Masons are taught that, as one strives to become closer to his Creator, this will be demonstrated by his attitude toward those around him. Masonic charities are among the most well-known and have a tremendous impact on our communities and our nation. Every Scottish Rite Valley has an Almoner Fund which it uses to assist individuals or families in need. Although these vary from Valley to Valley, we all believe that by helping others, we fulfil the values and principles on which our Fraternity is built. In addition to our Almoner Fund, Knoxville Scottish Rite oversees the Knoxville Scottish Rite Foundation, Inc., which is the philanthropic arm of our Valley.
In the 1950s, the Valley began our Mercy Fund with one hospital bed for loan. Following this began our Shoe Program which has continued since 1960. Scholarships were added shortly after, and in 1989 our Valley incorporated the Knoxville Scottish Rite Foundation to better manage our philanthropy and oversee the Speech and Hearing program, which is part of the Supreme Council's initiative to address those needs for children and youth.
Today our Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit with an annual operating budget of over $100,000. We are very proud of the fact that over 80% of that budget goes directly to services; nothing goes to any salary.
The Knoxville Scottish Rite Almoner Fund is the direct charitable fund of the Knoxville Valley, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. The purpose of the Fund is to provide relief to individuals and families in distress, who are not required to be members of the Fraternity. References to the Fund come mainly from members who have knowledge of the circumstances of the recipients. Donations to the fund come from members, however anyone can contribute. The Fund is under the direction of and dispensed by the Almoner of Knoxville Scottish Rite, an elected officer within the Fraternity. Donations to the Almoner Fund are not tax-deductible.
For more information, contact Knoxville Scottish Rite or visit one of the following websites: www.knoxvillescottishrite.org, www.scottishrite.org.
Speech and Hearing –
Knoxville Scottish Rite Foundation, Inc., following the lead of our Supreme Council (Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Southern Jurisdiction) and its RiteCare© Program, provides funding for speech therapy for children up to age 18; we partner with University of Tennessee Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology who provide the services; we also provide grants to East Tennessee State University Speech and Hearing Program and Mountain Region Speech and Hearing Center in Kingsport, TN for their important work in the area of speech therapy. Annual Speech and Hearing budget: $24,000. *
In addition, the Mercy Fund provides medals and certificates to area ROTC and JROTC programs for the Scottish Rite Awards and helps distribute the Sojourners Award for presentation to area units.
Other activities of our Mercy Fund include support to our Masonic Youth Programs of Rainbow and Order of DeMolay, which teach youth valuable leadership skills and instill values of reverence, tolerance, and charity.
Total Annual Budget: $108,000. *
* Budget figures are approximate
Mercy Fund –
Shoe Program – the Mercy Fund has provided shoes and socks to school-aged children throughout our area since 1960. Local Scottish Rite Clubs partner with area school districts to identify children in need of shoes. Currently we provide approximately 6,000 pair annually. Annual Shoe Budget: $63,000. *
Medical Equipment – the Mercy Fund lends medical equipment free of charge for as long as is needed to individuals or families regardless of insurance or ability to pay. Our Medical Equipment program provides wheelchairs, hospital beds, walkers, shower seats/transfer benches, and other needed equipment. Annual Medical Equipment Budget: $3,000. *
Scholarships – the Mercy Fund provides up to ten $1,000 traditional and four $500 non-traditional scholarships to qualifying college students within our 24-county area to help further their education; in addition, a grant is provided annually to the University of Tennessee Choral Arts Department. Annual Scholarship Budget: $15,000. *
About Knoxville Scottish Rite Foundation, Inc., and Knoxville Scottish Rite Almoner Fund
Knoxville Scottish Rite Foundation, Inc., is a 501(c) 3 organization serving the 24-county area of Knoxville Valley, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. Originally organized as the Knoxville Scottish Rite Mercy Fund, the Foundation was incorporated in 1989.
Donations to Knoxville Scottish Rite Foundation, Inc., are tax-deductible. To donate, contact our Office for more information.
Activities of the Foundation include the following:
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