As part of an ongoing "Meet the Team" blog series, we invited the Directors from each of the Scottish Rite, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction's various departments to share some of their insights based on their specific area of expertise. Learn more about our Scottish Rite Charities from Walter F. Wheeler, 33°, Director of Charities, who shares what each of these worthy causes means to him.

Walt Wheeler, 33°

As a more than 40-year member of this great fraternity I have had the opportunity to be involved in many different aspects of Freemasonry. I can say without hesitation that that the most impactful area on my own life, in so many ways, has been my involvement with our Scottish Rite Charities.

Children's Dyslexia Centers

In 1995 I was asked to chair the start-up committee responsible for raising funds to build a Children’s Dyslexia Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I went on to serve as the first Chairman of the Board of Governors for our Center and was able to personally see the impact our Centers have, not only on the students, but on their families as well. Watching students gain confidence as they advance through the program is inspiring. Hearing from parents how this tutoring has improved their lives in so many ways is heartwarming. Our Dyslexia Centers are changing lives! We are giving these students the tools to succeed, and many of them will reach levels that would never have been possible without the support of Scottish Rite, and Brothers like you.

Abbott Scholarship Fund

I’ve also personally seen the impact of the Leon M. Abbott Scholarship Fund, one of our oldest charities. These scholarships provide financial support for the undergraduate and graduate education of Scottish Rite Masons, their children, grandchildren and members of our Masonic youth groups. I know many Abbott Scholarship recipients who have shared with me how appreciative they are for our support. My own son has received scholarships from the Rite and is now a double doctoral candidate at Michigan State University in Physics and Mathematics. A good education is expensive, and we should all be proud of the role we are playing in helping these students realize their dreams.

Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library

Being a bit of a history buff, I am also a big supporter of our Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library in Lexington, Massachusetts. If you have never experienced the Masonic Museum & Library in person, I would encourage you to visit. The Museum is home to over 17,000 objects related to American Freemasonry, fraternalism and American History, and the Van Gorden-Williams Library and Archives has over 60,000 books and 1,600 serial titles for members to enjoy. I am very excited about our new Masonic Hall of Fame, opening at the Museum this October. To our knowledge, this will be the first Masonic Hall of Fame in the country. Exciting times!

Membership Education Fund

The Scottish Rite’s Membership Education Fund is our newest charity and provides support for programs like the Hauts Grades Academy, Thursday Night at the Rite, and our Virtual Reunions. Your Supreme Council Membership team has been hard at work, creating numerous ways to keep our membership engaged, and our need for connection has never been greater. Thousands of us have taken advantage of these programs and others, which are all designed to improve our Scottish Rite experience.

Grand Almoner's Fund

The final charity I’d like to highlight is the Grand Almoner’s Fund, which truly embodies the vision statement of the Scottish Rite: “We will strive to be a fraternity that fulfills our Masonic obligation to care for our members.” I have had the privilege of seeing first-hand how this fund has changed the lives of many Brothers and their families in need of assistance. From hurricanes, floods and fires to medical emergencies, accidents and funerals – the Almoner’s Fund has been there to help people in some of their darkest moments.

One of my proudest experiences as a Mason was seeing the Almoner’s Fund help the family of a Brother who was tragically killed in a car accident. He left behind a wife and three young children, and his fourth child was born just the day after he was buried. Scottish Rite led the way in making sure that this young family had a roof over their heads. I still get teary-eyed when I think about how we were able to make that horrible time just a little easier.

Over the years, witnessing our Charities change so many lives for the better has changed my life as well. I am so proud to be a Scottish Rite Mason. Because of you, my Brothers, the world is a better place.

Read the rest of our Meet the Team series:

How the Path Forward Changed My Life

Design in the Lodge Room

Tech Tips

The Value of Being a Scottish Rite Mason

On the Path Forward