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Our Beginning

 

The Masonic Home of Florida was dedicated at 10:00 a.m. on April 7, 1919. In 1902 Brother Albert W. Gilchrist introduced the following resolution at the Grand Lodge Session of January 1902: Resolved: "That a Masonic Home and Orphanage shall be built in the State of Florida. Second: That the Most Worshipful Grand Master shall appoint a Committee, whose duty shall be to formulate plans for the effective carrying out of the same, corresponding with such communities as may be desirous for the location of the Home. To prepare approximate plans and statements as to cost and to report same at the next Annual Grand Communication."

Brother Gilchrist was born at Greenwood, South Carolina, on January 15, 1858. He was a descendant of the grandfathers of both George Washington and James Madison.

Brother Gilchrist received his Masonic Degrees in Punta Gorda Lodge No.115. He held a number of positions in Masonry and I the Brethren elevated him to the highest office within the gift of Masonry, that of Grand Master; serving the people of Florida as Governor at the same time.

Most Worshipful Brother Gilchrist served as Chairman for the first Board of Trustees of the Masonic Home and Orphanage and as a member of the Board until his death in 1926.

 


The Endowment Fund

Following the depression of 1929 it was felt that some plan needed to be implemented to accumulate funds as a continuing source of income that would guarantee against the rigor of the depression years.

The Endowment Fund was born, a plan to accumulate funds that could be invested. The principal of which could not be spent and any income, or parts thereof, could be used to supplement the operating expenses of the Masonic Home.

Many methods were employed in developing this fund. One which has caused much discussion and some disharmony was the assessment of each member in the amount of $50.00. Over the years many ideas were tried.

During the 1955 Grand Lodge Session, Worshipful Brother Ben Flink presented on the floor a proposed Grand Lodge Program he had experimented with in several Districts along the lower east coast of our state. Worshipful Brother Flink's program afforded every Mason the opportunity of contributing "one penny a day" voluntarily to the support of the Masonic Home. Worshipful Brother Flink's program was adopted and "penny banks" were mailed to every Mason in the Grand Jurisdiction.

Contributions from the Particular Lodges increased more than 200% over the preceding year.



In 1958 the first "Let Your Pennies Make food Cents" Committee was appointed by Most Worshipful J. Lewis Hall.

During this Committee's annual report at the lose of the year, they recommended what is today known as Regulation 22.06 which provides for the inclusion on dues notices a place for the voluntary contribution of one cent per day to the Masonic Home Endowment Fund.

The first mailing in 1959-60 resulted in a 6% increase over the preceding year. Over the years since the purchase of the Southland Hotel property on July 2, 1918, Steady progress has been made. Today, nearly all of the facilities have been replaced with beautiful, new, energy-efficient units affording the best possible care for our Brothers and Sisters who reside therein as our Guests.


The "Let Your Pennies Make Good Cents" Committee wishes to thank you for your past support of this vital Grand Lodge program and we urge you to strengthen your support in the coming years enabling all of us to realize our dream of a fully endowed Masonic Home.

II Corinthians 9:7 says, "So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver."

On behalf of our Grand Master, Grand Lodge Officers and Resident Guests, we invite you and your family to visit your Masonic Home when you have opportunity.

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