An Open Letter from The Grand Master:
I have been asked as have my fellow Grand Lodge officers -- how the troubled economy in the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, has affected the financial position and operations of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. Let me explain.
Anybody in the investment market knows his financial standing has been seriously compromised. The Grand Lodge is in no different position. We, too, have seen the value of our investments decline dramatically. Is it a concern? Yes. Can it be overcome? Yes, again.
"Stewardship" has been a watchword in our Fraternity in Pennsylvania since the constitution of this Grand Lodge. Through nearly three centuries, the generous bequests, strong membership support, sound investments, and careful management have afforded us all that we have today. There have been tough times before, always addressed with responsible stewardship. That's how we're addressing the challenges of today -- with responsible stewardship.
For operating expenses, Grand Lodge depends largely on the income from its investments, as well as some from members' dues and donations. The same is true for our Masonic Charities. The key words are "income from the investments." It has always been the goal to maintain the principal of our investments and operate on the income from it. In difficult times, that has not always been possible and it is a fact we face today. It is our obligation to consider the future of the Fraternity and the welfare of those who come after us. We have to stop tapping our principal -- and we aim to do so!
We have taken practical and functional cost-cutting measures. There have been reorganizations at Grand Lodge to reduce operating expenses, as well as temporary cutbacks or delays in some programs, events, and projects. We neither plan, nor foresee, problems or actions that would affect our charities, buildings, locations, fraternal strength, or long-term financial stability.
Brethren, a strong membership is important. An informed membership is vital.
Sincerely and Fraternally,
Marvin A. Cunningham, Sr.,