Rules for Funds
As a 501(c)3 our organization and lodges are beholden to the IRS and the rules in place to protect nonprofit organizations. With our tax-exempt status, we could not continue our good works. Donations made to the organization are tax deductible. In addition, we do not pay income tax on money earned by the Endowment Fund. Some of the following rules are set by the Fraternity and Foundation to ensure that Lodges have an equal opportunity to get Matching Funds. It is imperative that projects reflect well on the Fraternity.
Is there a minimum amount?
Yes, the MINIMUM amount per recipient the Foundation will consider is a request for $100, making a total gift of $200 including Matching Funds per recipient.
How can the money to match be raised?
There are three basic ways that money can be raised and be eligible for Matching Funds.
- The Lodge can vote the money out of its treasury.
- The Lodge members can “pass the hat.”
- The Lodge can hold a fundraiser.
If the Lodge solely holds a fundraiser, some examples of acceptable methods are a garage sale or a pancake dinner. Also, if the Lodge puts out mason jars on the counters of local stores, with a sign which says Masonic Lodge #000 is raising funds to support Little League is an established method. In the section titled PARTNERSHIPS you can learn more about partnering with other organizations for a project.
Some sources of money do not qualify
1. Funds you receive from another Masonic organization or foundation do not qualify for matching. You may accept funds for your own charitable use, but they cannot be matched.
2. You cannot match funds raised that are contrary to Oklahoma Masonic law or Oklahoma state law. This includes poker, poker runs and casino nights unless a license or permit has been obtained from the ABLE Commission. Due to a change in state law, money raised via raffle is acceptable.
3. Money can’t be laundered through the lodge in order for a person or an organization to double their money. (See the Strings Attached section)
4. Electronic online sales using a third-party vendor, such as GoFundMe, PayPal, E are not eligible for Matching Funds.
Are there projects which won’t qualify?
Below is an extended list of disqualifications.
- Celebrations if the purpose is simply a celebration. For example, if a Lodge wants to give funds to the community to help fund a fireworks display for the 4th of July the Lodge can but not Matching Funds
- Contributions for sectarian purposes. Funds to send a child to a church camp or on a mission trip would not qualify unless the purpose of the camp or mission trip is non-sectarian. If, for example, it is a camp for handicapped children of all faiths which just happens to be run by a church, it probably would qualify.
- Contributions to the Chamber of Commerce since its purpose is commercial, not charitable.
- Contributions to commercial enterprises. Giving money to a local store to help get it “over the hump” will not qualify for funds.
- Contributions to support or create monuments or war memorials are not eligible for Matching Funds.
- Contributions for flags at cemeteries to honor deceased veterans, grave markers or flowers for cemeteries are not eligible.
- Projects to benefit the Lodge. It’s a matter of law. Lodges must manage their own improvements.
- Money used to purchase ads unless the ad is to support any type of a youth organization such as Rainbow, DeMolay, Job’s Daughters, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, youth softball teams, etc.
- Contributions to other Masonic organizations, foundations, etc. The only exception is contributions made by your Lodge to the Youth Orders.
- Meals are not eligible for Matching Fund This policy has been in place from the beginning of the Matching Funds program because the Fraternity is so centered around Lodge fraternal dinners. This ruling on not funding meals includes, but is not limited to, teacher/student appreciation meals, awards banquets, booster club meals for students, etc. This is not to be confused with nutrition programs such as Meals on Wheels, Nutrition Program at Senior Citizens Centers & Public Schools, Food for Kids Backpack Program, etc. The “nutrition” programs are considered charitable and are eligible for Matching Funds. Please note that it is still permissible for the lodge to use the sale of food as a fundraising tool.
- Capital improvements. Improvements to properties not owned by a 501 (c) (3) organization.
- Letter jackets, championship rings & trophies. These are not charitable or educational.
- Promotional Cards: These are cards which are sold by sports teams, booster clubs, etc. that can be purchased for a small fee in exchange for savings at various establishments within the community are not fundraisers.
- Private Music Lessons.
- Retroactive requests: A lodge must make application and receive the funds from the Foundation BEFORE presenting any funds to the charities. Therefore, any “retroactive” requests will be denied.
Lodges absolutely may participate in the above projects; these are just the ones excluded from Matching Funds due to not meeting the requirements.
A $500 Matching Funds cap has been placed on the following projects:
- After Prom events
- Project Graduation
- Project Safe, etc. (This includes any “lock-in” event which is held for the students.)
This means a lodge can apply for funds up to $500 in Matching Funds for any of the above projects.
Are there any general guidelines for things which will qualify?
Matching Funds are available to every Oklahoma Lodge to help it meet both its fraternal obligation and community needs.
Promises Matter Matching Funds help meet the fraternal needs. Monetary contributions from a Lodge to any needy Oklahoma Master Mason, wife, widow, mother of a Mason, minor child or female member of the Order of the Eastern Star are eligible for assistance through the Promises Matter Matching Funds program. Remember to complete the box on page 1 if the application is for any of these listed people.
Community Matching Funds can meet many diverse needs such as:
- Programs which are sanctioned by the schools Contributions for band uniforms, athletic equipment, etc. are generally OK.
- Aids in education such as Adopt a Teacher, Literacy programs, scholarships, library books, etc. qualify.
- Programs which help someone in need such as assisting with utility bills, medical expenses, special equipment such as wheelchairs, as would food kitchens, shelters, etc.
- Community cultural or educational events or progra
- Programs that benefit the youth such as support for Little League, etc.
- Programs which benefit the elderly, such as senior citizen centers, meals on wheels, transportation.
- Programs which are of public benefit, such as equipment for volunteer fire departments.
- The following organizations or items are also eligible for Matching Funds: Masonic Service Association, Vizavance (formerly, Prevent Blindness Oklahoma) and the Payne Education Center.
- Child Identification Program (C.H.I.P.) – the program uses cutting-edge technology to provide a means of identifying their child in the case of abduction or other emergency in which positive ID is essential. (A CHIP invoice must accompany the lodge’s Matching Funds request.)
There are many other possibilities. Please call the office
if you have any questions (405) 348-7500