Endowed Memberships

Discussion in 'The Voting Booth' started by Blake Bowden, Jan 1, 2009.

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Are Endowed Memberships A Good Idea?

  1. Yes

    69 vote(s)
    63.3%
  2. No

    28 vote(s)
    25.7%
  3. Unsure

    12 vote(s)
    11.0%
  1. Beathard

    Beathard Premium Member

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    Hopefully the lack of payment from the endowment funds will cease this year. The new rules for payment should help. It still might not be enough not to go to the endowed members, but it will help. Fundraising is another way to make up the difference when the membership cannot do so...
     
  2. kilo

    kilo Registered User

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    I'm endowed in two lodges, and I do pay the per capita in the belief that it is the right thing to do. To me the endowment is to leave something for the lodge when I'm no longer there.
     
  3. Dave in Waco

    Dave in Waco Premium Member

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    That was the real original intent. But many purchased as a way to automatically have dues paid, since it was paying off for the lodges.
     
  4. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

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    I voted 'no' because of the way endowments are being handled right now. It's my opinion that endowments should be local and not go to Grand Lodge. Lots of lodges would have benefited from actually being able to keep all of that money and just keep paying the per capita each year instead of sending it to Waco and having to keep scrapping by.
     
  5. Beathard

    Beathard Premium Member

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    I think people miss the point of endowments. An endowment is there to provide for the long term financial security of the lodge. Long term is after we die and move on to the celestial lodge. An added benefit is not paying dues. But we as masons have an obligation to support the lodge now. If the endowment does not return enough funds to cover the costs of operation, we as members need to step up and pay more. I am an endowed member. I pay my per capita. I also work every single fundraiser, sell raffle tickets, etc. The endowment is part of my legacy.
     
  6. Michaelstedman81

    Michaelstedman81 Premium Member

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    I gotta be honest and admit that before reading the posts in this thread and the thread I started asking about endowments, I really did think that the reason for the endowments was so that Brothers didn't have to keep paying dues. That is the way the information was provided to me before. I was told that purchasing the endowment was for the purpose of not having to pay dues, which also prevents having to pay higher dues in the future each time the dues are raised.

    I know see that that was the opinion of one man, and that might have been his sole purpose of purchasing an endowment. I was wondering why I was hearing so many issues about dues, endowments, returns, and all that when I was visiting other lodges lately. Now, I do have a better understanding of the purpose of purchasing an endowment and I like the idea of it better now. I like the idea that if I purchased the endowment I am contributing something to my lodge that will continue to give to the lodge even after I am gone.

    So, my intention now is to purchase my endowment when I get certain things taken care of and have the financial opportunity to do so. Then instead of paying just my "per capita", I plan on paying the regular dues price. That way I am not only contributing to keeping the lights on for the next year, but also for the years to come that I will be involved in Masonry and also beyond.
     
  7. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

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    Maybe I've misunderstood all along, if so then someone please correct me. It was my understanding that the amount of money you pay for endowment actually goes to Grand Lodge. The endowments get invested by GL and all lodges are supposed to see some sort of monetary return for it each year, though the returns have been halted due to the economy.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2011
  8. Beathard

    Beathard Premium Member

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    You are correct. There was a rule that stated that the interest could not be destributed unless the fund was at 100%. Last year the fund was at 80%. That means that for every $500 paid in, the fund only had $400. The idea was all of the interest would go to replacing the endowment until it was at full strength. It is approaching full strength now. Also they changed the rules so that a portion of the interest could be paid even if the fund was not at 100%. Why is it not at 100%? Bad investments during a bad economy?
     
  9. Michaelstedman81

    Michaelstedman81 Premium Member

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    I'm sorry if I confused things up a bit Bro. Jones. All this endowment stuff is still pretty new to me as I stated. Hahah, so don't listen to what I post in this forum as I'm just trying to learn it all and get it straight...lol

    Thank you Bro. Beathard for extra info. Just to confirm, generally what is supposed to happen if I did get an endowment is the GLoT would give an amount of money from the interest from the fund back to my lodge? If that is the case, does each lodge get an equal share of the interest, or does each lodge get a certain amount according to how many endowed members they have?
     
  10. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    Each Lodge gets a certain amount per investment unit, which is $100. Different Lodges charge different amounts for their endowed memberships, but each must be a minimum of $500.00. To keep everything uniform, the endowments are broken down into units. Say Lodge "A" charges $1500 for an endowed membership and has one endowed member, and say the return per unit is $10. That Lodge has 15 units and would receive a return of $150. Say Lodge "B" charges $500 for an endowed membership, and has 20 endowed members, including 5 who are deceased. That Lodge has 100 units and would receive a return of $1,000.
     
  11. Michaelstedman81

    Michaelstedman81 Premium Member

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    Ah, okay. Thanks for breaking that down for me. I'm starting to get the picture. I'm sure as heck glad I joined this site...lol It is amazing the things that I have found out on here..lol
     
  12. davidterrell80

    davidterrell80 Past Master Premium Member

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    Yes... but, those of us who are have a responsibility to know what the GL returns to the Lodge will be each year, and pay the difference to ensure the Lodge is not hurt by our membership.

    Also, consider making a donation each year to Lodge about dues time equivalent to a year's dues... specifying that it should be first used to anonymously remit the dues of any brother, especially one retired and living on fixed income, for whom dues might be a true hardship... and second, to help the widows.
     
  13. Beathard

    Beathard Premium Member

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    The secretary should be able to tell you once it is announced. I will try to remember to post it as well.
     
  14. Bro_Vick

    Bro_Vick Moderator Premium Member

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    I think endowments are excellent ways for senior brothers and families of brothers past on to make sure they continue to give to the lodge. I think endowments purchased by young men in the long run do the lodge more harm than good, and directly benefit the Grand Lodge, vice the individual lodge.

    The Scottish Rite in San Antonio has a sliding scale based on age for endowed memberships, I think that blue lodges should look at a similar concept. That way it is more equitable from the younger mason and the older mason.

    S&F,
    -Bro Vick
     
  15. Michael Hatley

    Michael Hatley Premium Member

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    I used to think they were a good idea. Until I realized we have something like 5 total dues paying members, and half of us will likely be granted lifetime memberships in a couple of years for going through the line.

    So pretty much all our lodge's income depends on how well (or how poorly) GL invests the endowment fund.

    My lodge something like 25 years ago sold its building and bought every living member endowments. Seemed like a great idea at the time, because we could (and do) rent space on the cheap. That is, until GL lost its shirt on the market and the endowment fund took a beating. Now the investment looks a lot more iffy as compared to investing that money in a new building, then flipping it, etc.

    For the individual who wants to do something long term for their lodge, sure, though I can think of other interesting things to do with $500 or so too. But when you look at it from the perspective as an aggregate investment, it gets more iffy, and those are the terms I think you have to look at it.

    You also have to factor in that a lot of lodges like mine have something like 1% of its members paying dues, the rest are endowed members. So they become beholden on the endowment fund, and that has a way of working to stagnate a lodge in multiple ways. In good times for the fund, fundraising is less of a priority. Then all of a sudden when the money gets tight the brethren start tightening their belts, finger pointing and assorted drama.

    Personally I think a healthier way to go about it is to have every member pay dues, but I'm not sure how to reverse the trend.
     
  16. jwhoff

    jwhoff Premium Member

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    That's tough skidding brother. Tough indeed. I bought an endowed membership but continue to pay full dues to the lodge. I was a little surprised to find out that many brothers still holding paying jobs aren't doing the same. I plan to do the same with my second lodge.

    Can anyone out there justify anything else?

    Folks just what does masonry mean to you? As long as I am gainfully (or less) employed I will continue on this route. The endowment was to help my lodge(s) and appendant bodies after I'm gone.
     
  17. Michael Hatley

    Michael Hatley Premium Member

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    I love the way you think, Brother. And I will do the same, and be vocal about it, in the hopes that others do it as well.

    For us I think it comes down to such a slow trickle of new members who have a fire in their belly. Six total master masons in the last four years by my count and half of them are in the line. So I have to give these men credit for keeping the lodge alive at all, by virtue of their dedication to show up week after week, year after year.

    I tell you, I'd prefer it if eating and voting rights were not included in endowed memberships. Reserve that level of permanency for lifetime memberships, which the lodge has only a limited number of to distribute. Then shift the tradition from granting them to folks who sit in the east to granting them to brothers who are struggling to afford their dues, perhaps because of being on a fixed income or whatever.
     
  18. Timothy Fleischer

    Timothy Fleischer Registered User

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    Why would your lodge award a Life membership for going through the line?? I would think that most Past Masters are even happier to pay dues because we have been neck-deep in our Lodge and know the need.
     
  19. Michael Hatley

    Michael Hatley Premium Member

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    Hey, I just work here pardner - mind you don't bite my head off. It has been their tradition a good bit and I'm still a youngin around there.

    As far as I know, out of something like 50 living PMs (of our lodge and affiliates), if any are payin dues anymore it would be news to me.

    I think it is fair to say that the young fellas pretty well saved the lodge from goin under over the last year or so, and we've reached into our pockets on a *number* of initiatives, so remember you are preachin to the choir. And on the flipside I have a lot of love for some of those old timers, so I'm not lookin to throw stones, nor encourage it - just to think outside the box movin forward.

    Also - one bit of our history, there are almost no baby boomers active in our lodge. Folks in their 70s and 80s, and then it jumps down to 30s and 40s in the line. My top signer, a very close brother, is 92. I'd be more apt to drop the price of dues in his mailbox than I would be to demand he pay dues on a retirement that was fixed in 1980 or so, if you get my drift.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2012
  20. Benton

    Benton Premium Member

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    That's pretty common in lodges, from what I've seen. Masonry basically skipped a generation, which is part of the numbers/financial problem we're having right now.
     

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