Together we make a profound difference

BEST PRACTICE: The Masonic center as a community resource

RESOURCE: All about the hall

The ABCs of dues

Your Homes survey results

Early bird special

Question of the month

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BEST PRACTICE: The Masonic center as a community resource

In 2005 then-Master Ara Maloyan started a biannual Masonic lecture series for members of Santa Monica-Palisades Lodge No. 307. In 2009 Master Brandon Millan expanded that tradition to a series of three free programs, designed to capture the interest and imagination of a public audience. Millan explains:

Background: Santa Monica-Palisades Lodge is a large lodge in a central location. Yet, most of our community neighbors had never been inside the Masonic center – some didn’t even know our lodge existed. I wanted to make our Masonic hall a resource for the community. We planned public events, opened our doors, and extended invitations to everyone from the local university to city council.

Vision
I spent two months refining a master plan for the year. With the help of a steering committee, I laid out my budget, my emphases, and what I wanted to accomplish. Master’s Forums – three free public events – were part of that.

Programs
The events aren't focused on Masonry, but they exemplify our Masonic principles and values.

  • March: The first Master’s Forum was The Ashot Tigranyan Classical Concert Chamber Orchestra. A ticket to this event would ordinarily cost $200, but we were able to offer it at no charge. Close to 275 attended, including many members of the community. That’s the most that our lodge room has ever held.
  • September: Prestonian Lecturer Dr. John S. Wade will deliver his research paper. The grand master of England appoints a Prestonian lecturer annually, one of the highest accolades for a Masonic researcher/historian. This is presumably the first time a Prestonian lecturer has delivered his paper in California during the year of his appointment. We’ll open the lodge to the first degree and limit the event to Masons only. (See below.)
  • November: We’re inviting a local Catholic priest, a rabbi from a local synagogue, and Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist clerics for an interfaith dialogue. This is a great way to show that Masonry is one of the places that men of different religious beliefs can gather and learn from one another.

 

Planning

  • Committee: We established a Forum Committee at the beginning of the year. Those five committee members do all the planning and production.
  • Budget: The events don’t require a great deal of money. We’re stretching our dollars. Ashot Tigranyan is a friend who volunteered his talents. Our only expense for the Prestonian lecturer is Dr. Wade’s flight to California. The interfaith dialogue won’t cost anything beyond refreshments.
  • Parking: For the March concert, we arranged parking with the nearby college and public library.
  • Refreshments: During intermission we serve champagne, wine, and hors d'oeuvres. Afterwards we serve coffee and dessert. After the March concert, people stayed and mingled for another hour.
  • Set-up: The hall usually holds about 185 during lodge. For the concert, we brought in a stage and lined up 300 chairs. It was packed.
  • Publicity: We advertised through our lodge Web site and public forums like Yahoo groups, local listings, and free online services.

    TIP: Ask for RSVPs – and follow up. We received 340 RSVPs for the March concert. We turned away 50, because we thought we’d reached capacity. Just 275 attended – an impressive crowd, but a shame that we’d turned people away.

Benefits

  • Our lodge establishes itself as a community partner and resource.
  • The events demonstrate our Masonic values in a way that the community relates to and appreciates.
  • People who’ve never set foot in our Masonic center have an opportunity to connect with us and understand who we are. A current Entered Apprentice discovered the lodge and submitted an application because of the March concert.

 

For more information about this article, contact: Brandon Millan, master, brandon.millan@yahoo.com.

 

Santa Monica-Palisades Lodge invites all Masons:

Prestonian Lecturer Dr. John S. Wade presents:
Go and Do Thou Likewise:  English Masonic processions from the 18th to the 20th centuries

Wednesday, September 9, 2009
7 p.m. lodge opening and presentation (no cost)
Dinner to follow ($15 per person)
Santa Monica-Palisades Lodge
926 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica


Reservations and advance payment for dinner are required. Make your check payable to Santa Monica-Palisades Lodge No. 307. Send with names and e-mails of those attending to Steve Doan, 6411 Seabryn Dr.,
Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275-4755.

For questions or additional information, e-mail steve@doan-bezner.com.

 

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RESOURCE: All about the hall

If you’re unsure where to direct your inquiry, contact Ron Filion,
Grand Lodge Masonic properties representative, at 415/292-9138 for:

  • Advice on federal and state tax resources
  • A liaison with the Masonic Properties Committee
  • Information on CMC regulations for Hall Associations

 

Resources for Masonic hall associations

Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
Tax Exemption Department: 877/829-5500
EIN search: 800/829-4933
Employment taxes for exempt organizations
Forms

 

State of California Franchise Tax Board
Forms
General questions for exempt organizations
Tax Exemption Department: 916/845-4171

 

State of California Secretary of State
Forms
SI-100 online filing

 

Marsh Insurance* (*does not apply to all lodges)
Representative Angela Bacon
415/743-7521
angela.bacon@marsh.com

 

Grand Lodge Masonic Properties Committee
Chairman Mike Arnold
951/205-6950
mike.arnold@vreonline.com

 

Have we forgotten something? Please e-mail suggestions to communications@freemason.org with Resources for hall associations in the subject line.

 

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The ABCs of dues

Maintaining a fiscally sound lodge requires a responsible financial strategy.

For the majority of California lodges, membership has decreased while expenses increase with inflation. After carefully considering how to create additional revenue, many lodge leaders advocate raising dues.

In most lodges, dues are modest – well beneath the cost of a gym membership or cell phone bill. To ensure their dues are at a prudent level, lodges are advised to recalculate required dues annually, using the following formula.

Information you’ll need

  • Expenses: This includes estimates for relief, per capita, and government taxes; discretionary expenses for lodge priorities; and social and fraternal expenses.
  • Income: Calculate your investment distribution and other income, exclusive of dues. An effective strategy for estimating investment distribution is to multiply the lodge’s average investment portfolio balance of the last five years by 4.5%. Estimate the income earned in your Life Membership account, if you have one, at 2% of the account value.
  • Number of dues-paying members: Subtract any estimated dues remissions and life members from your lodge’s (projected) total membership.

Calculate dues
Use this equation: (A-B)/C=Dues

  • A = expenses
  • B = income
  • C = number of dues-paying members

Example:

A is expenses= $50,000     B is income= $23,500     C is dues-paying members= 259

  • ($50,000-$23,500)/259 = Dues
  • ($26,500)/259 = 102.32
  • Dues = $102

Regularly raising dues to your lodge’s unique amount and limiting your investment distribution, as shown above, will help you meet budget priorities today while preserving your financial resources for the future.

Contact Grand Treasurer Glenn Woody at woody@planretire.com or 714/859-0534 for any additional explanation or help with this process.

 

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Thank you for participating

A total of 63 lodges responded to the June survey regarding members affected by the current state of the economy. Of this number, 46 lodges identified hardships experienced by the members; 17 reported no identified needs.

The 46 lodges that identified hardships represent 9,154 members.

  • Members who have lost a job                            113
  • Members who are at risk of losing a job            85
  • Members who have lost a home                        260
  • Members who are at risk of losing a home        16

The Masonic Homes is currently developing programs and services to support these individuals, and is contacting the most heavily affected lodges to discuss next steps with the lodge master or secretary. If you know of a member in need, please call 888/466-3642.

Resource fairs for Masons who have been laid off or are worried about their jobs will be held:

August 6
2 to 7 p.m.
Pleasanton Lodge No. 321
3370 Hopyard Rd, Pleasanton

August 20
2 to 7 p.m.
Anaheim Lodge No. 207
303 W. Lincoln Ave, Anaheim

Support and information regarding:

  • Employment transition and retraining
  • Resume writing and interviewing
  • Health/medical care access
  • Social service programs
  • Foreclosure prevention
  • Educational opportunities
  • Stress management
To register, call the Masonic Family Resource Center at 510/429-6435.

 

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Give early and lower your monthly contribution

The important work of the Masonic Homes and the California Masonic Foundation relies on members’ support of the Annual Fund. In tough economic times, this support is even more important – and there’s an easy way to help without straining your budget.

Renewing your gift to the Annual Fund now will lower your monthly contribution. Your donation is prorated for the remainder of the fiscal year (July 1 through June 30). By renewing now, your contribution will be spread over a longer period of time, resulting in smaller monthly payments.

You’ll make a big difference without feeling a big impact. Encourage your members to contribute now to the Annual Fund.

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Question of the month

Last month we asked if you use a social media site (such as Facebook). Of the 85 that responded:

41% - yes
59% - no

 

Of those that said yes, 94 percent said they would be intrested in using social media to connect to Grand Lodge.

Here’s your next question.

 

 

 

 

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Please e-mail questions to communications@freemason.org.






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