Endowment Carries on Masons’ Commitment to Education
A generous gift from Tacoma’s Lincoln Park Masonic Lodge #80 will provide unending help for Clover Park Technical College students in need.
To say education is important to the Freemasons would be an understatement of epic proportions. It’s been a central value of the world’s oldest fraternal organization dating back to the 14th century when master stone masons taught apprentices how to safely build castles and cathedrals. In the 1700s, Grand Master Benjamin Franklin pushed for the adoption of a public-school system in Pennsylvania and helped organize the University of Pennsylvania. And with a firm belief in education for all, the Freemasons stridently supported funding the first public schools in the United States and Europe.
That commitment to education continues today, and it’s a top priority for Lincoln Park Masonic Lodge #80 located in Tacoma. Following the sale of one of its buildings, the lodge invested the proceeds with the aim of donating the interest from their investment to support local educational institutions, including Clover Park Technical College.
“We wanted to help people interested in learning a trade who might not otherwise have the money to make that happen,” said Matt Rutledge, Worshipful Master of Lincoln Park Lodge #80 Free and Accepted Masons of Washington. “The Clover Park Technical College scholarship program seemed like a great way to give back, especially because the funds will be awarded indefinitely.”
With the lodge’s $15,000 gift, the CPTC Foundation established the Lincoln Park Masonic Lodge #80 Scholarship Endowment. Principal from the gift will remain intact, with only the income earned on the investment from the donation used each year.
“In our conversations with lodge representatives, it was clear they wanted the funds to be available for any student who needed them,” said Rae Baghirov, Foundation Development Associate. The CPTC Foundation created a general scholarship to ensure the fewest restrictions to help students from any program regardless of race, ethnicity or gender.
Support that spans communities
Positive community impact is a cornerstone of the Freemasons. Collectively, the organization donates millions to hospitals, youth scholarships and charitable groups. On the local front, the Lincoln Park lodge supports Habitat for Humanity and other community and youth organizations. They also raise funds for the children’s speech therapy unit at MultiCare Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup, and each year the lodge participates in Bikes for Books, providing free bikes to elementary school children who reach their reading goals.
The Freemasons are also shrouded in a little mystery and misconception. Rutledge invites anyone interested in learning more about the organization to check out the Grand Lodge of Washington Freemasonry website, which offers a plethora of information about the organization’s history, structure and membership. (Fun fact: 14 U.S. presidents and several signers of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were Freemasons.)
The Lincoln Park Masonic Lodge #80 scholarship is the second new endowment established by the CPTC Foundation this year, bringing the endowment total to more than $1.6 million as of March 1, 2020.
For more information about establishing a scholarship or endowment, visit friendsofcloverpark.org or contact the Clover Park Technical College Foundation at 253-589-6082.