Endowed Memberships

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


Are Endowed Memberships A Good Idea?

  1. Yes

    70 vote(s)
  2. No

    28 vote(s)
  3. Unsure

    12 vote(s)
  1. Michael Hatley

    Michael Hatley Premium Member

    Yep, thats what I've seen too. Plus the Silent Generation (Korean War, kids in WWII) and Gen X are both half the size of the Baby Boomers and Gen Y, both of which seem to have less affinity overall for masonry. I'm generalizing, but it is just what I've seen in our lodge and the lodges that our members are affiliated with.

    Our renaissance, imo, depends upon reversing that trend and bringing in Gen Y in better numbers than the boomers. And we have video games and the leading edge of European secularism to contend with. Whole new ballgame.
  2. jwhoff

    jwhoff Premium Member

    This is common place at both my lodges. It should be the rule, not the exception among all masonic lodges that understand their responsibilities to fellow brethren.

    Simply put brethren, we are here to help one another. Many of us so positioned include endowed memberships as a way to help those coming in the future as well. What better way to contribute to the betterment of the brotherhood?
  3. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

    I figure the *idea* is good bu the *implementation* is not. The minimum size of the endowment needed to be changed to track the increases in dues but it was not changed. Endowed trust funds use a ratio of balance to disbursement. I figure the original implementation error was to express the payment as a dollar amount not as a multiplier on the current dues amount.

    Dues amounts have also not tracked inflation. That's a separate and additional discussion.
  4. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

    GLoT Lodges are allowed to set both the amount of their dues and the price (in even $100 increments) of their endowed memberships.
  5. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

    Allowed, sure. Problem is few do. The advantage of "correctness by construction" approaches is they work in the face is predictable issues. Setting the endowment amount as a multiplier on current dues is thus a "correctness by construction" approach while setting the endowment amount using a minimum is not.

    In Illinois the life membership amount (name used for endowed membership almost everywhere outside of Texas) was set at 18 times in an era of high interest rates. That too is a problem as the multiplier works a part of every decade long economic swing but also fails a part of every decade long economic swing. Not as bad as an inflation based fixed number that works for a while and then fails forever, but still not right. Votes come up to correct the multiplier about every 2-3 years in Illinois but none ever take the simple route of quoting what the GM says about the topic in his "town hall" meetings around the state.
  6. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

    This may sound callous but I view it as natural selection at work. Lodges know the returns on endowments are low (last year we gave the returns right back to GL) and many members treat endowed memberships as though they were life memberships.

    I visited a nearby lodge several months ago which is over 90% endowed...one of the walls of their lodge is literally covered with endowment certificates. I was also informed that their lodge is only receiving $200 or $300 a year in dues because of this.

    We raised our endowments from $500 to $1k during our last stated meeting and I think this was a good move.
  7. crono782

    crono782 Premium Member

    Personally, I'm still of the mindset that, if even if you purchase an endowed membership, you should still pay dues *if you are able to*. An endowed membership shouldn't be an "escape" from paying dues at the cost of the lodge, but give you the peace of mind knowing that, should a time come when you cannot pay your dues, your endowed membership carries you through. That's just me though.
  8. jwhoff

    jwhoff Premium Member

    I consider my two endowments as insurance policies for myself when I am retired. And, I do pay dews to both lodges yearly. As well as throw in for lodge expenses and events throughout the year. I could never pay back what masonry has done for my linage and myself over the many years.
  9. DJGurkins

    DJGurkins Floresville #515 Premium Member

    Since this has been an out of box experience. LOL Can a lodge endow without the GLoT. What I mean is can they offer a Bro. endowment and then invest the money themselves and keep all the returns.
    Another idea is to offer a Bro. who has been active for say 10 years in his lodge a endowment at the time of his retirement present him a endowment in appreciation but also to help him pay his dues when he retires and has a fixed income.
    I know myself and a few other Brothers probably wont get 50yr pins so this might be a way to recognize them to.
    These are questions that I have been asking myself while reading this thread. But remember I am a EA and don't know Diddly yet. LOL
  10. bupton52

    bupton52 Moderator Premium Member

    That's a very good question.

    Bro. Byron Upton
  11. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

    That is how life membership funds work in California. They are maintained by each lodge. In Illinois the fund is maintained by GL. So the way it works appears in the GL law book and what it says is the way it needs to be done in that jurisdiction.

    If no life/endowed membership appears in the law book, maybe it could be done that way. I bet GL would freak out at an individual lodge doing it, though. The DDGM inspects the books annually and reports so GL would know soon enough. Best not to do it without telling GL in such a jurisdiction.
  12. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

    No. Art. 318a (7) states, in part: "Lodges are prohibited from donating or selling endowed memberships in any other manner than as provided in this Article..."

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