News and Updates from Washington Masonic Charities - "Investing in youth and education, providing comfort and support for seniors and those in need, and preserving and sharing the Masonic heritage of Washington State."

Monthly News & Updates for 
October 2015
Please enjoy the WA Masonic Charities October newsletter - if you're a Lodge or Grand Lodge leader, please forward it to your Lodge email distribution lists.

Hot Links!

I recently had the opportunity to attend the jointly held Masonic Library & Museum Association Meeting and Masonic Services Association Quarry Project II in Indianapolis, Indiana.  What a privilege it was to be able to visit Brothers in such far places and be able to strike up conversations as if we've known each other for years - this is one of the magic bonds of the Fraternity.  The focus of this meeting was to learn from each other about effective ways to preserve and share our Masonic Heritage

Sometimes we don't appreciate what we have until it is gone.  A story later in this newsletter reflects some of the issues Freemasons are facing in Europe as they attempt to regain their history, documents and objects that were stolen during World War II.

We have the honor of having a very fine Masonic Library & Museum right here in Washington. This is a resource that is available for both Freemasons and the public to learn about Masonic history and values, and hopefully understand more fully how Freemasonry influenced both the development and history of our nation.  Our hope is that people will use it.  If you can't visit, we have a "virtual" access point as well at

Please visit - if you would like to arrange a time to explore the library & museum, one of our volunteers will be happy to accommodate you.  Call  (253) 625-7895 for more information.
 - Bro. Ken Gibson, MNPL, Executive Director
VolunteerCharity Spotlight

Auburn High School Transition Assistance Program
Brother Kyle Grafstrom (Verity Lodge #59, Kent) has one of the most interesting and possibly rewarding jobs anyone could have.  He is lucky enough to be a teacher  for the Auburn High School Transition Assistance Program (TAP). 

The instructors of TAP work with young people with disabilities to help them make the transition from high school to independent living.  They work with the young people to develop practical day to day living skills and to learn ways of being as independent as possible.  This is an extremely important and valuable program.

Washington Masonic Charities has provided charitable support for this program by funding iPad tablets for participating students.  These iPads help students to learn, to plan, and to find information.  Recently, theyused the iPads to help plan a trip to Seattle to obtain ORCA transit passes.  They were able to look up and learn about bus routes, to check the weather, and to find their way around the busy streets.  They also used them as part of a trip to the Western Washington Fair.   To follow the TAP program, "like" them on Facebook.
Scholarship2 015-16 Scholarship Program Underway.

Have you or your lodge received the 2015-16 Scholarship Packet?  This scholarship program helps young people get off to a good start with their college or vocational school career. We need most for Lodges to be getting these applications out into the schools and making sure that students are aware of the opportunity.  If you have questions, please contact Darrick at  You can visit our Scholarships Program web page by clicking here. 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

ChildrenChildren's Programs 
Washington Safety & ID Program
The safety and well-being of our most vulnerable populations is an important priority of WA Masonic Charities.  The WA Safety & ID Program (formerly CHIPs) is a program geared toward providing information and resources for parents, children, and seniors on various safety topics.  In addition, we provide the traditional identification kit service.  These kits are important and have been proven useful for emergency personnel when locating missing children, seniors, and vulnerable adults.

All WASIP/CHIPS equipment and events in the Washington Jurisdiction are WA Masonic Charities programs. It is important for lodges or groups conducting this program to provide their information to the Program Committee Chariman, Dennis Withers, and to make sure that their events are registered on the WASIP website.

Children's Safety
To set up an event, please contact our Children's Programs Chairman, Dennis Withers, for more information.  He can be reached by email at
or (425) 359-8131.
Model Student Assistance & Safe Schools Program
Washington Masonic Charities, offers (at no cost), a response to intervention and anti-bullying training program for interested  public schools and school districts.  We work to bring in trainers from Newman-Stecher, who work under the auspices of the National Masonic Foundation for Children, to provide the program and training.  It is in many states nation-wide, and we piloted it in North Thurston School District last year with great feedback from the participants.
The program is provided at no cost to the schools.  All that the schools/districts need to do is to encourage educators and staff to show up.  We arrange for the location, meals, and have worked with Pierce College to obtain clock hours or CEUs if the participant needs it.  If during the school year we can discuss mitigating the cost of substitutes for classroom teachers who are participating.  Our goal is to make it easy to say yes!
Our program will serve a minimum of 20 educators, but can provide training for up to 80 people - the training is two days for the Model Student Assistance Program, or three days with Safe Schools added on.  We encourage the combined three day program.
There is no catch and nothing expected in return. Please call Ken Gibson for more information at (844) 288-3531 toll free.  Below are links to additional information as well.

MOS Masonic Outreach Services 
Getting Out into the Community
We are excited to share with you a change within the Masonic Outreach Services program.  We have divided the state into geographic regions and have assigned case managers to each region.  This change will bring our case managers closer to the community.  Their new responsibilities are to develop and maintain positive relationships with senior providers and the Masonic Family within their region.  In addition, they will be available to assist people in rural parts of our state to identify and utilize resources to enhance opportunities to age in place.  

We believe that having staff focus on a specific region will strengthen our understanding of each community's needs.

Masonic Outreach Services Can Help Lodges Help Brothers & Widows
Many of our aging brothers and widows are able to stay at home with a little extra help. Sometimes a simple thing like the installation of a grab bar in the bathroom, a ramp outside, or even just the cleaning of gutters or maintenance of the yard can make a big difference.

Masonic Outreach Services can assist Lodges that are helping to keep brothers or widows safe, comfortable, and at home.   We are able to help with the costs of materials or supplies that might be needed for the installation of things like grab bars or ramps, or supplies used for maintaining the home or yard.  If your lodge can bring the manpower to the table, but needs help with covering the costs, please contact Byron Cregeur, Program Director at 1-844-288-3531 x 404 or to discuss your needs.

WA Masonic Charities Partners with Rebuilding Together, South Puget Sound.

Only a few short weeks until the 2015 Rampathon gets under way in Pierce County.  On Saturday, October 24th a small group of Masons will converge in South Puget Sound to build a ramp for a low-income senior home owner.  This ramp will be one of five that will be built in partnership with a local non-profit organization,
Rebuilding Together South Sound.

Washington Masonic Charities is proud to be the lead sponsor of this event because we support aging in place and helping those in need.  Building ramps that help seniors maintain their independence and to live in them more safely improves the quality of their life.  Here are reported benefits ramps provide seniors: 
  • More trips to get medical care such as doctor's visits and treatments. 
  • Increased mobility and more choice of daily activities.
  • Accessing social service programs.
  • Supporting their desire to age in place and stay in their own communities rather than having to make a decision of moving into costly assisted living facilities. 
  • Ramps are crucial in the case of emergencies so elderly and emergency first-responders are able to enter and exit the home quickly and safely.
To learn more about Rebuilding Together South Sound, click here. Their mission is to bring volunteers and communities together to improve the homes and lives of low-income homeowners.

The October 24th Rampathon will include an on-site supervisor, food, drinks, and a T-shirt. 
If you would like to help build a ramp, call Byron Cregeur at 253-442-2505 x 404 or send him an email.
ClientSuccessClient Success Story!
Sometimes it is the small wins that can make a big difference in someone's life.  Frank is one of Masonic Outreach Services recent successes. He approached our Outreach staff looking for help, because he was isolated, having difficulty finding places in town, and feeling overwhelmed with medical paperwork and appointments.  He needed to figure some things out and needed someone to help him walk through it.  Masonic Outreach was there for him.

During the course of visits over several days, Frank and Outreach staff worked together to identify his core needs and to both empower him as well as assist where necessary.  Staff worked with him to made a series of phone calls to navigate the medical system and to assist with setting up medical appointments.  Staff also worked with Frank to plan his visits to medical providers and printed out maps to help him find his way. A major issue for Frank was not having a telephone to communicate to the outside world. Our staff worked with Frank to obtain a landline telephone, by helping him to research residential phone companies and plans. The goal was to help him be able to communicate independently. Within a week his residential line was installed and he felt less isolated from the world.    Frank stated, "I feel such relief and happy to have someone support me with all this stuff."

Frank's story is an example of how a little assistance can help someone gain confidence and maintain their independence.  Our goal is to support seniors to remain independent for as long as they can, safely and with dignity.
Helge Bjorn Horrisland, Grand Historian Norwegian Order of Freemasons
LibraryRecovering Masonic History
What if the history of Masonic lodges in Washington were suddenly erased?  Would it matter?  Who would be affected?  What would it mean to the Fraternity?

This is precicely what happened in Europe during World War II.

Bro. Helge Bjorn Horrisland, Grand Historian of the  Norwegian Order of Freemasons presented a compelling narrative of efforts to relocate books, documents, and objects stolen by the Nazis during World War II.  He was a keynote speaker at the recent Masonic Society Quarry Project, held in conjunction with the Masonic Library & Museum Association meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Horrisland painted a grim picture of both the persecution of Freemasons and the systematic purging of Masonic heritage throughout Europe during the war.  He noted that Hitler described three enemies of National Socialism - Marxists, Jews, and Freemasons.  The Nazis systematically scoured occupied territories for the objects and documents, collected them, stored them, and conducted research on the publications, documents, and objects, which were kept in a central location.  As the violence of the war closed in the Masonic belongings (of which there were massive amounts) were eventually moved into three separate castles in the east for protection, ultimately to be further removed by the Poles and Soviets.  Horrisland has been tracking down these items for years, and has successfully negotiated the return of roughly 1,200 important books and documents to the   Norwegian  Grand Lodge from Poland, and continues working his way through the bureaucracy of the Russian successor government to the Soviets.

His keynote presentation heightened the importance of the need to take care of books, document, and objects, not only at the Grand Lodge level, but in the local lodges as well.

The Washington Masonic Library & Museum is here to help preserve and share the Masonic heritage of Washington.  This presentation highlighted the importance of making sure that all of our Masonic books, documents, and objects are well kept and well preserved.
Library & Museum Hours
We are open Mon-Wed from 9 AM - Noon and the 2nd and 3rd Saturdays from 9 AM-2 PM.  We're also open by appointment.

Volunteers Needed!
Are you interested in the history or Freemasonry or Masonic education?  The WA State Masonic Library & Museum is looking for volunteers who can assist with the books, archive, and object collections.  We are looking for photographers and people who are interested and willing to use their computer skills to help catalog and document the collection. We are also looking for individuals who are willing to work a four hour shift once a week to help us open and host the Library & Museum additional hours during the week.  If you are interested, please contact Library & Museum Committee Chairman, Todd Johnstone at (253) 625-7895 for more information.
Washington Masonic Charities is available to partner with your lodge to serve as a fiscal sponsor for work that fits within our mission and charitable purpose.Youth education programs, Bikes for Books, WA Safety ID Program (formerly CHIPS).  

A fiscal sponsorship agreement is a great way for lodges and Masonic organizations to focus on the charitable work without the worry of accounting systems, auditing, and need to manage charitable donations according to IRS rules and regulations.  WA Masonic Charities takes on the fiduciary and technical responsibility, while the work of the lodge charitable program covered by the agreement is conducted day to day by members of the lodge.  We work individually with lodges to assure that programs operate and meet charitable purposes under the IRS, that information is shared, and that proper accounting and recognition of funds occurs.

To learn more, lodge officers interested in fiscal sponsorship may contact Ken Gibson at (844) 288-3531 or by sending email
Charity - Our M ost Important Virtue

If you would like to support WA Masonic Charities you may also send a check to:
Washington Masonic Charities
4970 Bridgeport Way W
University Place, WA 98467
Attn: Ken Gibson

| Washington Masonic Charities| (844) 288-3531 | |