“The Masonic Foundation of Ontario and the Present”
Before looking at the Masonic Foundation of Ontario today it’s important to briefly review the thinking and reasoning for the establishment of the Foundation in 1964. Freemasonry, in general and in Ontario, was progressing from mainly internal benevolence of giving donations and charity primarily to its members, their orphans, widows and relatives in order to meet their needs due to the lack of outside social assistance, which was not available in those early times, to focusing on community based charities.
The social assistance structure being provided to individuals presented the Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province of Ontario, through the Masonic Foundation of Ontario, an opportunity to direct its donations and charity to community based organizations and projects.
The Foundation had a small income from its small Capital Fund in 1965 and decided that its first responsibility would be to provide non-repayable bursaries to needy college students in their senior years. As the income gradually increased from its Capital Fund, in May, 1971, it announced that the Foundation was “favourably disposed toward making contributions to medical and scientific research, when funds become available”. In 1987, President Richards announced that the Foundation proposed to mark its 25th anniversary by another major fund-raising endeavour, this one intended to provide support at the community level for dealing with the problem of youth and drugs. The campaign adopted the title “Help Nip Drugs in the Bud”. As the new Millennium approached, the Foundation Executive believed that the time was appropriate to launch another province-wide fund-raising endeavour. At the Annual Communication of Grand Lodge in July, 1999, President Britton announced the launching of “HELP-2-HEAR”. This was a hearing medical research project which was not currently championed by mass public support.
The Foundation’s Board of Directors consistently review and determine which charities and programs are maintained, ended or added, for a more effective use of its members’ contributions and Capital Fund income.
In July, 2013, the Directors of the Foundation made the decision to fund three specific far-reaching and advanced prostate cancer research projects which resulted in the major fund-raising drive known as “Prostate Hope”. It was proposed by the Grand Master, Most Wor. Bro. Donald A. Campbell, at that time, and continued and supported by the present Grand Master Most Wor. Bro. John C. Green, primarily due to the number of men within the Fraternity being affected with prostate cancer and prostate issues.
Continuing with the support of initiatives set over the past many years, the Foundation is now supporting Endowed Bursary Funds to senior students, Giant Steps (Autism), a school and therapy centre for children with autism, Parent Action on Drugs (PAD) and their Peer Education Programs which have professional trainers, train senior students to work with junior students, throughout Ontario schools, on the harmful effect of drugs and alcohol. The Foundation is very active in supporting Youth Initiatives with Scouts Canada (Ontario Division), Girl Guides of Canada (Ontario Division), 4HCouncil of Canada (Ontario Division), DeMolay and Rainbow for Girls.
As prepared by Allan C. Dvorak, President, Masonic Foundation of Ontario