Together we make a profound difference

Leading by giving

Talk to members about Let’s Write the Future

Your September checklist

For your Trestleboard

Find it on

Question of the month


Printable Version


Leading by giving

When San Diego kids return to school this fall, parents might include San Diego Lodge No. 35 in their thanks. Back in the ramshackle days of the 1850s, it was a lodge brother (and local sheriff) who offered his home as the first ad hoc classroom for the county’s children. A few years later, as the story goes, a wife of the lodge insisted that the Masons do more – and they subsequently led efforts to build a dedicated schoolhouse and hire San Diego County’s first public school teacher.

The one-room Mason Street School still stands in San Diego’s Old Town. And San Diego Lodge still maintains the attitude that it can, and must, find ways to go above and beyond.

Master Jay Sener explains.

Pace Setter Lodge

  • Our lodge pledged $100,000 to be paid over the next five years to the California Masonic Foundation’s Let’s Write the Future campaign.
  • When we learned about the campaign’s goals, and that the fraternity needed us to step up and make a significant gift, we basically said: “Yes, we’ll figure it out.”
  • Our state needs Raising A Reader so children can learn to read, gain critical thinking skills, and grow into productive adults.
  • Our fraternal family needs new memory care and advanced care facilities at the Masonic Homes. We have an obligation to take care of the aging population of brothers and spouses who’ve devoted their lives to Masonry. This is how we’ll fulfill that obligation.
  • Philanthropy has always been very important to our lodge, and in particular these causes. In the end, supporting Let’s Write the Future was an easy decision.

100 percent officer giving

  • When new officers enter the line, they know they’re expected to give to the Annual Fund so we can achieve 100 percent officer giving. When I joined the line seven years ago, the marshal took me aside and told me. It’s something we talk about openly, brother to brother.
  • The junior or senior warden updates our progress during ritual practice: “We’re almost at 100 percent. If you haven’t yet, see the secretary to make your donation.” It doesn’t have to be a huge amount. The point is to give and set an example.
  • I liken our charitable efforts to a household where kids grow up with the expectation that they’ll go to college: If you create an expectation and an opportunity, you’ll achieve it.

Other ways of giving back

  • As master, I’ve been urging brothers to donate their time, as well as money, to causes that matter. We come to Masonry to become better men; for many of us that includes getting out in the community and serving.
  • Under last year’s master, the lodge made its endowment fund into a philanthropic fund to benefit the community. We’ll soon issue disbursements to thoughtfully selected local causes.

Our lodge’s charitable record is tied to our members’ overall sense of pride and ownership in the fraternity. We expect a lot of ourselves: We expect strong ritual. We expect strong fellowship. We expect strong leaders. And, yes, we expect a strong culture of giving. That’s why we became Masons in the first place – to lead, and to give back.

Contact: Jay Sener

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Talk to members about Let’s Write the Future

The fraternity has launched its largest charitable campaign ever – and your lodge can be one of its leaders.

If you make a pledge before Annual Communication on October 19, your lodge will be considered a Pace Setter lodge in this historic campaign.

Here’s how to talk to your members about making a pledge.

Introduce Let’s Write the Future

  • Last October Grand Master Galloway announced a statewide fundraising campaign called Let’s Write The Future. The goal is to provide critical support for our two primary Masonic charities.
  • This is California Masonry’s largest-ever charitable campaign.

Review the causes

  • We’ll provide for advanced care at the Masonic Homes, including a major renovation and expansion for memory care and skilled nursing. Among other things, this will ensure that our brothers and their spouses at the Covina campus will never again be separated due to advanced care needs.
  • We’ll double our early literacy impact through Raising A Reader, reaching more than 1,000 classrooms in California’s most vulnerable communities. If these children can’t read, they can’t learn – but right now their schools aren’t providing the tools they need. We can make the difference.

Make it personal

  • Our lodge’s aging members might someday need the Masonic Homes. This is how we can take care of them.
  • Our lodge families have young children; we see just how important literacy is for them. Other, less fortunate children in California need the same opportunity to succeed in school and in life.
  • We all took the same oath to provide relief to the most vulnerable in our society. This is the way to fulfill our values.

Make a motion in your September or October stated meeting

  • Decide what a significant “reach” gift would be for the lodge, remembering that it can be spread over a few years to be affordable.
  • By spreading this pledge over a number of years, we can make a gift that is historic for our lodge – and an example for all other California lodges.
  • Sample motion: “I move that our lodge make a Pace Setter pledge of $XX,000 each year for the next X years to support the fraternity’s charitable campaign for a total of $XX,000. With this gift, we will demonstrate our leadership in this fraternity.”

To make your pledge or for more information, visit For individual talking points, advice, or other questions, contact the California Masonic Foundation:

     Northern California Director of Masonic Philanthropy
     Candler Gibson, (415) 292-9181,

     Southern California Director of Masonic Philanthropy
     Greg Cherry, (415) 292-9197,

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Your September checklist

Stay on track of lodge business and prepare for important deadlines. Here’s your September checklist.

Executive Committee

  • Make plans for your lodge master, wardens, or other representatives to attend the Annual Communication this October. Your vote is important to the future of Freemasonry in California. Special events and some hotels are selling out, so reserve your place today.

Senior Warden, along with Executive Committee

  • Identify and approach members for 2019 open elected and appointed officer positions.
  • Urge presumptive master, wardens, and senior deacon to perform their Master Mason’s proficiency soon, if not already completed.
  • Urge respective officers to answer the master, senior warden, and junior warden questions early.
  • Identify and approach members for the 2019 Audit, Membership Retention, and any other committees.
  • Set calendar for 2019 and identify event leaders.
  • Continue preparing 2019 budget.
  • Set installation date and approach installing officer, master of ceremonies, and chaplain.
  • Review all candidates’ progress towards advancement.

Junior Warden

  • Continue tracking 100% officer giving to the Annual Fund, with officers setting an example through gifts that represent their capability as well as their commitment to our charitable programs.


  • If lodge per capita has not yet been paid, submit payment ASAP.
  • Prepare to send out dues notices and begin collecting member dues, starting October 31.


  • If lodge per capita has not yet been paid, submit payment ASAP.

Questions? Contact Member Services at or (415) 776-7000.

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For your Trestleboard

When it comes to outreach, the question for every lodge is the same: How can we keep fraternal family safe? Here’s Unity Lodge’s answer. Use their story to inspire your own outreach efforts.

This month:
Beyond Obligation: Unity Lodge No. 632
HarvestFest Poster
Age Successfully at Acacia Creek

Share in your Trestleboard.

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Find it on

The California Masonic Foundation’s new website,, is an online home for the fraternity’s charitable programs. It’s also a testament to the Masons and lodges that lead them.

Visit to learn about

Share with your lodge – as a reminder of how much we’ve already accomplished, and how much more is possible.

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Question of the month

Last month we asked which of the fraternity’s charitable programs do you feel most connected to. Of those that responded:

  • 76% - Protecting fraternal family through the Masonic Homes and Masonic Outreach
  • 29% - Advancing early literacy through Raising A Reader
  • 29% - Connecting at-risk youth to baseball programs through Masons4Mitts
  • 19% - Supporting Masonic youth through Masonic Youth Leadership Scholarships
  • 14% - Supporting families through the Masonic Center for Youth and Families
  • 10% - Other

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