Wow, I was just thinking how blessed my family and I are. While there have been some hard times, we are still more fortunate than most people. I have a good career in an industry I love and because of this I have been able to provide my family with certain pleasures I would have only dreamed of before. In life, it is important we do not take all these good things for granted. In fact, there is a belief that “true happiness” comes by helping others and by giving back to those around you. The greatest happiness you can have is when you help or do something for someone else. The masonry industry has been so good to my family that I felt the need to give back to it. The Masonry Foundation has given me that opportunity to give back. Not only I am able to help the industry that has been so good to me, I am also able to make an investment in its future and the future of my company. This becomes even more important as I pass my company on to my son. It is our duty in life to make things better for others. This is what the Masonry Foundation will do, making sure tomorrow is a brighter day for our industry and the people who will depend on it.

Since the Masonry Foundation’s brief existence, a little less than four years, we have raised more than $2 million in pledges from just contractors. I used to just dream about contractors coming together to support their industry, but dreams can become reality and this one did become a reality. One of the goals of the Masonry Foundation was to raise $2.5 of the $5 million goal from just contractors! I know people thought we were crazy, but so far, we have raised over $2 million from commitments of just 52 contractors and contractor groups. While this is not an MCAA Foundation but rather an industry foundation, our target was MCAA members so our target compared to the size of our industry was quite small. The MCAA has over 750 members and this magazine goes to over 13,500 industry people. Just think if everyone contributed something, I believe we would be well over $10 million from readers of Masonry!! If you are someone who has not made a pledge, please consider supporting the Masonry Foundation. A pledge is spread out over five years so a pledge of $25,000 would be only $5,000 per year or a pledge of $1,000 would be $200 per year. I believe we all can make that type of investment into the future of our companies and the Masonry Industry and remember, it is pledge, not a contract. The pledges from contractors have ranged from over $200,000 to as little as $1,000. The important thing is to be a part of something great and it so important for our Industry. Don’t rely on the backs of others, please do your part and make a pledge.

In addition to the contractors making pledges, we have gone out to suppliers and asked them to step up and support the Industry. After rolling it out to our vendors about a years and a half ago, the Foundation raised another $1.5 million in pledges. Add this to our contractors’ pledges, brings our pledged totals to over $3.5 million!! Again, we just rolled the Foundation out to our suppliers so this total will rise along with the new pledges from other contractors. With everyone making some type of pledge there is no reason why we cannot exceed our original goal of $5 million. In fact, I believe we should be an $8-10 million foundation.

What have we done with the money we have raised so far? The Foundation has paid a commitment to include Masonry in BIM (Building Information Modeling) in the amount of $465,000 and funded an energy study for single wythe masonry walls. This never would have been possible without the Masonry Foundation. The foundation already has more than $1,000,000 in the endowment fund and by next June we will have $1.5 million in the fund without any additional pledges! I feel we will see an outpouring of support from the industry I am so fond of. The whole purpose of the endowment fund is to continually grow it. This will enable the Foundation to provide grants back to the Industry. The endowment fund is set up so only the income it produces can be spent on grants. This will ensure the Foundation will be able to meet the Industry’s future financial needs at the time they are needed, not after the fact. For the first time in our industry’s history, we will be able to control our own future rather than let the future control us.

The Masonry Foundation is totally independent of MCAA, it is set up as 501 C3. This means your donation is tax deductible. So, at the end of the year instead of giving more of your hard-earned money to the government to be used against you, you can take advantage of the tax write off by supporting the Masonry Foundation and at the same time investing into your future.

There is one more way you can give back to the industry and that is through Planned Giving. A Planned Giving gift or donation is when you dedicate in your will a dollar amount you wish to go to the Masonry Foundation. Again, this can be a great tool to reduce your estate tax and at the same time giving back to the masonry industry. Presently the Masonry Foundation has two contractors who have set this up in their wills.

I would hope by now you realize how passionate others and I are about the future of the Masonry industry through the Masonry Foundation. As members of MCAA, you are part of a family that helps and supports each other. This is what the Masonry Foundation is all about, supporting our futures together. Please make a pledge and feel free to contact me for more information about the Masonry Foundation. My contact information is listed below, I look forward to hearing from you.

Remember it is by giving that we receive!

 

Mark Kemp
mark@superiormasonry.com
262-781-4777 Office
Words: Mark Kemp
Photos: Masonry Magazine