Welcome to the Internet Home of
Braden Lodge #168
Ancient Free & Accepted Masons of Minnesota
5149 Bloomington Ave S
Minneapolis MN 55417
Last night Braden Lodge had it's annual finance meeting to determine dues for the upcoming year. Treasurer David Allison presented the numbers from last year as well as projections for the current year and two years going forward. These projections will be made available in the Member's section of the website.
Though we had been in the black last year, a variety of factors changed this year that resulted in a projected budget deficit going forward. The biggest factor was that our investments had been centered around oil pipelines which were generating significant dividend income. However, with the fall of oil prices, and the resulting curbing of domestic oil production, the need for new pipelines has correspondingly diminished. With the stock value falling, and no turn around in sight, the trustees opted to divest from that stock and seek other investments. It's still early and consequently difficult to predict the ultimate fruitfulness of the new investments, but based on the first four months of this year, it looks like our dividend income will be down somewhat from the previous levels.
Additionally, some expenses have gone up. We raised the Secretary's gift this year and started paying the Cooks as well. The rent that we pay Arcana is also going to be going up a bit (it had been extremely low). All this resulted in possible deficits of $1,000 to $3,000/year going forward depending on a variety of variable factors (performance of investments, how many new members join, how many donations are received, etc.)
For the most part the brothers had three options to choose from. A) Raising dues B) Raising money via other means C) Channeling more of our investment money into expenses and away from reinvestment. It was generally agreed upon that the third option was not a good long term strategy. Regarding dues, to cover the expenses going forward, they would have to go up by at least $10/year and potentially up to an additional $25/year. However, in the past, a large rise in the dues did not bring about additional revenue as fewer brothers were able to keep up with the increase. So ultimately it was resolved that we would use the next year to attempt some fundraising activities.
Last year Braden put on a Halloween event called "A Bump in the Night" that was part haunted dinner party and part puzzle room. It was done as a fundraiser for Arcana's building fund and raised $1,150. Building upon that success and spreading it out over two weekends, instead of just one, we have the potential to raise roughly $4,000 in that one fuindraiser alone. There has also been talk of reviving the Como Roast Beef Dinner which could probably be expected to raise $500 to $1,000. We also are considering a program to reward brothers who opt to voluntarily pay above the required $74 dues amount (Did you know that 100 years ago, the typical standard for dues was considered to be one week's wages?)
We are optimistic that with the help of all the brothers in working and promoting these fundraisers, we can not only cover our shortfalls, but also raise additional money for our scholarship and Brother's Relief Fund, while keeping membership affordable for all of our brothers.
Braden Lodge isn't about food. And yet, for the last several years, a well done meal has been an integral part of our fraternal fabric. With at least one professional chef and several other talented cooks, coming to Lodge for a meal is generally a worthwhile endeavor. In return, we ask our brothers to chip in $5 towards the cost of the meal, which for what you get is quite a deal. However brothers don't always have cash on them and running credit cards is a bit ambitious (and who carries around checks anymore?)
To make payments more convenient we have come up with a meal punch card. You can buy the card for any amount between $20 and $100, carry it around in your wallet, and then just get it punched when it comes time to eat. It's as easy as pie, and on some nights will even get you some pie! You can buy the cards from the Lodge Secretary or you can order them online through this very web site under the Payments heading. Each punch is worth $5 and they never expire.
Remember, dinners are now held on our Fellowship nights on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays as well as some other Thursdays when the calendar allows. For our stated meetings, we will have a snack afterwards instead of a meal.
The smell of garlic is in the air, wafting up from the ovens on the floor below. As you listen to brothers chime in, one after another on some issue, ypur thoughts increasingly turn to your stomach, hoping to hear the words "Let us proceed to close." Such was our tradition for several years. At the end of each business meeting we would conclude with a meal. It made for great fellowship after the meetings, but it also sometimes made for eating dinner at 10pm.
At our first meeting in March we proposed moving our meals to our Fellowship nights on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of the month (still reserving the 5th Thursday for special outings). The benefits would be that dinners would be served at a more resonable hour, the people doing the cooking wouldn't need to miss the business meetings (a particular problem this year as most of our cooks are officers), and it would be easier on the cooks as they could serve the food on a predictable schedule instead of trying to have it ready at the end of a meeting of indeterminate length. Consequently at our second meeting in March we approved the resolution.
The first such meal took place this past Thursday in conjuntion with the Socrates Cafe. It seemed to work out well as we had approximately 21 brothers and 4 prospective members present. We had a good discussion on the role of beauty in our lives, weaving it together with strength and wisdom. We also had a great meal of homemade lasagna, salad, and breadsticks.
In the meantime, we will of course still continue to have stated communications which will be followed by a snack and coffee rather than a meal. The next meal will be April 14th in conjunction with the introduction of Franklin's Academy. On that night we will feature a speaker from an organization called the Face It Foundation who will be speaking on depression and how it affects men in particular. The event is open to all Braden members, prospective members, and members of other lodges who wish to visit.
If you're a first time visitor to this website, you may be wondering, where are all of the articles from before March of 2016? The answer of course is that this newsletter is brand new as of this month. We started it because we recognizie that not all of our brothers are able to actively participate in lodge and may feel out of touch at times. We also have people curious about what our lodge does and if it's something they may want to be a part of. So for both of those groups and others we present this newsletter. While much of the rest of this website is devoted to telling you about what is coming up, the goal here is to let everyone know about the things we have done and how they went. We hope you'll enjoy reading the articles, but even moreso, we hope they'll inspire you to come out and join us.