Mosier Community School hit the jackpot when it applied to the Masonic Lodge in The Dalles for funding for school supplies and got all 12 of its requests fully funded for over $3,000.
The money from the Masonic Lodge paid for items including books, math and art supplies, sensory tables and benches for the school’s garden.
Samantha Bauc, community liaison for the school, said the Masonic Lodge felt people “don’t know about it and they were super stoked that we were so happy. We were like, ‘Yes! Let us know when you have another one.’ Especially as a charter school we don’t get the funding of a normal public school, so every bit really helps.”
As a charter school, Mosier gets 83 percent of what the regular public schools get in public funding per pupil, she said.
She said the Masonic Lodge told them to “stretch your imagination. What do you want?”
The application was for kindergarten through sixth grade, but since Mosier’s middle school is for grades six through eight, Bauc included up through eighth grade.
“I know they’ve said in the past a lot of teachers and schools don’t know about this. They were very happy that they got so many applications from our school,” Bauc said.
“It was a very easy process and it was just really great that they did that,” she said of the funding.
Fred Wendt is the secretary of the local lodge, called the Masonic Blue Lodge. He said the Lodge has used proceeds from the sale of the building that now houses Clock Tower Ales to fund its donations to local schools.
The program is in its second year and will be an annual event, Wendt said. “We can gift for quite awhile,” he said. Other gifts given this year included iPads, a camera, and even a field trip.
The Masons saw that the field trip, which was about a $250 request, didn’t include lunches for students, so they doubled their gift. “So that was a nice surprise for them,” Wendt said.
The program, called Elementary Scholarships Sponsored by Masonic Blue Lodge, has few limitations. It is open to public elementary schools in Wasco and Sherman County, and has no dollar limit on requests.
Wendt is a retired mechanics teacher from The Dalles High School. “My heart goes out to elementary teachers and the kids need to have a good foundation and that’s where they get it,” he said.
The program funded all the requests it got this year, for a total of about $6,000, Wendt said. Requests also came from Dry Hollow Elementary, the Sherman Grade School in Moro and South Wasco County Grade School in Maupin.
The local Masonic Lodge formed in 1859, and was the 15th lodge established in Oregon of the 180 now in existence. It meets monthly – still at the Clock Tower building, in rooms it rents from the current owner – and its motto is “making good men better.”
The Lodge has also had a longstanding program of giving away bikes at each public elementary school in Wasco and Sherman counties. Called the Books for Bikes program, for each book a kid reads, they are able to enter their name in a raffle for a bike, helmet and lock.
So far, the Masons have given about 100 bikes.
For many years the Masons have given scholarships, up to $2,000 each, for graduating seniors at District 21, Dufur School and Sherman County High School.
Next year, the Masonic Lodge will spread the word by directly notifying each elementary teacher with a hardcopy invitation in their mailbox at work, Wendt said. For more information on the program, Wendt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.