The Sunshine Fund (formerly called Widow's Fund) was organized on February 15, 1955, for the purpose of providing prompt payment of benefits to the widow or designated beneficiary of a deceased Noble. If at all feasible, a check ($1,500.00 at present) is issued within twenty-four hours of notification.
Currently, the initiation fee for membership in the Fund is $23.00. Five dollars of this amount is placed in the Sinking Fund and the remaining $18.00 is applied to the next assessment. Assessments are levied in the amount of $16.50 upon the demise of fifteen Fund members. Membership into the Fund is contingent upon the applicant's being a Bahia member in good standing, no older than 60 1/2 years, and in good physical condition. Applicants who have reached the age of fifty years must present a doctor's certificate when applying.
The Fundâ€™s Bylaws provide that the amount of the benefit paid to the designated beneficiary shall be approximately one dollar ($1.00) for each member in good standing in the Fund, but this may be varied at the discretion of the Board of Directors. Although the current membership is approximately 650 members, the Directors have authorized benefits in the amount of $1,500.00 for a long number of years.
The Fund is under the exclusive control and supervision and management of a Board of Directors consisting of seven members elected by the membership of the Fund. Each board member's term of office is four years.
When the Fund was organized in 1955, the initial cost of membership was $8.30 of which $5.00 went into the Sinking Fund and the other $3.30 paid for the next three deaths thusly: $1.00 for the death and 10 cents for clerical expense of handling of records, etc. Upon the death of three members, an assessment in the amount of $3.30 was levied to pay for the next three deaths. The original Bylaws of the Fund were approved by the Nobility at the March 1959 Stated Meeting.
In May 1977, the name of the Fund was changed from Widowâ€™s Fund to Sunshine Fund. The reason for the change was because the beneficiary is usually the wife of the Noble with payment of the Fund's benefit within twenty-four hours of his demise. This more frequently than not may be the first time it has been bluntly brought to the wife's attention that she is now a widow. Since the delivery of the benefit could be considered a little â€œray of sunshineâ€ on a troubled situation at a time when needed most, the name of Sunshine Fund was decided by the Board of Directors.
Additional information or questions concerning the Sunshine Fund may be obtained by contacting:
Secretary Kenneth E. Thomas, P.P.