Literacy and Public Education
Our Commitment to Public Education
Public education is one of our fraternity’s most treasured causes – and one that Masons have championed for hundreds of years. American Masons have always been closely associated with public education, and believe that in order for civil society to thrive, all children must have access to the free public education necessary to grow into conscientious productive citizens.
This profound calling to support public education continues to this day.
Today, we support public education initiatives and programs at the statewide, regional, and local levelS
Our partnership with award-winning literacy leader Raising A Reader brings an award-winning literacy and family engagement program to tens of thousands of California families.
Innovative Investment in Success scholarships expand educational access by providing college scholarships to students who have overcome extraordinary obstacles.
Each April, we celebrate Public Schools Month by holding regional community celebrations in elementary schools statewide.
Since the program’s origin, we have been a strong supporter of the California Teacher of the Year Awards, showing recognition and appreciation for exemplary educators.
When new school facilities are constructed, our ceremonial participation in their dedication through formal cornerstone ceremonies further cements our connection to public education to California public schools.
Our important work is made possible due to the efforts of devoted brothers statewide who participate in our Public Schools Advisory Councils.
Literacy Will Be Our Legacy
Raising A Reader is an award-winning literacy program. Its unique model provides a rotation of high-quality books to children, along with parent education around the importance of book sharing and its role in literacy development. By participating in Raising A Reader, families can boost brain development, healthy family relationships, a love for reading, and crucial literacy skills.
California Masons have been partnering with Raising A Reader since 2011 to bring this impactful program to classrooms in California’s lowest-performing elementary schools. We’ve already reached 500 classrooms; through the Let’s Write the Future campaign, we strive to expand this program to 1,000 classrooms.
Investing in Success
The Investment in Success scholarship program gives high school seniors who demonstrate an active pursuit of education in spite of hardships to attain a higher education. Although these students may not fit the traditional profile of a high academic performer, they have overcome significant obstacles to achieve their goals, demonstrating extraordinary potential and strength of character. If they remain eligible, scholarship recipients retain their scholarship through the entirety of their education.
Investment in Success scholarship applicants are nominated through one of the California Masonic Foundation’s educational partnerships. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
April Is Public Schools Month!
In 1920, Past Grand Master Charles Adams proclaimed the first Public Schools Week, during which Masonic lodges led community meetings to respond to the state’s critical teacher shortage. Each succeeding California grand master has continued that observance which today is recognized as Public Schools Month.
Every April, local lodges throughout California plan special programming and open houses to celebrate public schools, students, and teachers. On a statewide level, we partner with regional school districts to plan Public Schools Month celebrations at our beneficiary schools.
Masons Support California Teachers
California Masons have a deep sense of appreciation and respect for the educators who have devoted their lives to teaching the next generation. In fact, we are the longest-running sponsor of the California Teacher of the Year Awards.
We recognize the role of teachers each February by sponsoring the California Department of Education’s California Teachers of the Year Awards in Sacramento. These impactful awards celebrate exemplary educators and provide inspiration to fellow teachers throughout the state. At the awards banquet, we honor each finalist and semifinalist with a generous gift.
Congratulations to the California Teachers of the Year!
California Masons applaud the California Teachers of the Year for their efforts on behalf of California youth.
Leading the Way
The California Masonic Foundation’s statewide impact would not be possible without the dedication and hard work of our Public Education Advisory Committee (PEACs). These regional councils of Masonic leaders build relationships between schools and Masonic lodges on the local level. They collaborate with school districts, community leaders, and guidance counselors to provide targeted, personal support. PEAC members are the cornerstone of the California Masonic Foundation’s local programs. We are deeply grateful for their leadership and efforts to advance public education in California.
Edwin del Rosario, Chairman
Mike George, Chairman
Calvin Gilbert, Chairman
Gabriel Mariscal, Chairman
Paul Moreland, Chairman
Kirt Wilson, Chairman
Fred Wolf, Chairman
Steven J. Harris, Chairman
Joseph H. Stout III, Chairman
Erik Araiza, Vice Chair
Albert Cua, Vice Chair
Carlos Diez, Jr, Vice Chair
Adam Hanin, Vice Chair
Terry Holts, Vice Chair
Robert Klute, Vice Chair
Walter Sener, Vice Chair
Peter Serbantes, Vice Chair
Dennis Yen, Vice Chair
James J. Achenbach
Derrick L. Howard
Josh Le Vesque
Walter Mc Questen
Anthony C. McLean
Howard “Bud” Ramsey
David G. Rathgeber
Michael J. Singer
Michael D. Thibodeaux
Hercules H. Valdez
Absalom Villescas Jr.
Robert L. Weldon
100th Anniversary of Public Schools Month
In 2020 we celebrated the incredible 100th anniversary of the Masons of California’s Public Schools Month by hosting four online events to honor local schools and our fraternity’s historic connection to public education. the entire fraternity was welcomed to recognize a cause that has animated the fraternity like none other.
Attendees heard from Grand Master John Trauner about how Masonic support for public schools has adapted to the times; learned about the long and profound history of Masonic efforts to bolster public education; and saw how our Masonic charities have affected local schools and students.
From an early age, Lupe was prepared to fight for her education. California Masons were impressed by her dedication and awarded her with an Investment in Success Scholarship. “I felt blessed knowing there were people out there expecting me to do well,” she says.