Founded in 1936, the Sadir Kahn Grotto, the Spokane chapter of the national Grotto organization for Master Masons, has distributed thousands of dollars to benefit charities in the Inland Northwest. Their charitable giving over eight decades has made a difference for countless families and children with special needs, and local Grotto members are now taking steps to ensure that impact is felt well into the future.
Members of the Sadir Khan Grotto have transferred the assets of their two private foundations – Good Fellows Charities and Grotto Foundation – to establish a $1 million endowment at Innovia Foundation.
“Our Grotto is getting way down in membership numbers,” said Ron Schmidt, a longtime member of the Sadir Khan Grotto. “I’m 80 and one of the younger ones. One of these days, the organization is no longer going to be here. Innovia is going to take care of the money and make sure the funds continue to go to the organizations that our Grotto has supported for a lot of years, even after we’re gone.”
In 1967, the Sadir Khan opened the Grotto Children’s Home, a hospital and dormitory for children with disabilities in a mansion on Summit Boulevard in Spokane’s West Central neighborhood. In 1980, the Grotto closed the hospital and sold the property.
Proceeds from the sale helped establish the Grotto’s private foundations, which have provided approximately $40,000 to $50,000 each year to charities in the Spokane area, including the Women and Children’s Free Restaurant, Spokane Guilds’ School, community food banks and numerous other organizations that benefit local children and families.
In addition to providing future security for the Grotto funds, Innovia will also alleviate the complex administrative responsibilities that come with operating a private foundation.
“By outsourcing the professional activities to Innovia, those interested in its mission can continue to do what they wanted, have an input on causes and charities to support, without the administrative obligations,” said Travis Prewitt of UBS Financial Services, Sadir Khan’s financial advisor who pointed the Grotto members to Innovia.
Despite the Grotto’s great charitable impact over the years, the once robust organization has shrunk to just 65 members today, and like many other fraternal organizations, that number is expected to continue falling.
Dale Cooper, Grotto member and president of the former Grotto Foundation, said that the diminishing membership is a sign of the times. However, he takes comfort in the fact that even with Sadir Khan Grotto’s uncertain future, the new Good Fellows-Grotto Foundation at Innovia will continue to support the causes that matter to them most.
“I’ve been on the board of the Grotto foundations for 15 years. I used to sign the checks and hand deliver as many of them as I could to the charities. That made this old heart feel so good,” Cooper said. “It makes me so happy to know that our tradition of charitable work – and the Grotto name – will continue long after we’re gone.”