News & Events

News & Events

Scholarship Applications Open December 1

Students interested in applying for a Minnesota Masonic Charities Scholarship may do so beginning December 1, 2019. A number of generous awards are available to individuals meeting our criteria. For more information, please click here.


University of Minnesota Showcases New Initiative on the Developing Brain

Hundreds of guests joined U of M faculty to hear about the new Developing Brain initiative.

On October 22, the University of Minnesota hosted their annual “Discovery Showcase,” which highlights new initiatives and advances there. This year’s Showcase focused entirely on “The Wonder Years,” setting the stage for the University’s launch of an institute for child and adolescent brain health, the first of its kind in the world.

Hundreds of guests attended the showcase, walking through seven exciting exhibits explaining key issues the institute would address, including counteracting trauma, curbing threats to mental health, preventing substance use and finding autism faster. The idea is, pardon the pun, a no-brainer: investing in early childhood and adolescent brain health makes for a healthier society.

University President Joan T.A. Gabel kicked off dinner at the McNamara Alumni Center following the exhibit reception. Afterward, Medical School Dean Jakub Tolar, M.D., Ph.D. and College of Education and Human Development Dean Jean K. Quam, M.S.W., Ph.D., answered questions regarding their hopes for the institute and why it is the perfect time for it.

“The University leads in areas of developmental neuroscience, brain biology, pediatrics, child psychology,” said Dr. Tolar. “Joining these forces together will have a true multiplier effect. This is what makes us uniquely qualified to create a world-class institute.”


Compassionate care helps family deal with loss

The Steger family with Dani Wiklund, RN, center.

You may be aware of the Masonic Mission Awards, which were developed by Minnesota Masonic Charities as a way to honor staff members of the Masonic Children’s Hospital at University of Minnesota. Much as our “Champions of Care” program at Minnesota Masonic Home, the Masonic Mission Awards recognize the exemplary care provided by those who every day endeavor to improve the quality of life of their patients and families.

This quarter, nurse Dani Wiklund was nominated by the Steger family to receive the Masonic Mission Award. Chad and Jenna Steger lost their baby, Viona, to a chromosomal abnormality called Trisomy 18, but not until they brought Viona to Masonic Children’s Hospital.

“We had been to four, maybe five hospitals by that time,” said Chad, “but Masonic was by far the best. The compassion, the care is just amazing there.”

Dani supported the small family, including 3-year-old sister to Viona, Liivi, as they were given their infant’s diagnosis, and through their difficult stay at the hospital.

Said Chad, “From the small things like reassuring words to the bigger things like answering our questions about every test, poke, prod, and wire that we were watching happen to our little girl, Dani did it all with a smile and humble presence that made it all ok.” 

It takes what we like to call “earth angels” to ease the burden of a young family’s heartbreak. Thank you, Ms. Wicklund, for your amazing care.


70 1/2 year olds, pay attention!

Tax-WISE giving…and avoiding penalties

How a Qualified Charitable Distribution from an IRA Works. 

Normally, when you take a distribution from a traditional IRA, you pay taxes on it since you didn’t pay taxes on the money when you put it into your IRA. But if you are age 70½ or older and make a contribution directly from your traditional IRA to a qualified charity, you can donate up to $100,000 without it being considered a taxable distribution.

To avoid paying taxes on the donation, you must follow the IRS’s rules for qualified charitable distributions (QCDs), also called charitable IRA rollovers. Most nonprofit charities like Minnesota Masonic Charities (wink wink) are qualified charities. The charity you give to will not have to pay taxes on your donation.

You can also use your qualified charitable donation to meet all or part of your IRA’s required minimum distribution (RMD) for the year. Traditional IRA owners must start taking RMDs at age 70½ or face tax penalties. The charity must receive your donation by Dec. 31 for you to apply it to that year’s tax return.

If you have any question, please call John Schwietz at Minnesota Masonic Charities 651-210-5240 or email him at john.schwietz@mnmasonic.org.


Veteran’s Day Observance

Please join Minnesota Masonic Charities in observance of Veteran’s Day on November 11, 2019 at 11:30 a.m. This free event will be held on the Masonic Campus in Dan Patch Hall, and will include a light lunch, presentations, and a performance by JS Trio. Register: lauren.ide@mnmasonic.org.