Franklin Legacy Society


Among his earliest actions as the 114th R.W. Grand Master of Masons in Pennsylvania, Marvin A. Cunningham, Sr., announced the creation of the Franklin Legacy Society to honor those whose contributions to the missions of our Masonic Charities enable the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania to carry on its rich tradition of helping those in need in the Fraternity and in our communities.

"This Society will serve to demonstrate our appreciation for the brethren and friends who have included a provision in their estate plans for one or more of the Masonic Charities of the Grand Lodge," Grand Master Cunningham explained. Those charities include the Masonic Homes, the Pennsylvania Youth Foundation, The Pennsylvania Masonic Foundation for Children, The Masonic Library and Museum of Pennsylvania, and the Masonic Charities Fund.

"It is because of the foresight, caring, generosity, and stewardship of those who came before us that the Grand Lodge and the Masonic Charities are able to serve the Fraternity and mankind as we do," the Grand Master said. Those are the traits of Benjamin Franklin, who probably was the most practical, prudent, and dynamic man of his times. He left the nation with legacies that continue to benefit mankind and are destined to serve for posterity. "That's why 'the Franklin Legacy Society' is the right name today for those whose caring will craft legacies for generations to come," explained the Grand Master.

The first step for qualifying for membership in the Franklin Legacy Society is to take the necessary steps to provide for the Masonic charity or charities, of your choice. That may be done as a bequest to the charity, or charities, or in your will. A person could elect to include such a provision in a living trust. Or, you could decide to fund a life income gift arrangement, such as a charitable gift annuity or a charitable remainder trust with the charity benefiting for the ultimate proceeds. Other options might include designating a Masonic charity to be a beneficiary of a retirement plan, or of a life insurance policy.

After making the desired determination, the next step is to contact the Office of Gift Planning, either by telephone at 1 (800) 599-6454, or by clicking here for a printable coupon. Mail the coupon and we will then forward you a short membership form for completion. When the Office of Gift Planning has been notified, you will be invited to join the Franklin Legacy Society.

To the extent they desire, members of the Franklin Legacy Society will be welcome to participate in its special activities, but remain anonymous to the public if they so choose. They will be invited to a special event for Society members each year. In 2002, it will be a luncheon with Christies Auction House to be held in the Freemasons Cultural Center on April 25. There will be other events on a regular basis, such as education forums and programs by the various Masonic charities.

There will be a special "Donors' Wall" in the Atrium of the Center to recognize members. Members who give their permission will be recognized in The Pennsylvania Freemason and in the annual report for the Masonic Charities.

Legacies Live Through the Years

A random sampling of gifts and bequests demonstrates how thoughtful planning and caring generosity has done so much for so many through the years:

square and compassThe will of Thomas Ranken Patton established the Thomas Ranken Patton Masonic Institution for Boys in 1925 and the Thomas Ranken Patton Memorial Charity Fund provided for the needs of worthy widows.

square and compassA century later, the income from a generous gift in the will of Maxwell Sommerville, a University of Pennsylvania professor who admired items of beauty, oil paintings and fine sculptures, still is being used to purchase, conserve and preserve many of the works of art in the Masonic Temple.

square and compassIn his last will and testament in 1912, John Henry Daman bequeathed the residue of his estate to the Grand Lodge for building and maintaining a cottage or cottages at the Masonic Homes in his name.

square and compassThe income from a 1989 bequest of the late Harry E. Graul perpetually provides for the educational, recreational, and entertainment well being of the residents of the Masonic Homes at Elizabethtown.

square and compassIncome from the Harry T. Porter Memorial Fund is used for boys and girls residing at the Masonic Homes, Elizabethtown, and for youth programs conducted at the Masonic Homes at Elizabethtown.

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