“The Masonic Foundation of Ontario and the Future”
“The Beacon of Ontario Masons”
How many times have we heard from Masons and non-Masons, both men and women, “My grandfather was a Mason”, or “My father was a Mason”. Something triggered their response. In many instances it was derived from the knowledge of a charitable act on our part, as Masons. From the moment a man becomes a Mason he is instructed as to the virtue of Charity and is consistently reminded of the needs of those in our society who are less fortunate than us. This was the basis on which the Masonic Foundation of Ontario was established, with the motto at that time, “For the Cause of Good”, and was expanded on its 50th anniversary to “Masons giving...For the Cause of Good”, to show the community the Charity of a Mason’s heart.
During the first two years, from 1964, the Grand Lodge transferred $161,507.29 to establish the Capital Fund of the Foundation. This gave the Foundation a small income of about $4,000 and only the ability to provide non-repayable bursaries to needy university and college students in their senior years. The Capital Fund increased very gradually in the following years when in 1978 it reached $310,320 (with an income of $19,650). It was clear that, if the Foundation’s ability to assist was to become more useful, a concerted effort at fund-raising would be required. President William K. Bailey initiated the first major fund-raising campaign (Project H.E.L.P.) to mark the 125th Anniversary of Grand Lodge in 1980 and when the project finished, it had raised over $620,000. Likewise in 1987, President Richard Richards announced that the Foundation initiated another major fund-raising campaign to mark the 25th anniversary of the Foundation entitled “Help Nip Drugs in the Bud”, and raised $1,171,000 by the end of 1989. In 1999 President Neil Britton announced the launch of the Millennium project, “HELP-2-HEAR” and at its conclusion raised over $2.1 million. These three fund-raising projects provided the financial base that permitted the Foundation to undertake meaningful initiatives in both medical research in the auditory field and informing the youth of the province of the dangers of addiction.
Over the years the Masonic Foundation of Ontario initiated other fund-raising opportunities, such as the Foundation yellow envelope and the grey envelope programs, as well as “Planned Giving” from which many bequests were received from Masons and their families, through their wills and their survivors. Bequests valued from a few hundred dollars to multi-million dollars. All of this enabled the Foundation’s Capital Fund to grow to over $15 million by July, 2016. As a consequence the Masonic Foundation of Ontario has donated and distributed about $15 million, since its founding in 1964, to projects and organizations throughout Ontario on behalf of the Masons of Ontario.
The Executives and Directors of the Foundation, in combination with professional portfolio and account management companies, safeguard and protect the Foundation’s Capital Fund, which form the basis of its income and donations.
Every year the Foundation receives many submissions and proposals from various organizations and individuals, which must be investigated, recommended for consideration or not able to endorse. As we have seen, times change, circumstances evolve, needs of the community vary, the medical field advances and modernizes, offering new and interesting opportunities to consider for funding.
When originally in the process of forming the Masonic Foundation of Ontario, the Special Committee held meetings throughout the year. On July 18, 1963, at the Annual Communication of Grand Lodge, the Committee stated that the Foundation was to be “the means of broadening the scope of Grand Lodge benevolence, and attracting substantial financial resources which will greatly increase the interest and participation of the Craft in its benevolent outreach.” This benevolent outreach must extend into the community and show “Masons giving..For the Cause of Good”.
Therefore, the Masonic Foundation of Ontario, with the assistance of every Mason in Ontario, is and will be the “Beacon of Ontario Masons”, shining our benevolent light to our community.
As prepared by Allan C. Dvorak, President, Masonic Foundation of Ontario