You are more than aware by now that the entire Gulf Coast of Texas and parts of Louisiana have been smacked by Hurricane Harvey in the last week. Many U.S. Masonic jurisdictions are circulating this message, but I will do it here as well, in case yours hasn't yet.
The Masonic Service Association of North America has issued an official Disaster Appeal HERE on behalf of the Grand Lodge of Texas AF&AM:
The entire Gulf Coast of Texas was deluged with high winds and rain from Hurricane Harvey, setting records for rainfall from any single storm anywhere in the continental United States.
Extensive building and property damage, electrical outages, unhealthy conditions caused by flooding, and widespread disruption of normal living conditions has occurred.
The Grand Lodge of Texas has requested this Disaster Appeal, to assist their many brethren who have been injured or who have received extensive damage to their homes from Hurricane Harvey.
Donations can be made by check or online at Texas Disaster Appeal.
Any donations received by MSA and designated for Texas will be collected and forwarded to that jurisdiction. Thank you for your concern.
We were asked if any of your donation to a disaster appeal is deducted by MSA for administrative expense, say 10%, and the answer is "No." All expenses, charges by PayPal, bookkeeping, or cost of thank you letters, everything, is absorbed by MSA in its operating budget. The entire gross donation will be sent to the affected jurisdiction. That's the way it's always been, and that's the way it will continue.
Please forward any donations you feel appropriate to help our devastated Brothers and their families in this stricken jurisdiction to MSA.
PLEASE NOTE: Check with your own grand lodge to see if they are collecting donations as part of the MSA Appeal, just to prevent confusion as to whom is donating to what.
When remitting funds directly to MSA, please mark donations specifically to "Texas Disaster Appeal." To donate directly to the MSA Appeal by check, make checks payable to MSA Disaster Relief Fund and send them to:
Masonic Service AssociationYou can also donate via PayPal HERE.
3905 National Drive, Suite 280
Burtonsville, MD 20866
The Masonic Service Association is arguably the best and most effective way to provide financial assistance to Texas Masons (or to any other jurisdictions that may also request these official Disaster Relief Appeals through MSA). MSA is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. That is important to remember, especially if you, your company, or foundation are making a large donation and are in need of a tax deduction in return. The charitable arm of the Masonic Service Association was specifically established for the purpose of raising tax deductible donations, and to effectively distribute and account for the funds provided to Masons who receive assistance. Your entire donation will be sent to the affected jurisdiction. MSA deducts nothing for administrative expenses or expenses of any kind. Meaning if you donate $100.00, all $100.00 gets to Texas Masons.
The Grand Lodge of Texas AF&AM is also collecting donations directly on their website HERE. There is a link on that site to donate via credit card, as well.
From the Grand Lodge of Texas website:
Please donate to the Official Grand Lodge of Texas A.F. & A.M. Hurricane Harvey Masonic Relief Fund. All funds will go to the Lodges that have been effected by this tragedy. Many, many Lodges are suffering damages from this once in a 500 year disaster, and can use all the aid and relief you can provide to get them, their Brethren, and their families back on their feet. Please donate what you can today! We thank you for your charity!
The Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas has also issued the following message on their website HERE:
Individuals and families who are members of the Texas Prince Hall Family and who have been impacted by Hurricane Harvey and who are in need of immediate temporary emergency financial assistance may be considered for financial donations through the Prince Hall Charitable Foundation.
The letter and form to request Hurricane Harvey Assistance can be found HERE.
I have not found any such official appeal out of Louisiana as of yet, but will update this post if I'm made aware of it.
Meanwhile, Hurricane Irma is now gaining in strength in the Caribbean as I type this, heading for Puerto Rico and Florida, and perhaps elsewhere. Please keep our brethren in these affected areas (as well as all of those who are in the approaching harm's way) in your prayers and in those of your upcoming meetings.