A Perfect Time To Give To The Masonry Foundation

Dan asked if I would write an article giving an update on the Masonry Foundation. With Thanksgiving over, Christmas and New Year’s coming, the timing was perfect to discuss each Holiday and how they relate to the Foundation. We start with Thanksgiving. It is all about being thankful for family, friends and the great life we all enjoy and too often take for granted. Family is everything, and as a result we work hard to make sure our family is taken care of spiritually, physically and financially.  Lucky for us, we are part of an industry, which not only provided the financial security for our families, but also opened the door to meet and establish quality friendships. The masonry industry, along with MCAA, is all about helping one another, striving to make each other, and our businesses stronger. I know for a fact this is true for my family and I bet yours too. So, Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks to our great Industry. It also gives way to the next holiday, Christmas. 

Christmas is a religious or spiritual holiday with lots of presents being bought for family and friends. It is a time when we often spend more energy and money on trivial things than we should. It should be the holiday we try to do something special without expecting something in return. We should strive to help others, which in the end really helps ourselves at the same time. It should be a gift, which helps makes someone’s future better. We are all very fortunate to have this ability, but what makes it possible for us to do these good deeds for family, friends and perform these special acts of kindness? Again, this is possible because we are all part of a very giving industry, which gave us the means to provide happiness to so many. So as Christmas passes, we start thinking about changes or goals we want to make in our lives, welcome to New Years. 

Every New Year, we think about new and old or existing goals, what we achieved and what we want to achieve. While we all have our own personal goals, there are other non-personal goals we need to consider. There can also be goals, which are both personal and non-personal. There is one goal we should all be a part of and it will only be achieved if we all unite and support it. The goal is the “Masonry Foundation,” by supporting it you not only help yourself but also future generations who will rely on the industry for their families and their futures. So now you see how each holiday is tied in some way back to the masonry industry. This industry has given you and your family financial security, provided the means for you to enjoy things you only imagined as a child. There is no better way to end the season, than by giving back to your industry and making a pledge to the Masonry Foundation. 

If we unite, we will reach our goal of $5 million in pledges to the Masonry Foundation. Presently the Foundation has $4.3 million in pledges, and our goal (and yours) should be to reach $5 million by our Annual Meeting in Vegas. As of the end of October, we have $1.8 million in our investment account after funding a portion of the BIM project for $465,000. We never would have been able to have a BIM module if it wasn’t for the Masonry Foundation. This is an example of why the foundation is so important to the industry. We need to support things like workforce development, education, research and masonry programs at universities that have architectural programs, just to name a few things. Remember this endowment amount continues to rise as the pledge money continues to come in. The faster we achieve our goal, the sooner we can fund the needs of our industry. If everyone steps up to the plate and makes a pledge, we will achieve our goal of $5 million. Remember, it is a pledge not a contract, and is spread out over 5 years. If you made a $25,000 pledge it would amount to $5,000 per year for 5 years. Only you can decide on the appropriate pledge amount for you. Some can and do pledge more, some less but the important thing is we all need to do something to support our Industry. So, this Holiday Season open that check book and make a pledge, helping others as well as yourself, your family and company. The great news is, the contributions are fully tax deductible (see your tax advisor) as the foundation is a recognized 501 (c) (3) charitable foundation. 

I also want to take this opportunity to give you a brief update on what else is happening with the foundation. This past Mid-Year Meeting the foundation board met and had a long but very productive meeting. The board approved the officers and board members. Both Gary Joyner and I have agreed to stay on another term. Gary continues to be the leader in seeking new pledges. He truly is a man of action. It is no wonder why North Carolina leads all states in pledges. The financial committee lead by Christian Stein gave an update and suggestions for rebalancing some of our investments. Christian and his committee have done an amazing job tracking our investment, making sure our endowment fund grows at a steady and safe rate of return.   

The board reviewed several documents, which will be needed for the actual grant process. One being the Guideline document, which states the rules and process to submit a grant request, the other document is the Grant Request form, which must be filled out to request funds. The grant document states grants shall be accepted and reviewed once a year. Our goal is to start receiving grant applications on May 1, 2019, and then start the review process. To achieve this, the board set up a Review Committee. This committee will be responsible for reviewing all future grants received by the Masonry Foundation.  

The grants will be ranked by staff and then sent out to the Review Committee for further discussion and ranking. The board will also establish the dollar amount of funds to be spent that year through the guidance of the Finance Committee. To make the process go smoothly, we created a spreadsheet to help with the evaluation process. At the Mid-Year Meeting, the Review Committee will meet in person to discuss each grant and meet with those who submitted a grant, if needed. The Review Committee will then send their recommendations back to the board for formal approval. The approved grants will then be announced at the Board Meeting. As you can see, we have been busy not only seeking new pledges but also getting ready to start the actual grant process. Also, at the Mid-Year Meeting, I requested the board to get back to me with any changes they would like to see in the grant process. While this is another exciting step for the Masonry Foundation, we are making sure everything is done properly.  

Although we are moving forward on the grant process, our work is far from over. We must continue to make sure the endowment fund continues to grow. This continued growth will ensure we can fund all the future needs of the masonry industry, ensuring all of us and future generations a bright and prosperous future. If you are a contractor and have not pledged, please help yourself and your industry by pledging. We also need the help of our suppliers. They represent a big part of what we are trying to achieve. I urge all of you to reach out to your suppliers and tell them to step up and support the Masonry Foundation. Contractors and suppliers working together can define the future of our industry, rather than let the future define it for them. If you need help in making your pledge or want a hand in contacting a contractor or supplier to pledge, please do not hesitate to contact Gary Joyner at garyjoyner@joynermasonry.com, Jeff Buczkiewicz at jeffb@masoncontractors.org, or me at mark@superiormasonry.com. Happy Holidays and remember to give back by making a pledge to Masonry Foundation.