History of CMMRF


Our Philanthropy’s History

The Cryptic Masons Medical Research Foundation (CMMRF) was incorporated in the state of Oklahoma on March 6, 1986.  The driving force behind this new corporation was Most Puissant General Grand Master Ben Mandlebaum.  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 of 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 of Cryptic Masons of Indiana, was elected Executive Secretary of the Foundation.  Most Illustrious Companion Crum faithfully serverd the Foundation for almost twenty-seven years, until his retirement in October of 2012.

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. His previous foundation gave the Medical Center grants totaling $96,000.00.

Dr. Nils Bang, one of the founding researchers connected with the start of CMMRF, suggested that the most efficient way of investing the money donated by 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.)  

At the February 1996 CMMRF 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. As an incentive, the university offered a guarantee of five percent income on the endowment plus a matching 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 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. This enabled CMMRF to give $240,000.00 to the Center for research that year. Today, upon request, CMMRF will match donations of $5,000 to $25,000.

Each year CMMRF has continued to grow in financial assets. Expenses are paid from investment income which also helps to fund grants. CMMRF has $3,788,565.90 in financial assets. As of December 31, 2017, CMMRF has received $5,698,149.04 in contributions. CMMRF has given Indiana University School of Medicine $4,589,464.86. Prior to restructuring the foundation in 1986, the former foundation had given $96,000.00 to the Medical Center for research. Our philanthropy has given grants equaling $4,685,464.86 from 1978 to the present time.