were threatened by teacher shortages, the fraternity led the
first Public Schools Week to find a solution. In the decades
since, we have found new ways to champion public education, directly supporting teachers and delivering programs like
Raising A Reader to improve literacy and family engagement.
Through the Investment in Success scholarship, we recognize
the potential of students who have succeeded at school despite
immense financial and social challenges. These young men and
women have fought tirelessly for the chance to attend college;
our support makes it possible.
That’s just the beginning. Today, California Masons provide
funding for hundreds of nurses to gain their oncology certification, helping them deliver comfort to thousands of individuals
battling cancer. Every summer through Masons4Mitts, we give
thousands of at-risk boys and girls their very own baseball glove,
a gift that will help them build teamwork, confidence, and character through the Junior Giants baseball program.
In the words of Stephen Trachtenberg, a Mason and president
emeritus of the George Washington University, “Freemasonry
embodies the awareness that Americans share a profound obligation to each other and to their society.” Every day, whether
at the lodge level or through generous donations to the Annual
Fund, California Masons work to fulfill that obligation. It’s an
individual responsibility. It’s a global legacy. It’s Masonry’s great
aim, a call answered by every brother who truly commits himself to truth, relief, and brotherly love.
Perhaps Brother John Day said it best: “Freemasonry is not
about charity. Freemasonry is about awakening the charitable
instinct within us.”
This instinct has been carried on by every generation of
California Masons. Charity is embedded in our values and his-
tory in this state; it is part of our very identity. And it must
continue to be. It is up to each of us to carry it forward.
He spent weeks loading and unloading
wagons of supplies, then months volunteering at shelters and food lines. He and his
fellow Masons served every man, woman,
and child that they met, regardless of their
“The fraternity and sister organizations
issued orders that I should relieve the distressed,” reported Flint, “be they Masons
One of the defining characteristics of
Masonic charity in this state has been its
adaptability. As the needs of the fraternity
and the community have evolved over the
years, California Masonic charities have
evolved with them.
In 1896, the Masons of California built
the Masonic Home at Union City to shelter
widows and orphans. In the century since,
to meet the changing needs of fraternal
families, California Masons have developed Masonic Family Outreach Services,
Masonic Senior Outreach Services, and the
Masonic Center for Youth and Families.
Our charitable work has often turned
outward to the community. (Today, more
than half of Masonic philanthropy is
directly spent on the American public.)
In 1920, when California’s public schools