In January 2001, a statewide team of Mason volunteers in over 400 communities began working with local elementary schools through an effort called the Beacon Project. From mentoring students to lending the manpower needed to improve school grounds, Michigan Masons wanted to show their commitment to improving the experience and educational opportunities of children in their communities.
The genesis for the Beacon Project came from Bob Conley, the Grand Master of Michigan Masons in 2000/2001. "This pledge gives Masons the opportunity to make a difference and make themselves known. Too long in the background, and often shrouded in mystery, our Fraternity is eager to demonstrate its important role in society. Masons need to revitalize, to make real, the values and commitments they stand for and it's my job as Grand Master to support that goal. Beacon is the perfect vehicle for that," said Conley.
Over the next three years, more than 200,000 volunteer hours had been donated - the largest gift ever of its kind in Michigan. The Michigan State Department of Education called the Beacon Project "wonderful." The governor called it "outstanding." We call it the right move at the right time.