fund for that year.
The Masonic Widows and Orphans Home of Tennessee Fund is a 501c3 charity. All donations are fully deductible in accordance to your tax situation.
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 or to honor an organization or person, to commemorate a special occasion, life insurance policy naming the Fund as the beneficiary, or will and estate 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 plate program. Each donation will remain anonymous unless other wise indicated.
The Masonic Widows' and Orphans' Home Fund is a very worthwhile part of our Masonic History. Thousands of our Masonic families have felt the brotherly hand of assistance since its inception. It is a living testament of our commitment to Charity, Brotherly Love and Relief.
If you would like to make a donation or need more information, please contact the Secretary.
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