Freemasonry is the oldest and the largest fraternal order in the world. It is a fraternity that has spread around the globe based on the shared principles of brotherly love, relief, and truth. Freemasons are dedicated to serving their families, communities, and countries, while striving to improve themselves through a system of moral teachings. Modern Freemasonry eschews discussion of politics or religion in the lodge, although all members profess a belief in a Supreme Being.
One of the lessons taught through Freemasonry is the great value and satisfaction derived from charitable acts. Additionally, Freemasons have long believed in the vital importance of an educated populace, and promoted the availability of public education for all who wish it.
Since 1958, there have been two Masonic Lodges active in Corvallis. For many years, it has been a shared goal of Freemasons in the Corvallis area to establish a scholarship program in furtherance of public education for our community’s youth. Efforts were based on the premise of creating an endowed fund so that scholarships could be awarded without reducing principal. Alas, the lodges had insufficient funds to create such an endowment, and the efforts were not successful.
Around 2004, members of Mary’s River Lodge No. 221 A.F. & A.M. formed a committee to again attempt to create a successful scholarship program, focused on providing scholarship funds to “at-risk” youth, thereby encouraging them to complete their education at a public institution. One committee member was familiar with BCF and realized the Foundation and Freemasons have a shared goal: investment in the youth of our community.
Mary’s River Lodge No. 221 A.F. & A.M. began a series of fund-raising events, culminating with the creation of a scholarship fund through BCF in 2007. Working through BCF allowed the lodge members to focus on fund raising, knowing that the BCF would handle the tedious details of managing the investments and endowments. Additionally, donors can now make tax-deductible contributions, increasing the attractiveness of the fund.