Interest, Excitement High For Matching Grants Program

In lodges across the Commonwealth, interest -- even excitement -- is growing for the Masonic Matching Charity Grants Program. The new program introduced by R.W. Grand Master James L. Ernette will match, up to a total of $5,000 per year, the charitable contributions that a lodge makes in its local community.

Comments and questions have been coming in to the Matching Grants Committee from across the Jurisdiction as lodge officers plan for an increased community presence through their charitable activities. The funds to be matched can come from lodge funds, member donations, or appropriate fund-raising programs.

Some lodges have planned to expand programs already in place. Others are looking to establish something uniquely supported by the lodge. Some of the intended recipients include a women's crisis center, a youth soccer league, a recent widow, a scholarship program, a day-care center for low income families, a crippled child, a community food bank, Special Olympics and a senior citizens' center.

The screening process that is in place requires the use of a simple application for prior approval of the matching grant. In order to use charity funds of the Grand Lodge, the committee simply will need to assure that specific requirements of the IRS are met. The screening process is guaranteed to take just a few days, and provisions have been made to handle truly emergency situations.

Remember, when all is said and done, the local lodge is to receive all of the credit for the combined donation and matching grant.

Look at some of the comments already received by the committee:

"This is a great idea. We are very excited about it!" -- Bob Gilbert, W.M., Williamson Lodge No. 307, Womelsdorf

"This is an excellent program . . . obviously a lot of thought was put into this . . . from the legal, financial and fraternal angles." -- William M. Baily, D.D.G.M., 29th Masonic District

"Program looks great! It's easy to follow, and well thought out. Simple. Fantastic!" -- Walter J. Foltz, W.M., Abraham C. Treichler Lodge No. 682, Elizabethtown

In each issue of The Pennsylvania Freemason, the Committee will be providing reports of successful Matching Grants projects and how this program has increased the public's awareness of the charitable work of the Masonic Fraternity.

For more information about the Matching Charity Grants Program, contact your Worshipful Master or Lodge Secretary; or call to speak to a member of the Committee at 1-800-266-8424.