Freemasonry in Minnesota
Freemasonry is the world’s oldest and the largest fraternal order, with some 1.5 million members worldwide. Its members are men from all walks of life who together, support the Fraternity’s aims of Brotherhood, Relief, and Truth. Membership is open to men of any race or religion who believe in a Supreme Being and are of good repute.
2021 will mark the 168th anniversary of the establishment of the Grand Lodge of Minnesota. Today there are 130 lodges statewide, with approximately 9,300 members. A brief history of the first 150 years of Minnesota Masonry was prepared for the Grand Lodge of Minnesota Sesquicentennial in 2003.
Every Minnesota Mason belongs to one of the 130 lodges mentioned above. Each lodge is governed by the Grand Lodge of Minnesota. Specifically, they are led by the Grand Master and the Grand Lodge Board of Corporate Trustees. Funding is provided through annual dues of each Minnesota lodge member, which include an annual per capita payment for each member.
Charity is one of the primary focuses of Masonic activity. The following programs are supported by the Minnesota Masons:
Minnesota Matching Funds Scholarship Program – Minnesota’s youth have long been a focus of the Masons of Minnesota. This program of Minnesota Masonic Charities, provides over $300,000 in scholarships to graduating Minnesota high school seniors annually. Every scholarship is awarded by one of the 150+ Lodges or Order of the Eastern Star Chapters located across the state.
Minnesota Masonry has expanded its charity through the creation of the Benevolence Fund – Help Aid and Assist Fund. Seeded by contributions from the dues of every Minnesota Mason, the fund can be used to aid any Minnesota Masonic family that encounters difficulty that cannot be addressed through traditional means.
Minnesota Masonic Cancer Center Fund – Imbued with a sense of passion for men, women and children suffering from cancer, Masons of Minnesota made voluntary gifts totaling $2,100,000 between 1955 and 1966 to pay the full cost of building the Masonic Memorial Hospital, now known as the University of Minnesota Masonic Cancer Center.
Carrying on its long tradition of supporting cancer research and education, in 1991 the Minnesota Masonic Cancer Center Fund, Inc. pledged $5 million to the Minnesota Medical Foundation, the official, fund-raising arm of the University of Minnesota Medical Schools, to build a new cancer research facility. At that time, this was the largest commitment the Minnesota Masonic Cancer Center Fund, Inc. ever made. The new cancer research facility was named the Masonic Cancer Research Building. This state-of-the-art facility is located on the east bank of the University of Minnesota campus in Minneapolis. It contains laboratory space and houses a diverse team of outstanding cancer researchers, who lead the way in expanding and intensifying Minnesota’s cancer research efforts.
In 2005 the Minnesota Masonic Cancer Center Fund again renewed its commitment to the fight against cancer by announcing the Partners for Life campaign. This fund raising effort pledged ten million dollars to help build the new Masonic Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota. Recently completed, the Masonic Cancer Center helps the University complete clinical trials and in other ways be more competitive for top medical talent and national cancer grants.
Minnesota Masonic Homes – In July 1920, the original Minnesota Masonic Home opened its doors in Bloomington. Since that time, Minnesota Masonic Homes has served thousands of people – Masons, Eastern Star members and others in need. Today, this community houses approximately 300 residents in independent living, assisted living, and 24-hour skilled nursing areas.
Appendant Organizations – Many Masons go on to join associated groups like the Shrine, York Rite or Scottish Rite. There are also opportunities for the family members of Masons to be involved in appendant groups like: Eastern Star, DeMolay and Jobs Daughters.