HISTORY OF THE CRYPTIC MASONS MEDICAL RESEARCH FOUNDATION, INC.
The Cryptic Masons Medical Research Foundation, (CMMRF), was incorporated in the state of Oklahoma, March 6, 1986. The driving force behind this new corporation was Most Puissant General Grand Master Ben Mandlebaum, of the General Grand Council, Cryptic Masons International. Companion Joe Lewis, Attorney at Law, was instrumental in quickly getting the Foundation a tax-exempt status. CMMRF also had a tax attorney, James A. Hogue, PMIGM in Oklahoma. These men generously donated their time to the initial start-up of the Foundation. Earlier, at the meeting of the “General Grand Council Benevolent Foundation, Inc. held on November 11, 1985, Marion Keith Crum, Past Most Illustrious Grand Master of the Grand Council, Cryptic Masons of Indiana, was elected Executive Secretary of the Foundation. Most Illustrious Companion Crum continued to faithfully serve in this position until his retirement in October 2012, a period of almost twenty-seven years.
CMMRF funds research at Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, Indiana. Initial research focused on the cause(s) and eventually a cure for atherosclerosis and its complications. In later years, the research has implemented adult stem cell therapies to address a variety of mature health issues but not necessarily restricted to the adult population. This research was previously funded by an Indiana corporation, which ceased to do business upon the death of Dr. Owen L. Shanteau, October 17, 1985. While CMMRF is not a part of that preceding organization and the General Grand Council was not its governing body, CMMRF is continuing the good work that it started. Dr. Shanteau met with Dr. Nils Bang at the Indiana University Medical Center in 1978 and discussed this new venture. Dr. Shanteau was able to give a grant of $12,000.00 a year to this project, which was being done on a part time basis. The former Foundation gave the Medical Center grants totaling $96,000.00.
Dr. Nils Bang, one of the founding researchers connected with the program, suggested that the most efficient way of investing the money donated by The Cryptic Masons International was to invest it in the salaries of young, talented investigators. Many of these investigators had papers summarizing their work accepted for presentation at the prestigious national conference of the American Federation for Clinical Research. (In order to have papers accepted, the subject matter must have been about new findings, not previously published.) All of these Doctors have moved on to more substantial positions and are no longer at Indiana University. CMMRF assumes they are still using their experience in the various fields of research.
At the February 1996 Board of Trustees meeting in Washington D.C. The Board agreed to fund a Chair at the Indiana University Medical Center at the cost of one million dollars. CMMRF contributed two hundred thousand dollars a year for five years to endow the chair. The final payment was made in December of 2000. The University offered as an incentive to guarantee a five per cent income on the endowment plus matching it with a five percent payout from the endowment.
Sometime in 2001-2002 the CMMRF-sponsored laboratory became the Indiana Center for Vascular Biology and Medicine, (ICVBM). After a 3-year search for the best person to fill this newly created Chair, Dr. Keith March was selected. The creation of an endowed chair and this new Center attracted more than $2,000,000 from non-Masonic sources. Dr. March served in this position until his resignation September 30, 2017. After an in-depth search, Dr. Jay Hess, Dean of the Indiana University School of Medicine, announced on July 17, 2018, that Dr. Michael P. Murphy had been selected as the next holder of the Cryptic Masons Medical Research Foundation Chair.
In 2007, a non-Masonic benefactor challenged CMMRF to match his $50,000.00 donation to the Indiana Center of Vascular Biology and Medicine. By meeting his challenge, CMMRF contributed $300,000.00 to ICVBM in 2007. In 2008 a Cryptic Mason donated $20,000.00 which CMMRF matched and it enabled CMMRF to give $240,000.00 to the Center for research. Today, upon requests, CMMRF will match $5,000 donations, up to $25,000.
Contributions are urgently needed. Most CMMRF donations are voluntary. Only three known jurisdictions have included CMMRF in their per capita dues. This is a decision that must be made by each Grand Council and not the General Grand Council. (CMMRF recommends that each jurisdiction consider this a worthy cause to be added to its per capita dues.) This is one reason a life sponsor program is not attractive to our members, we cannot offer them a savings for being a life sponsor. Contributions to CMMRF are tax deductible and that does have some appeal. CMMRF encourages all individuals as well as Cryptic Masons and their families to consider remembering CMMRF in their estate planning.
From time to time CMMRF publishes and makes available upon request, updated brochures, flyers, and supplementary information. Currently, research videos are downloadable from our web site, www.cmmrf.org.
In recognition of donations to CMMRF, there are six lapel pins presented to contributors for donations totaling $50.00, $100.00, $150.00, $300.00, $500.00 and $750.00. A plaque is presented to the Council or individual for a $1,000.00 donation. An individual receives a gold filled 9 Arch Pin with a diamond chip for each additional $1,000.00. After the first $1,000.00 a Council is presented with an extender bar for its plaque for each additional $1,000.00. These donations may be a one-time gift or an accumulation over the years since 1986.
The Board of Trustees meets at least once a year. The Deputy General Grand Master serves as the President during his triennial. The current President is William G. Snyder RPDGGM. The Executive Secretary is Gary G. Wyne, (PMIGM, Indiana); The Office Manager is Ms. Meranda Hillock; P.O. Box 210 Brownsburg, IN 46112-0210.
Each year CMMRF has continued to grow in financial assets. Expenses are paid from investment income. As of December 31, 2020, CMMRF had received $6,539,658.55 in total contributions, 1986 - 2020. CMMRF has given the Indiana University School of Medicine $5,419,464.86 from 1986 to 2020. Prior to restructuring the foundation in 1986, the former foundation gave $96,000.00 to the Medical Center for research. CMMRF has approximately $4,337,000 in financial assets.
Thank you for your efforts on behalf of the Foundation. CMMRF could not achieve its goals without your help.