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Walt joined the Foundation as the Interim Director in October of 2009, and was named full-time Executive Director in May of 2010. Prior to joining the Foundation Walt was a partner and manager in several businesses, including two bowling centers, two restaurants, a trucking company, a merchandising company and a real estate holding company.
Fraternally Walt was Worshipful Master of Grand Rapids Lodge No. 34 in 1985. He served as Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Michigan in 2006-2007 and served as Grand Treasurer of the Grand Lodge from January of 2008 until September of 2010. He is a senior member of the Order of DeMolay where he is a Past Master Councilor and a Past District Master Council. He has received the degree of Chevalier, the Legion of Honor and is a Deputy Member of the DeMolay Supreme Council. He is a Past High Priest of Grand Rapids Chapter No. 7 Royal Arch Masons, a Past Thrice Illustrious Master of Tyre Council No. 10 Royal and Select Masons, and a Past Commander of DeMolai Commandery No. 5 Knights Templar. He is a member of St. Vincent’s Conclave of the Red Cross of Constantine, he is a Past Sovereign Master of Mt. Moriah Council No. 128 Allied Masonic Degrees, and a member of the West Michigan York Rite College No. 10. In addition he is a member of Peninsular Chapter No. 65 Order of Eastern Star, Noruh Grotto M.O.V.P.E.R., the Michigan College of the Rosicrucians and Furniture City High Twelve Club. In the Scottish Rite, he is a Past Thrice Potent Master, a Past Sovereign Prince and a Past Commander-in-Chief in the Valley of Grand Rapids. He was coroneted a 33rd degree Mason in 1997 and was crowned an Active Member of the Supreme Council in 2009.
I had been working at Masonic Pathways for 3 years when the Human Resources Director came to my office with a job opportunity for the Michigan Masonic Charitable Foundation. Little did I know that a 30- minute interview with Walt Wheeler would have life changing results.
The last eight years with the Foundation have been the most rewarding of my life; it is not just a job, it’s a passion. I have learned so much about myself through the experience of serving others, affording them the opportunity to change their lives through philanthropy or receiving help through the programs we offer.
When people ask me what I do for a living, I can honestly say, “I impact lives…every day”. I am so proud of the Fraternity and the opportunities they grant to people, and I am honored to be a part of it.
I am the mother of three amazing and very busy teenage boys and in my spare time, I enjoy reading and traveling with my love.
At a very young age, strong work ethics were instilled in me. I enjoyed working and dove right into the work force. I started babysitting, working on our family farm, and at 16 I was hired into the Dietary department at Masonic Pathways. I fell in love with the residents and staff and knew this would be my work home. I was unsure exactly where I would land but I knew I wanted it to be in this organization. I have been very lucky in my career here, as doors always opened at the perfect time leading me to where I am now. Over my 20 year career I have been blessed to work with residents, staff, donors, and the fraternity. I have created long lasting bonds through the various positions I have been in. This has become my home. I graduated high school, got married, and had two beautiful daughters during my career here. I plan to have many more life milestones as I continue my career with this organization. I love what I do and what we do. I love that we can help people on every level.
Growing up in Manistee, I remember seeing that gigantic temple building next to our county Library and asking my parents what it was and who the Masons were, a question that was answered with, “I don’t know.” But then, 20 years later, even in the middle of a successful career track in marketing, communications and non-profit management, I found myself at a place in life where something was missing, and I found the values and lessons of Freemasonry were what filled that hole. I joined Holly Lodge No. 134, and have served as Worshipful Master twice and currently as Secretary.
I’m inspired by great work, which means I’m inspired on a daily basis when I see the impact Masons are making; helping each other out, building and growing their communities, and really making a difference.
When I’m not on the road meeting with Lodges or our generous supporters, I get to take my three sons Alex, Max and Nick on fantastic adventures and be inspired by them growing up as well.
The older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve come to realize that we only have a short time on this planet, so we should spend at least some of it making it a better place, and in return we tend to find that we make ourselves better people in the process.
Working at the MMCF affords me the opportunity to play to a couple of my biggest passions, community involvement and coaching. Helping lodges and their members truly make a difference is something I find very rewarding. It is my hope that before my work here is done that the MMCF and the Masonic Fraternity as a whole will be considered one of the greatest resources in the State of Michigan.
Outside of my work at the MMCF, my primary interest is my work as a dog trainer. Helping dogs and their families to establish a happy and fulfilling home life is one of my greatest satisfactions beyond my family.
Working for the Michigan Masons for my career of more than 30 years was not what my plan was when I began at Central Michigan University, but it’s something I wouldn’t trade for the world. I graduated from CMU with a degree in Recreation and Park Administration, specializing in Therapeutic Recreation to work with clients that have physical or mental health disabilities. What actually happened, I landed an internship at a local nursing home where, much to my surprise, I fell in love with working with the elderly. Eventually, I accepted the position of Director of Activities for the Michigan Masonic Home, and there I worked for the next 20 years, and then another 5 years as the Admissions Manager, where I met many wonderfully people whom I helped move into Pathways.
When I heard there may be an opening in the Michigan Masonic Charitable Foundation it really peaked my interest and I decided to apply. I was awarded the position and went on to earn my Fund Raising Executive certificate. I love utilizing my strengths of creativity to build relationships to help our donors fulfill their philanthropy passions. I enjoy giving back to the community and to the causes that speak to my heart, and I aspire to be even more philanthropic as the years go by. I also am very fulfilled by working in the Masonic Home where I interact with and fundraise for the seniors that I love.
My home life is pretty hectic as I have 2 grown children and 3 grown step-children, one grandchild, 2 dogs and 2 cats. Those who know me well can tell you I would have a lot more animals if it weren’t for my husband “putting his size 12 boot down.” I love to read, watch movies, flower garden and work on assorted craft projects. My husband and I also like camping and boating.
Dirk W. Hughes was raised a Master Mason in Valley City Lodge #86 (now Grand Rapids Lodge #34) in 1996, where he served as Worshipful Master for two terms from 2001 to 2003. He recently served again as Worshipful Master in Grand Rapids Lodge #34 for the 2014-2015 term. Active in the Scottish Rite NMJ, Brother Hughes served as Thrice Potent Master of Moriah Lodge of Perfection in 2007-2008 and was coroneted a 33° Mason in 2010. He has had a lifelong love of history and feels his B.A. in English and Juris Doctor degree act as strong compliments to that continuing devotion. In his spare time he enjoys writing, painting, camping, and beekeeping. Brother Hughes has been the interim monitor of the Michigan Masonic Museum and Library since April 2014. In his new capacity as Director, he looks forward to evolving the museum as a premier source of masonic and historical education for the fraternity and the general public alike.
I started my journey of helping those around me when I was just a little girl. My great grandmother was not well. During one of our last visits with her she had needed some extra assistance getting around and I was eager to step in. That day I realized I wanted to help people but at that point I didn’t know how. I progressed through my schooling and found out about Certified Nurses Aid (CNA) classes. I completed the CNA certification in High School and shortly thereafter I was hired by Masonic Pathways in 2005. My years at the Pathways building have been a very rewarding experience and has helped me fulfill my core desire to assist others through numerous positions within the building. Whether it was helping the residents and their families as a CNA, activity aid, or receptionist, my co-workers while in the Human Resources Department, or our donors and Masons in my current position with the Charitable Foundation. I’ve learned how much the Foundation helps residents of Pathways and the communities throughout Michigan through the generosity of our wonderful donors and Masonic Lodges. In my time working here I have graduated college obtaining a degree in Applied Health Sciences, gotten married, had my two beautiful little girls, and settled down in the little countryside of Sumner. As the current Administrative & Database Assistant I look forward to helping you with your Matching Funds needs and any other general support I can give.
Please indicate the following:
Which of the following is most important to you:
Income tax deduction/benefits
Capital gains tax deductions/benefits
Giving without affecting my disposable income
Providing financial security for myself and family
Making a gift of cash, appreciated securities, real estate or personal property.
Making a gift of appreciated securities, real estate or personal property.
A gift of life insurance or a gift of personal property.
Creating a charitable lead trust.
Establishing a regular income for myself, my spouse or loved ones
Keeping control of my assets
Saving on or avoiding estate taxes
Income tax deduction/benefits
Creating a Charitable Gift Annuity or a charitable remainder trust.
Leaving a bequest in your will or living trust, and naming the MMCF a beneficiary of retirement plan assets, life insurance, bank accounts or investment accounts.
Leaving a bequest in your will or living trust, and naming the MMCF a beneficiary of retirement plan assets or life insurance, or creating a charitable remainder trust.
Creating a Charitable gift annuity, a gift of life insurance, or creating a charitable remainder trust
Here are three examples of ‘bequest language’ you can use in your will or estate plans. Please remember that you should review all legal documents and language with your financial or legal advisor.
I give the sum of $________ to the Michigan Masonic Charitable Foundation, located at 1200 Wright Ave., Alma, Mich., 48801.
I give all the rest, residue, and remainder of my estate to the Michigan Masonic Charitable Foundation, located at 1200 Wright Ave., Alma, Mich., 48801.
I give, devise and bequeath _______% of my estate to the Michigan Masonic Charitable Foundation, located at 1200 Wright Ave., Alma, Mich., 48801.