What is Masons and Shriners?
Masons and Shriners are two groups of people who belong to different but interconnected organizations. Masons are members of Freemasonry, a fraternal organization that has been around since the 16th century. Being a fraternity, members are all men. The brotherhood of Masons now number to about six million worldwide, and are composed of men from all walks of life. There are three degrees of membership in the Freemasons, namely: Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and the highest order, Master Mason.
Shriners, on the other hand, is the shorthand term for Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, established in 1870. Today the fraternity has approximately 340,000 members around the world. All Shriners are Freemasons, as one of the requirements for being a Shriner is for that person to belong to the highest order of Freemasonry, Master Mason. Men who would like to become Shriners must first be accepted into the Freemasonry organization and work his way up prior to becoming a Shriner.
Shriners are responsible for establishing the Shriners Hospital for Children in 1922. Shriners support the hospital by providing funds and transportation as well as volunteer on the board (among other things) on their free time. The hospital provides specialized medical services to children 18 and below with no financial obligations on their families.