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Montana Freemason                                         April 2017                                               Volume 93   Number 1  Montana Freemason                                         April 2017                                               Volume 93   Number 1
                                The Business of the Fraternity

                                                Bruce Lahti, Grand Treasurer

            At a recent Grand Lodge officer’s retreat, I discussed   The  dividends  and  interest  from  those  funds  are
          just how the business of the fraternity is conducted. I  distributed to the Lodges annually.  The principal of the
          held the same discussion with the members attending  fund cannot be touched.  The Pooled Lodge Investment
          the Montana Masonic College a few days later.  In both  Fund is a pool of funds from various Lodges managed
          cases, Brothers advised me that they learned a great deal  together. The purpose was to tie into the same investment
          from those discussions. So I thought I might carry that  management  that  Grand  Lodge  uses. These  funds  are
          discussion over to the Montana Masonic News.          strictly assets of the various Lodges that contributed to
                                                                the fund and can be withdrawn at any time, either in
            What we generally think of as Grand Lodge consists  whole or in part.  Grand Lodge receives no income for
          of two separate corporations.  They are the Grand Lodge  holding and managing these funds.
          AF&AM  of  Montana,  Inc.  and  the  Montana  Masonic
          Foundation, Inc.  Both are not-for-profit organizations,   The total assets of Grand Lodge, which exclude the
          but the similarity ends there.                        designated funds discussed in the previous paragraph,
                                                                are slightly over $1.4 million and consist primarily of
            The Grand Lodge corporation is considered a 501(c) cash and investments.
          (10)  fraternal  organization.  This  is  the  organization
          through which we operate our Masonic fraternity.  This is   The other organization associated with and supported
          sponsoring organization for all of the constituent lodges  by Montana Masons is the Montana Masonic Foundation,
          and the organization through which each Lodge is tax  Inc.  This is a 501(c)(3) public charitable trust.  It is
          exempt.  This is also the organization that supports the  important to note that the Montana Masonic Foundation
          Grand Secretary’s office, Grand Lodge officers’ travel  is not owned by Grand Lodge or even by the Masons of
          and Masonic programs. Those items make up the budget  Montana.  Under the law, no one owns a public charity
          that is presented at the Grand Lodge session annually.  and at the same time, everyone owns a public charity.
                                                                Once an individual or organization sets up and funds a
            Generally  speaking,  the  Grand  Lodge  budget  has  public charitable trust, they no longer have ownership
          changed little over the past 10 years. The overall budget  of  that  trust.    So  when  Grand  Lodge  established  the
          for the 2006-2007 year was $218,025, while the budget  Montana Masonic Foundation in June 1960 and funded
          for the 2016-2017 year is $214,600.                   it,  it  no  longer  had  any  ownership  whatsoever  of  the
                                                                funds donated to the Foundation.
            The  most  recent  budget  consisted  of  $47,550  for
          Grand Lodge officers travel and expenses, $148,750 for   A public charity is managed by a Board of Directors
          the  Grand  Secretary’s  office,  including  Grand  Lodge  and  Trustees  for  the  benefit  of  the  public.  There  are
          office operating expenses and $18,300 for Grand Lodge  numerous  rules  regarding  how  a  public  charity  must
          session and other Grand Lodge programs.               operate.  But paramount among those is that it is not to
                                                                be used to benefit any individual related to the charitable
            Grand  Lodge  has  income  that  offsets  some  of  trust.  It must be used for public charity purposes.
          those  expenses  which  includes  investment  income,
          a staff services agreement with the Montana Masonic     The  Montana  Masonic  Foundation  was  established
          Foundation  and  income  from  sales  of  supplies.  The  as an educational and scientific trust.  That means that
          balance of the Grand Lodge expenses is covered with  the  primary  purpose  of  the  Foundation  is  the  further
          per capita.                                           educational  and  scientific  endeavors.  The  Foundation
                                                                meets those purposes by encouraging early childhood
            Grand  Lodge  also  holds  funds  for  two  designated  reading  through  the  Bikes  for  Books  and  Kindles  for
          accounts  that  are  not  in  any  way  available  for  Grand  Kids programs in cooperation with the various Lodges
          Lodge  operations.  Those  are  the  Prepaid  Life  that  promote  that  program  throughout  the  State.  In
          Membership  Fund  and  the  Pooled  Lodge  Investment  addition,  the  Foundation  funds  grants  to  schools  for
          Fund.                                                 library, music, science and other educational programs.
                                                                It also supports the very publication in which you are
            The Prepaid Life Membership Fund holds funds from  reading this article.
          members who have paid into their Lodge’s prepaid life
          membership.    These  funds  are  generally  invested  in   In  addition  to  those  charitable  programs,  the
          governmental bonds, CD’s and other fixed investments.   Foundation  owns  and  supports  the  Montana  Masonic
                                                                Museum in Helena. Because Masonry in Montana pre-
                                                                dates statehood, our library and archives hold documents
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