Masons of California

Literacy and Public Education

Our Commitment to Public Education

Public education is one of our fraternity’s most treasured causes – and it is one that we have championed for hundreds of years. We 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.

Public Schools Celebrations - 2020

This year 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 and his wife, Dana, 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.

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 is bringing 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 foundation@freemason.org for information.

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.

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.

Check back NEXT February for 2021 Public School Month events!

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.

We recognize the role of teachers each February by attending and 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 2018 California Teachers of the Year!

California Masons applaud the 2018 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 Schools Advisory Councils (PSACs). 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. PSAC 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.

Steven J. Harris, Chairman
Erik S. Johnson, Chairman
Daniel O. Leonard, Chairman
Mark J. McNee, Chairman
Kendall R. Mills, Chairman
William R. Stokes, Chairman
Joseph H. Stout III, Chairman

Oscar D. Arguello Jr., Vice Chair
Robert S. Artinian, Vice Chair
David M. Brown, Vice Chair 
Daniel J. Dailey, Vice Chair 
Michael J. George, Vice Chair 
Calvin H. Gilbert, Vice Chair 
Daniel G. Moran, Vice Chair 
Dennis C. Rootes Jr., Vice Chair 
Nikolas Trawny, Vice Chair 
Mark A. Williams, Vice Chair

James J. Achenbach
James W. Allen Jr.
Jeffrey P. Anderson
Christopher Bair
James N. Barr Jr.
Lee J. Brooks
Charles E. Brown
Carlos D. Buzon II
Becker Cheng
Loren E. Chico
Matthew G. Crabtree
Gary D. Darrow
James S. Dierke
Carlos M. Diez Jr.
Alan R. Doulphus
Randy R. Downey
Jhairo Echevarria
William M. Ferrell
Curtis B. Flemming
Danny C. Flucke Jr.
Marco A. Garcia
Jason W. Hawkinson-Prater
Stephen C. Hill
Geoffrey P. Holbrook
Derrick L. Howard
Robert D. Klute
David L. Lagala
Edmond M. Lim
Earl D. Love Jr.
Jesse Maust 
Anthony C. McLean 
Robert C. Moore 
Paul R. Moreland 
Leonard B. Oakes 
Chad W. Pape 
Jason R. Petz 
Mark E. Pressey 
Roger W. Price 
Howard W. Ramsey Jr. 
David G. Rathgeber 
Benjamin R. Schwartz 
Michael J. Singer 
Robert F. Stai 
William G. Suguitan
Michael D. Thibodeaux
Nathaniel M. Torres
Hercules H. Valdez
Absalom Villescas Jr.
Arthur H. Weiss
Robert L. Weldon
Steven F. Wingfield
Michael J. Woo
Louis H. Worthy II