Serving All of Washington
Monthly News & Updates for
Please enjoy the WA Masonic Charities February newsletter - if you're a Lodge or Grand Lodge leader, we are counting on you to forward this to your Lodge email distribution lists!
In this Issue
Masonic Outreach Services Presents...
Education Outreach Program a Success!
Masonic Outreach Services staff worked in partnership with staff of the Washington State's Attorney General's Office and Kitsap County's Office of Aging & Long Term Care to present a pair of informative talks on important issues facing older adults. The talk, which occurred at the District 3 & 12 Lodge Officer's Association Meeting on January 30th was well received, and we are looking forward to providing more in the future.
Eric Moss of the Consumer Protection section of the WA Attorney General's office helped attendees learn about scams designed to prey on older adults and ways to protect against them. This talk focused on
common tactics scammers use such as fear, guilt, and a promise of receiving something special.
Jennifer Calvin-Myers with Kitsap County's Aging and Long Term Care office presented on resources to help maintain independent living for older adults in their home.
Calvin-Myers walked attendees through the continuum of increased needs typically experienced by older adults to help learn what community resources address those needs.
If you are interested in this kind of information or presentation for your Lodge, District, or Lodge Officer's Association, contact Masonic Outreach Services Director, Byron Cregeur at (844) 288-3531 X 404 toll free or
Just a few years ago the leadership of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Washington made a commitment to improve its charitable activity in the Jurisdiction. Part of this commitment included consolidating Masonic Outreach Services, Children's Programs and Scholarships, and the Washington Masonic Library and Museum under one single 501 (C) 3 nonprofit corporation. This was a big change, but it was also the right change.
Over the past twenty five years the expectations of agencies responsible for oversight of nonprofit work have increased, and like any other business, nonprofits have benefited from active and skilled management. Nonprofits are expected to be more business-like, fiscally responsible, and to maintain a clear strategic direction to assure that the donor dollars are used effectively. The Grand Lodge leadership recognized that it was time to change for the better.
It was an enormous leap of faith on the part of the WAMC Board of Trustees and the Jurisdiction to rethink its charitable work and take the steps to bring in skill and experience in the field. This decision is beginning to bear fruit. After doing the heavy lifting of building the infrastructure, and bringing on staff, we are beginning to make positive progress.
Masonic Outreach Services has had an active and visible presence in both Western and Eastern Washington for nearly a year, and staff are serving more than 30 new clients each month. Children's Programs and Public Schools Outreach are getting a big boost, and we are beginning to address identified community needs while aligning this work with Masonic values. New ways of preserving and sharing our Masonic heritage not only within the Fraternity, but in the public are beginning to take shape through the Library and Museum, and we are beginning to revive satellite libraries.
Washington Masonic Charities is, and will always be, strongly connected to the Grand Lodge for the benefit of Masons, including those who are in distress, widows, and orphans. As a public charitable organization, we are also here to serve our fellow man. We will be here to do our part to assure that our children are safe and that our least advantaged have the opportunity to become educated, capable adults of good character. We will continue to assure that our older adults have their needs met, so they can live their lives with meaning and dignity. We will help to assure that our Masonic heritage is preserved and known for generations to come. Washington Masonic Charities will always take its cues from our Masonic values and the Fraternity.
It is important to remember that the Grand Lodge is ultimately constituted by the current and past leadership of every Masonic Lodge in our Grand Jurisdiction, and, because of this, I believe that it is important to listen to, and be responsive to, the ideas and concerns of the Brethren. I invite anyone who has any ideas, concerns, or wants more information about Washington Masonic Charities to please call me directly at (253) 442-2525 or send me an email at
You have my solemn pledge that the work of Washington Masonic Charities, in partnership and collaboration with the Brethren, will reflect favorably on Freemasonry across the Grand Jurisdiction.
- Br. Ken Gibson, MNPL, Executive Director
Children's Programs - Youth Success
Imagine the challenge of succeeding in school if you were homeless, or had no parents or guardian. Would you be able to focus on schoolwork? Perhaps your only meal was the free hot lunch offered between classes that day. Imagine the shame and embarrassment that you would experience knowing the clothes on your back are all you have. Picture in your mind's eye what it would feel like when the other kids go on a field trip, you stay behind, because you don't have the few dollars you need to participate. Today this goes on in 86% of our school districts across the state. Now imagine if you could do something small to help that kid, would you?
The Issue of Homeless and Foster Children in Washington
The problems faced by unaccompanied homeless children and foster children is sizable in our Jurisdiction. Today's foster children and homeless unaccompanied minors (youth who are homeless and without parents or guardians, or who are awaiting foster placements), are what, only a few decades ago, we used to refer to as
orphans. There are nearly 9,000 foster children and almost 5,000 homeless unaccompanied children in our state. There are more than 32,000 homeless children overall enrolled today in our public schools. They are in 255 of our state's 295 school districts. This is an astonishing increase of more than 40% over 2008. Less than 10% (24 of 295) of school districts receive funding from a competitive Federal grant, yet all school districts are required by the Federal McKinney-Vento act to address the needs of these kids to make sure they get an education.
How Well Do These Kids Do in School?
Less than 50% of the kids who are homeless or in foster care are meeting the standards in reading, math, and science. Worse, less than 50% of these children are graduating from school. They face instability, their basic needs aren't being met, and they don't have strong supports or adult role models. These kids are more likely to end up crossing paths with the criminal justice system. They aren't ready to learn, because they are simply trying to survive.
What are the Needs?
In discussions with both the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and local school district homeless youth liaisons, we have identified several areas needing support. These include food and nutrition (especially during non-school times), shelter, clothing, backpacks and supplies. These kids need mentoring, safe places to do homework after school, and assistance with college and financial aid applications. Foster children are also often cut off from services and supports at the age of 18, which makes the college or vocational school transition extremely difficult.
We are in the phase of identifying ways we can engage to provide support. Our criteria includes minimal duplication of effort, avoiding competition with other ongoing efforts, and addressing important, but unmet needs. Our goal is to find ways to effectively partner and collaborate with schools, agencies, community organizations, and our local Lodges to bring relief to these kids.
Why this Focus?
Freemasonry has a long and rich history of addressing the most basic needs of individuals who are in difficult situations or cannot help themselves. Freemasonry also has a long history of placing an emphasis on education and learning as a foundation for the building of good citizens and people of good character. In short, supporting our least advantaged young people is not only a good thing to do, it fits within the long tradition of Masonic values and Masonic Charity.
This is an area where our Fraternity can have an important and meaningful impact in the lives of many, many kids for a long time to come.
Our next steps are to identify specific opportunities that we can engage to provide assistance. This is an evolving effort, so stay tuned for future newsletters to learn more about where we are headed and ways individuals and Lodges can participate.
Just a reminder that Washington Masonic Charities scholarship forms are to be turned in to high school counseling offices one month from tomorrow. It is then the responsibility of each local Lodge to make contact with their respective high schools, collect them, and then choose the top applicants to send on to you. A rubric in which to score applications was sent out this past Fall, but if lodges wish to use their own methods to choose their applicants, that is fine too.
Please note that our scholarship application was posted on a statewide scholarship database that is open to all Washington students. It is possible that a student has applied for the scholarship even if the local Lodge didn't forward the blank applications directly on to their local school. As in years past, the instructions on the application direct students to return completed applications to their counseling office. Please have every lodge in your district contact their local high schools at the beginning of March to see if any applications were turned in so every applicant has the opportunity to be considered for this scholarship.
Thank you very much brothers for your assistance in this valuable program!
- WB Darrick Hayman, Public Schools Outreach Committee Chairman
If you have questions, please contact WB Darrick Hayman at
If your Lodge is interested in partnering with WA Masonic Charities on your Lodge scholarship program via Fiscal Sponsorship, please contact Ken Gibson at (844) 288-3531 or
click here to send an email
Masonic Outreach Services
Our goal is to help older Masons and their widows to be able to live their lives with meaning and dignity. Our case management staff are trained and available to assist, whether it is to help plan for the future, to address an urgent need.. We help individuals and families directly, but can also assist Masonic Lodges to develop plans and programs for staying connected with their older Brethren and widows to make sure that they have the resources and information they need.
Services Provided for Older Adults & Their Families
- Education Outreach Programs & Talks
- Information & Referral
- Financial Stabilization Planning
- Light Home Modification Coordination & Assistance
- Case Management
- Care Transition Planning & Assistance - both from skilled care to home, and from home to skilled care
- Ongoing Monitoring & Home or Facility Visits
Lodge leaders who are interested in collaborating with Masonic Outreach Services for training, or to develop ongoing programs and methods to support their older Brethren and widows may contact us below and we will work directly with you.
Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (844) 288-3531 x 404 and we'll get you an answer to your questions, schedule a talk or training, or provide other assistance as needed.
Library & Museum Update
The Library & Museum is alive and active with many volunteers helping with curatorial and research activities.
We are looking for individuals who are willing to commit to a few hours of volunteer time to help us open the doors for longer hours. Being a Mason is not a requirement to volunteer, and ladies are more than welcome. Volunteering with the Library & Museum is a great way to contribute to keeping the Fraternity's heritage alive and visible, and it's also an opportunity to get out and be with a very friendly group of volunteers.
The Washington Masonic Library & Museum is open Mon-Wed from 9 AM - Noon, and by appointment.
Please call Library & Museum Committee Chairman, Todd Johnstone at
(253) 625-7895 for more information.
Where there is a Will, there is a Way
According to Forbes Magazine, more than half the people between 55 and 64 years old do not have a will.
The process of probate is time-consuming and expensive, and for these individuals, there is no guarantee as to how their assets will be distributed.
Depending on the amount and nature of their assets, the government may not only have a say about what happens with them, but may also take a giant bite out of them in taxes.
Working with an estate planning attorney to set up a basic will is not as painful as it may sound, and the benefits are significant. People with wills very often save their families both money and heartache by planning in advance. People with wills also have more opportunities to direct their final assets toward the things that matter to them personally - they can take care of their loved-ones and give to causes that are important to them, and reflect their values, rather than letting the government make the decision for them.
If you are thinking about a will or would like more information, WA Masonic Charities can help you to learn where to find estate planning attorneys who can help.