About the USC
The United Supreme Council Foundation is dedicated to transforming the lives of children, families, veterans and our aging population through improving their education, health and family economic stability. We start by identifying the people and places most in need. We then work closely with our partners to find solutions that combine bold thinking with real-world experiences. We go directly into communities and learn about struggles, needs and aspirations, then pair those most in need with proven, practical solutions to help them move forward.
Since our start, more than 50 years ago, we have committed more than $100k annually to support cradle to college programs, our veterans, and aging populations across America and its territories.
We firmly believe that true progress and transformative, sustainable change are the products of time, hard work, and a willingness to stand for what is right. We know we can’t solve every problem, but with collaboration and determination with individuals like yourself we can accelerate real progress for real people every day.
The First Scottish Rite Organization Among African Americans
The first Scottish Rite organization among African-Americans was the African Grand Council of 1820 in Philadelphia, which was referred to as a Council of Princes of Jerusalem. The organization of the King David Supreme Council in 1854 grew out of the conferring of the Thirty-third and Last Degree upon David Leary in 1850 in Philadelphia by Count St. Laurent of the Supreme Council of France.
In April 1856, Edward M. Thomas and others petitioned King David Supreme Council for the degrees of the Scottish Rite including the Thirty-third and Last Degree to be conferred on certain Freemasons in Washington, D.C. Their request, being answered in the affirmative, resulted in conferral on May 5 of that year.
Subsequent to a visit by Baron August Hugo de Bulow, a Supreme Council of the United States (De Bulow Supreme Council) was established in in New York City in 1864. Due to the conferring of the 33 rd degree 13 years prior in Washington, DC, by King David Supreme Council, a requisite number of Fraters had been created and a Supreme Council of the Southern and Western Jurisdiction was formed in 1869 in Washington, DC. In addition to those in New York, De Bulow conferred the 33 rd degree upon certain other Freemasons. Those Masons, led by Lemuel Griffin, formed the Supreme Council for the Southern States alternatively referred to as the Star of Bethlehem.
Supreme Council headquartered at Baltimore in 1870. In 1879, a fifth Supreme Council was created—King Frederick Supreme Council. It was the second in Philadelphia. It was the result of Most Puissant Sovereign Grand Commander Lemuel Griffin 33° conferring the degrees of the Scottish Rite on six (6) Freemasons one of whom was Joshua David Kelley. He served as King Frederick’s first leader.
Most Puissant Sovereign Grand Commander Peter W. Ray 33° of the Debulow Supreme Council requested the other four (4) Supreme Councils in conjunction with his meet to discuss possible unification. Over the course of a few meetings leading into the next year Articles of Union were agreed to and signed and Oaths of Fealty were administered thus merging the five (5) independently operating Supreme Councils into two (2)—one for the Northern Jurisdiction and one for the Southern Jurisdiction—in April 1881. The Southern Jurisdiction did not complete its amalgamation until 1887 (Southern and Southern and Western fully merging).
The Northern Jurisdiction consists of the following states: Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and the countries of Commonwealth of Bahamas, Province of Ontario, Canada, Europe/Turkey, Far East and Thailand and Barbados.
Since 1881 our jurisdiction has expanded to include Japan, Korea, the Phillipines, Guam, Germany, England, Canada, the Bahamas, Barbados, Kuwait and Turkey.
We believe in giving a voice to the voiceless. Our communities are often excluded from the political, economic and social institutions that provide services for the nourishment and enrichment of our people with dignity and respect. We are guided by a vision that includes economic empowerment, political awareness, social justice and service to the community. For more than a century, our mission has been to reduce poverty and injustice, strengthen democratic values, and advance human achievement from the cradle to college, in support of our active and retired military, and our aging populations.
Our goal is to empower individuals and groups to share in the knowledge, wealth, and resources of this world, in hopes of reaching their full potential. Our Foundation is built on your donations and gives 100% of your donations to charitable and philanthropic causes. Your tax-exempt donations can be made in a multitude of ways; please consult your financial planner for more information. We thank you for considering us as part of your estate planning, and your legacy of giving.
We believe that movements are built upon individual leadership, strong institutions, and innovative, often high-risk ideas. As a charitable giving organization, we have evolved over the years, but our investments in three areas have remained the touchstones of everything we do and are central to our theory of how change happens in the world. These approaches have long distinguished the United Supreme Council Foundation, and they have had a profound cumulative impact.
Our Values and Culture
We work with a sense of urgency but recognize that meaningful change requires sustained investment over time in those living and working closest to the problems. For this reason, we focus on grass-roots efforts at every level through supporting participation by people of diverse backgrounds and life experiences. We also closely collaborate with governments, city agencies, the private sector, academia, and other creative community opportunities.
Our culture is driven by trust, and leadership that empowers innovation and excellence. We are accountable to each other at the foundation, to our charter, to our sector, to the organizations we support, and to society at large and the laws that govern our nonprofit status.
Are you contemplating continuing and enhancing your Masonic journey by joining the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry alternatively referred to as the College of Freemasonry? I hope you are! As a primer please read the following about our organization –our origins, who we are and what we do!
The true origins of the Scottish Rite dwells in antiquity, but the traceable portions date to about 1733 in continental Europe. A formal Scottish Rite presence was established in the United States in 1801. Concerning the Scottish Rite among Prince Hall Masons, the first acknowledged organization began in Philadelphia circa 1820 culminating in the formation of this United Supreme Council is 1881. Since that time our Jurisdiction has expanded to include 28 states, 2 territories, and 9 foreign countries.
Who We Are
Welcome to a Brotherhood like none other where you can join together with like-minded men and explore, more in Depth, the moral and social virtues inculcated in the Ancient Craft Degrees and apply these studies to the rectitude of your life. As you progress from the 4th through 32nd degrees the moral lessons provided assist you in combating the modern day enemies of Ignorance, Superstition, Fanaticism, Despotism, and Ambition and are designed to resonate with and enhance your level of understanding of freemasonry. Membership in the Scottish Rite requires a belief in a Supreme Being and accepts men of all faiths. It is not a religion, but rather a way of life. Alongside every successful man is a successful woman and that adage rings especially true concerning our ladies auxiliary – the Golden Circle. This valued group is comprised of the wives, mothers, daughters, and sisters of the membership.
What We Do
As the Scottish Rite is an extension of Ancient Craft Masonry, the same basic concepts of personal and fraternal development; community outreach; and extension of charity exist here as well on a larger scale. The United Supreme Council Northern Jurisdiction is engaged in a number of ongoing endeavors to include;
- Ownership of the Scottish Rite House and Scottish Rite Tower located in the 1500 Block of Fitzwater Street; a combined 231 units of affordable housing for South Philadelphia’s elderly population.
- Operation of the “Saving our Youth – From Cradle to College” mentoring program.
- Extension of charity to multiple organizations annually through our Benevolent Foundation.
- Awarding financial assistance to need-based college students in underserved communities through educational grants to our Orients.
Has what you have just read intrigued you? Are you ready to embark on the next level of your Masonic journey? Do you desire to help your fellow man and Brother? Will you commit to improve the future conditions of today’s youth? If so please contact the Illustrious Secretary and Keeper of the Seals and Archives of your local Scottish Rite body and request a petition for membership. I hope to see you soon!
Melvin J. Bazemore
Sovereign Grand Commander
(Chief Executive Officer)