The Masons are the oldest and largest fraternal organization in the world, with a rich history in the U.S. that dates back to colonial time. George Washington was among the first Masons in the then newly formed United States.
Masonry is a body of knowledge and a system of ethics based on the belief that each man has a responsibility to improve himself and thereby affect a positive transformation in his daily life, his family and his society.
Although Masonic ritual varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, a consistent message conveyed to every candidate is that charity is an essential part of Freemasonry. In some rituals, in fact, reference is made to the wide-breadth of the star-decked canopy of Heaven and that a Mason’s charity should be equally extensive. This concept has remained throughout the centuries of Freemasonry’s existence.
To relieve the distressed is a duty incumbent on all men, but particularly on Freemasons, who are linked together by an indissoluble chain of sincere affection. To soothe the unhappy, to sympathize with their misfortunes, to compassionate their miseries, and to restore peace to their troubled minds, is the great aim we have in view. On this basis we form our friendships and establish our connections.
Illustrations of Masonry, p. 72 William Preston, 1772.
To that end, Masons throughout the country and the world have quietly, but effectively conducted their charitable and philanthropic endeavors.
Contributing an estimated $1 billion to charitable causes nationwide, Masons not only contribute to established nonprofit organizations such as Special Olympics here in Ohio, but have established their own fully supported charities such as the Shriners Hospitals for Children.
Recognized as the premier center for its care for neuromusculoskeletal conditions, burn injuries and other special healthcare needs, the Shriners have 22 hospitals throughout the country including one here in Cincinnati. In addition, for over 20 years, the Scottish Rite Masons, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, have been national leaders in helping children and their families overcome the painful obstacles of dyslexia with more than 50 active Dyslexia Centers in 13 states including 11 centers in Ohio alone. The Children’s Dyslexia Centers tackle the challenge of dyslexia by providing free tutoring for children and by training a highly skilled cadre of dedicated tutors.
These Masonic charities and others too numerous to list are emblematic of the philanthropic philosophy that is one of the key precepts of Masonry.
Western Reserve Masonic Community's Memory Care project is no exception.