The World’s Greatest Philanthropy

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Last week, I had an opprotunity to tour a part of the world’s greatest philanthropy, Shriners Hospital of Tampa, FL. I became a Shriner one year ago, but this was the first opprotunity I’ve had to tour the the nearest hospital. When I mention to folks that I’m a Shriner, everyone immediately asks, “Do you have a funny hat? Do you drive a little car?” Funny hat? Yes! A little car? Nah, I leave that up to the Road Runner Unit at my Shrine Temple here in Orlando. But there are usually more questions about Shriners than I can answer. Thus, I turn to the Shriners International HQ to answer those frequently asked questions. Here’s a quick list, right from HQ:

Frequently asked questions about Shriners International and Shriners Hospitals for Children 1. What is Shriners International?Shriners International is a fraternity based on fun, fellowship and the Masonic principles of brotherly love, relief and truth.
2. Who developed the concept of Shriners International?The fraternity was the brainchild of Dr. Walter M. Fleming and Billy Florence.
3. When was the first Shrine temple established?Mecca Shriners was organized in New York City in 1872.
4. When was the Imperial Council established?The Imperial Council was established June 6, 1876.
5. How many Shrine temples are there?There are 191 Shrine temples located throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Republic of Panama.
6. What is Shriners Hospitals for Children?Shriners Hospitals for Children is a one-of-a-kind international health care system of hospitals dedicated to improving the lives of children by providing pediatric specialty care, innovative research and outstanding teaching programs.
7. What is the connection between Shriners International and Shriners Hospitals for Children?Shriners International founded and continues to operate Shriners Hospitals for Children.
8. When did the first Shriners Hospitals for Children open, and where is it located?The first Shriners Hospital opened in 1922, in Shreveport, LA, and focused exclusively on treating orthopaedic conditions.
9. What are Shriners Hospitals for Children’ care disciplines today?Shriners Hospitals for Children provides treatment for orthopaedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and palate. Some Shriners Hospitals offer care for more than one specialty.
10. What are some examples of orthopaedic conditions treated at Shriners Hospitals for Children?Shriners Hospitals treat a full range of orthopaedic conditions. Some of the most commonly treated conditions are clubfoot, limb deficiencies and discrepancies, scoliosis (curvature of the spine), osteogenesis imperfecta (brittle bone disease), juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, and orthopaedic problems related to spina bifida, cerebral palsy, dwarfism and muscular dystrophy.
11. When did Shriners Hospitals for Children begin providing burn care?The Shriners Hospitals specializing in burns have been leaders in burn care and research since opening in the mid-1960s. Treatment is provided for burn injuries and related scarring, along with physical and emotional rehabilitation.
12. When did Shriners Hospitals for Children begin to provide care for spinal cord injuries?In the early 1980’s, Shriners Hospitals opened the nation’s first spinal cord injury rehabilitation centers specifically designed for children and teens.
13. What criteria determine a child’s eligibility for care at Shriners Hospitals for Children? Children up to age 18 are eligible for care at Shriners Hospitals for Children if, in the opinion of our physicians, there is a reasonable possibility they can benefit from the specialized services available. Acceptance is based solely on a child’s medical needs. A family’s income or insurance status are not criteria for a child’s acceptance as patient.
14. How does someone apply for care or refer a patient to Shriners Hospitals for Children?Call the toll-free national patient referral line at 800.237.5055 in the U.S. or 800.361.7256 in Canada, or download an application for treatment online at
15. What does it cost for a child to receive care at Shriners Hospitals for Children?There is no charge for any care or services provided within Shriners Hospitals for Children facilities.
16. Where does the money come from to operate Shriners Hospitals for Children?As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Shriners Hospitals for Children relies on the generous donations of Shriners and the general public to carry out its mission and change the lives of children every day.
17. What percentage of the Shriners Hospitals operating budget is spent in direct support of the organization’s tri-fold mission of treatment, research and education?Approximately 90 percent
18. How is Shriners Hospitals for Children different from other pediatric health care systems?Shriners Hospitals for children is the only pediatric multi-hospital system in the United States that provides all care and services at no charge to patients or families. Shriners Hospitals for Children is also the largest pediatric sub-specialty hospital system in the world, with the largest full-time staff of pediatric orthopaedic surgeons in the U.S.
19. How do Shriners Hospitals for Children contribute to the education of medical professionals?In the past 20 years, more than 8,000 physicians have received residency education or postgraduate fellowships at Shriners Hospitals. Shriners Hospitals for Children also maintains relationships with more than 60 medical teaching facilities worldwide.
20. How can I learn more about Shriners Hospitals for Children and Shriners International?To learn more, visit our website

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