Springfield-based Masonic foundation donates $100K to Memorial Day tornado victims

The Ohio Masonic Home Foundation, which is located in Springfield, has partnered with the Dayton Masonic Center Foundation to donate over $100,000 in tornado relief.

The Ohio Masonic Home Foundation and the Dayton Masonic Center Foundation joined together to help seniors in distress as a result of the Memorial Day tornadoes.

“When you see a brick house with half of it just completely gone- you know you have to do something,” said John White, Corporate Director of Treasury for the Ohio Masonic Home.

The two organizations formed the Ohio Masonic Home Foundation Tornado Relief Fund of the Dayton Foundation, which a $100,000 grant from the Ohio Masonic Home Foundation and a $10,000 grant from the Dayton Masonic Center Foundation.

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A record 15 tornadoes hit southwest Ohio on Memorial Day, including four that damaged Montgomery County. The most destructive, rated an EF4 by the National Weather Service, tore a broad swath from Brookville to Riverside.

Early assessments show more than 2,200 structures in Montgomery County uninhabitable.

A tornado that hit Beavercreek did significant damage, too, to residential properties and businesses.

While spared by the damage, Clark and Champaign county residents stepped up to assist their neighboring counties. Within days of the tornadoes touching down, residents organized water and food drives in order to help those left without power.

White said the partnership was formed because both organizations saw their communities step up and wanted to assist themselves.

“It’s been really awesome to see everyone really come together,” White said. “For the first three weeks, everyone was really in ‘phase one’ of emergency relief, which means just getting people what they needed right then. We were looking for something that was more about the long haul.”

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Money raised through the fund will go directly to non-profits who specialize in helping individuals ages 55 and older in need. White said there are a handful of non-profits that work specifically with seniors, some of which are the Red Cross and United Senior Services.

“But in order to be most effective we have to be aware of what the needs are,” White said. “We are still looking into what the best issue is that we can tackle right now.”

Michael Parks, president of the Dayton Foundation, said the foundation is “pleased to assist,” the Ohio Masonic Home Foundation in helping to find appropriate causes to which it can contribute.

“There still is so much work to be done to help individuals impacted by the tornadoes,” Parks said. “This fund will provide critical resources for nonprofits that are assisting our region’s older adults with recovery and rebuilding in the months and year ahead.”

The fund will be open to the public for donation until further notice. Those interested in contributing to the Ohio Masonic Home Foundation Tornado Relief Fund of the Dayton Foundation can do so at daytonfoundation.org.

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