The initial reason for MSA’s formation was so U.S. Freemasonry could provide aid to our military servicemen near the end of World War I. The War Department (now Defense Department) refused to work with 49 (at that time) different Grand Lodges, but the government department agreed to work with just one agency. So Grand Masters gathered in Cedar Rapids in 1918 to discuss and formulate the concept of MSA, and again in 1919 to formally give birth to the new organization.
MSA’s goal from the start was to provide services to the Grand Lodges that they could not perform as easily individually.
In 1923 MSA issued its first disaster relief appeal. Since then MSA has become a recognized and credible Masonic group in North America, trusted by all Grand Lodges to forward aid around the world when disaster strikes. This has been one of MSA’s key services.
From the start the cornerstone service provided by MSA is our work with those who have served in the military. Today MSA has approximately 180 Hospital Representatives and State Coordinators, plus hundreds more volunteers at virtually every VA Medical Center and at many state veterans hospitals in the United States.
MSA and its Masonic Information Center have many publications to tell the world about Freemasonry, including a variety of pamphlets, digests, and brochures, which have been distributed to more than 3 million people in the past 20 years.