The Lincoln Scottish Rite Preservation Foundation
Since the beginning, Scottish Rite Masons have served the community through our philanthropies. Today, the Lincoln Scottish Rite Preservation Foundation supports several principal philanthropies:
RITECARE SPEECH AND LANGUAGE CLINIC
In 1976, Scottish Rite Masons saw the immense value of providing evaluation and therapy to children with speech and language disorders. Recalling the foundation of speech and language services, Dr. Shelden Stick of the University of Nebraska recalled,
"During 1975, I met with [Judge] Herb Ronin, Sovereign Grand Inspector General in Nebraska, in his chambers, and discussed my idea for having the Nebraska Scottish Rite Masons become engaged in supporting clinical services for selected children presenting various types of language and learning disorders, despite an apparent ability for normal cognitive development. The first clinician was hired in 1976 at the Barkley Memorial Center. It was an arrangement ofScottish Rite Masons paying a defined number of dollars for each hour of clinical treatment, or maybe it was per child given services. I was chairing the UNL Department of Speech and Language Pathology & Audiology at that time and worked out a process for having the clinician become a member of the faculty (non-tenured appointment).
The Scottish Rite Masonic funding went directly toward salary and benefits and by-passed the typical mechanism of requiring that a percentage of external monies go toward institutional overhead. It was a long time ago but a guess is that saved between 12 and 22 percent of funds transferred to UNL. By having the clinician appointed as a faculty person it allowed for providing UNL benefits to that individual. Theobjective was to ensure that children presenting a specific kind of problem were provided with the kind(s) of treatments needed to facilitate their development, and concomitantly to provide appropriate family supports.
My opinion is that Judge Ronin's intellect, sensitivity toward persons needing assistance, life experiences including having served in the European Theater during World War II, and concern for humanity were pivotal for getting the Program started and enabling it to flourish. "
Today, over 1,000 children are served statewide through RiteCare Clinics, located at the Barkley Memorial Center on the UNL East Campus, through the UNMC Munroe-Meyer Institute in Omaha, the RiteCare Clinic at the Hastings, Nebraska Masonic Center, and through the University of Nebraska at Kearney Communication Disorders Department. A satellite clinic in Alliance is served through telemedicine technology through the UNK Clinic. In total, Scottish Rite Masons donate over $680,000 in the past year toward salaries, services, and programs.
THE DISTINGUISHED TEACHER OF THE YEAR AWARD
In 1964, Scottish Rite Masons recognized the need to acknowledge a teacher in the Lincoln Public Schools who merited special acknowledgement for his or her dedication to students. Since then, the Distinguished Teacher of the Year award has been given each year to a remarkable teacher with a stipend of $3,000 for the teacher to use any way she or he chooses. For fifty years, the Distinguished Teachers' portraits have been displayed in the officers of the Lincoln Public Schools, and the award is considered the most prestigious award given to a teacher.
PRESERVATION FOR THE HISTORIC SCOTTISH RITE MASONIC CENTER
As the Scottish Rite Masonic Center in Lincoln approached its 100th anniversary, the leadership recognized the need for renovations and upgrades to the aging but structurally and historically significant building. A $3,000,000 campaign was launched and work has since been undertaken, restoring the bronze lanterns on the front, tuckpointing the exterior brickwork, and most recently upgrading the HVAC system. This will yield significant monthly savings on utilities. The second phase of the capital campaign will renovate the entrance, foyer, and ballroom, promoting the use of rentals for weddings and events, to create a stable revenue base.
If you would like to help support the Distinguished Teacher of the Year Award, RiteCare Speech and Language Services, or donate toward the renovation and maintenance of Lincoln's historic Scottish Rite Masonic Center, you can donate online or call (402) 435-2144 for more options.