From the Personal Representative (November, 2009)

posted May 16, 2015, 7:03 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite   [ updated May 16, 2015, 7:04 PM ]

Brethren and friends, 

The Fall reunion is in the history books, and will go down as a great production, one of which we all can be proud. The efforts of the Reunion Director and Assistant Director, Hal Leister and Chuck Cowden, as well as the “Producer”, Bob Rowan, all the Degree Directors, and casts of the various degrees, were superb. While we only had three candidates, they were treated to an excellent reunion. And, not the least to receive our applause is Angela Athans, who was everywhere in the preparation of the food and decorations. We are indeed fortunate to have these fine people working toward the success of the Valley. Please thank them when you get a chance, and let them know we appreciate their efforts.
In the Valley of San Jose, we are working toward two main goals. First, we are dedicated to seek and disseminate the light of Freemasonry and goodwill to all with whom we come in contact. Secondly, we are working to support a laudable goal; the San Jose Scottish Rite Foundation and especially our Childhood Language Clinic. As I tour the clinic occasionally, I can’t help a feeling of pride in the job our specialists are doing with the children that come to us. Monthly we see the success stories reported in The Rite Word, and can reflect on the fact that WE ARE CHANGING LIVES, here in the Santa Clara Valley. This project, however, comes with a price. 
Our contributing members, especially Illustrious Leo Mark 33°, Illustrious Dalton Noland 33° and their predecessors worked tirelessly to put into a self sustaining position; one in which we could support the work of the Clinic with a minimum of outside help. Two or three factors, however, have combined to make that position rather tenuous. First, as a “501 (c) 3” charity, our legal obligation is to generate at least ten percent of our revenue from outside contributions. I’ll return to this matter presently. Secondly, the shift in the economy has reduced our rental income significantly, without a corresponding reduction in costs. Thirdly, our investment portfolio has been drawn down by the slump in the economy, even though our investment manager is working heroically to keep us afloat.
 The last two factors are subject to improvement as the economy improves, and we see some relief even now. The first factor, however, the matter of charitable contributions, is a matter of deep concern with me and with the Board of Directors. While I hesitate to bring this subject up at all, we must face reality. I know all of us receive periodic requests from the California Scottish Rite Foundation for donations to that charity, and I’m sure there are a great many reading this message that give generously to that cause. I’m also sure, however, that those who do make that foundation one of their regular charitable recipients are unaware of the fact that none, that’s right, none of that money ever gets back to our valley to help support the San Jose Scottish Rite Foundation or our Childhood Language Clinic.
The matter all began when a particular brother wanted to see to it that his charitable donation would be used solely for the benefit of a clinic here in San Jose, and as a result, the men then in charge created a separate foundation for San Jose, apart and aside from the California Scottish Rite Foundation. We are our own foundation and none of the proceeds of the state foundation filter down to our valley. I have been reluctant to make an issue of this fact, because up until 2008, the California Foundation shared the proceeds of the fundraising effort equitably with the twenty valleys in the state, but now, it seems, they have had a change of policy demanding the member valleys (of which we are not one) to submit line-item expenses to the California Foundation for which they (the Orient) disburse payment.  In effect, we have lost a major source of our charitable funding.
I call this matter to the attention of our readers not to denigrate the fundraising effort of the California Foundation, but simply to make you aware that, if your intent in giving to the Scottish Rite charities is to sustain the operation of our clinic, you must realign your giving policies. This month I will make an appeal to the state foundation to share with our valley the proceeds of our collective generosity, but if that fails, I will have to initiate a policy of sending out requests for donations that will compete with theirs. It is not something I relish, but I feel my first obligation is to this Valley, and I must act accordingly. 
Please bear with me. Our fiscal and charitable situation is seriously threatened, and I feel I must act in the best interests of our clients and the health of this Valley.

Bob Winter - Personal representative of the Deputy of the Supreme Council in California

The Rite Word - November 2009, Volume 3, Issue 11