The Masonry Foundation Awards First Grants

Words: Tim O’Toole 

The Masonry Foundation has awarded grants for the first time, thanks to many generous pledges to the Foundation. 

“We are all very excited to have reached our initial goal of fundraising and being able to fund our first grants from The Masonry Foundation,” said Mike Sutter, Chairman of The Masonry Foundation.  “We are looking forward to funding grants each year to continue to make our industry stronger.” 

Several grant requests were received and each was thoroughly evaluated by The Masonry Foundation Review Committee based on the relevance to the Foundation’s mission statement and the guidelines outlined in the grant application process.  The committee submitted its recommendations for funding to The Masonry Foundation Board for final approval at the MCAA Midyear Meeting in New Hampshire. 

The Masonry Foundation is excited to announce the selection of the following requests: 

Masonry Foundation Grant Request for GWAMA 

The Greater Waco Advanced Manufacturing Academy (GWAMA) began a construction science curriculum two years ago, and masonry is one of the five trades included in this new curriculum. Brazos Masonry, Inc. supported this initiative with a $5,000 donation at the beginning of the program. 

The masonry program for the Academy strives to achieve the following objectives: 

  • Students that have chosen masonry as their primary focus will be ready to be hired as a competent apprentice mason. 
  • Students will have completed a minimum of the OSHA 10-hour course and have their forklift operator’s license. 

Marshalltown Trowel has agreed to work with The Masonry Foundation to provide annual support of requests for tools for masonry training programs like GWAMA.  Stabila has agreed to supply levels for the program.  The Masonry Foundation has already provided GWAMA with the tools requested, and would like to thank Marshalltown and Stabila for their generosity and support. 

North Carolina Masonry Contractors Association Workforce Development Initiative 

The North Carolina Masonry Contractors Association (NCMCA) is well into the second year of a major workforce development initiative, already producing positive results, which has implications for workforce development and recruitment all across the country.  “Best practices” and templates for recruitment programs are already being shared with sister masonry promotional groups. 

In one of the program’s first successes, NCMCA worked with the North Carolina Community College system’s ApprenticeshipNC division to create the state’s first association-sponsored pre-apprentice program.  The new program allows high school students sixteen or older to work for mason contractors for a guaranteed hourly wage of at least $12.00 per hour, and earn high school credit toward graduation.  Approximately one hundred students participated as masonry pre-apprentices during the summer of 2019. 

The Masonry Foundation Board has approved $20,000 in funding for one year of the program.  

Masonry Craft Training 

The Florida Concrete Masonry Education Council, Inc. (FCMEC) proposed, in partnership with NCCER and Pearson Education, to expand the existing NCCERconnect system to include masonry craft training.  NCCERconnect is currently being used to provide trainees with available and accessible online training in several construction occupations, including electricians and carpenters. 

This project will extend that availability to the masonry industry by adapting the NCCER masonry craft curriculum to a digital, Internet-based format that can be used by individuals.  The program will adapt three levels of masonry training, including safety and Level 1 basic training.  Once developed, the program can be used by masonry training programs throughout the nation. 

The FCMEC has received matching funds totaling $100,000 for this project from the National Concrete Masonry Association (NCMA) and CareerSource North Central Florida (a local area workforce development board), and through its own matching funds.  The Masonry Foundation Board approved a grant for $15,000 to finalize all costs and ensure that the project is brought to fruition.   

AZ Masonry Council’s 2019 Direct Design Software Campaign 

The Arizona Masonry Council (AMC) has chosen to promote Direct Design Software Version 3 (DDSv3) as one of its central education and promotional efforts as part of its strategic plan for 2019.  The program is designed to have two primary objectives: 

  1. Increase awareness within the Arizona Structural Engineering community of the availability of the Direct Design Software and benefits and advantages of utilizing the software when designing masonry projects. 
  1. Drive utilization of the software by providing structural engineers with Direct Design Software and follow up training sessions, and provide opportunities for users to give feedback to software developers and request additional training support over the course of twelve months. 

The campaign encompasses various marketing communication strategies, instructional delivery methods, and data collection to increase awareness of the software, increase usage, and measure success. 

A grant of $5,530 was approved to help support funding of this program. 

Workforce Development in the Iowa Prison System 

The Masonry Institute of Iowa (MII) has examined alternatives in workforce development, including a partnership with the Iowa Prison System that introduces and trains current inmates in masonry using the NCCER masonry curriculum.  Through this initiative, the MII’s goal is to increase the Iowa masonry workforce and provide sustainable career options for inmates upon release. 

MII will start by introducing the NCCER masonry training program at Anamosa State Penitentiary, which houses approximately 950 inmates and has the capacity to host a masonry training program.  The program will be facilitated annually, and it will take three to four years for a student to complete the entire curriculum. 

$2,325 in funding has been approved by The Masonry Foundation Board, in addition to the development of video training that was addressed in the Masonry Craft Training grant request. 

Texas Masonry Council – Construction Digital Campaign 

The Texas Masonry Council (TMC) will lead and coordinate the creation of an innovative, engaging, and educational digital marketing kit that will turn existing masonry construction cost studies and reports into usable information targeted at architects, engineers, general contractors, building owners/investors, and consumers.  The project will include the creation of printed materials, website development, and video production. 

The Masonry Foundation will provide a grant of $5,000 to match funds from the local group. The program will be able to be utilized beyond the Texas market and supports the goals of the Foundation to raise awareness of the benefits of masonry. 

“The future just got brighter for your company and the masonry industry, thanks to The Masonry Foundation.  We are finally controlling our future rather than reacting to it,” said Mark Kemp, Review Committee Chairman. 

The Masonry Foundation works on projects to benefit the masonry industry including high-quality education, in-depth research, and overall promotion of the masonry industry.  Grants are awarded once each year at the Association’s annual Midyear Meeting. The grant submission process opens on June 15; applications are due by July 15 of each year for consideration at the MCAA Midyear Meeting. 

The Foundation is still developing its corpus with a goal to reach $5,000,000.  Currently, about half of that amount is in the corpus with an additional $2,000,000 committed.  Once the goal is reached and all dollars are collected, it is estimated that total grant values will be close to $100,000.  This year approximately $50,000 were granted. 

Visit www.masonryfoundation.org to learn more about The Masonry Foundation, the grant process, and for details on how to make a pledge.