Simply put, Shriners International is a fraternity.
It all started in Manhattan back in 1870, when some members of Freemasonry, which is widely considered to be the world's oldest fraternity, were hanging out at their favorite restaurant. The guys felt like their band of brothers needed a little spicing up. They thought Masonry, which traces its roots to stonemasons and craftsmen of the Middle Ages, was a tad too focused on ritual. These guys wanted a fraternity that stressed fun and fellowship. Leave it to an analytical mind - Walter M. Fleming, M.D. - and an artistic type - Billy Florence, an actor - to take that thought and run with it. Florence conceptualized the idea for the organization after attending an Arabian- Nights themed party while touring Europe. Fleming added the structure to Florence's proposed pomp and circumstance, drafting the fraternity's name, initiation rites, rituals and rules. Together, the men designed the new fraternity's emblem, devised a salutation and determined the red fez with a black tassel would be the group's official headgear. And local Shriners chapters, it was decided, would be called "temples."
The new organization would be called the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (AAONMS). It was later renamed Shriners International. The first Temple, Mecca Shriners, was formed in New York City in 1872. Word of the new group spread fairly quickly, thanks to a pretty good public relations campaign - even without the Internet or cell phones. As membership grew rapidly, a governing body known as the Imperial Council, AAONMS, was formed. Temples were established in Canada, Mexico and Panama. More recently, temples have been established in Puerto Rico, the Philippines, Germany and Brazil, and more interest is developing throughout the world. Today, there are hundreds of thousands of Shriners who belong to nearly 200 temples and thousands of sponsored clubs located throughout the world.
1. What is Shriners International?
The worldwide organization is a fraternity based on fun, fellowship and the Masonic principles of the brotherly love, relief and truth. There are nearly 200 temples located through the world.
2. What is the Shriners Hospitals for Children?
Our unique health care system, which has 22 locations in three countries, is dedicated to improving the lives of children by providing pediatric specialty care, conducting innovative research, and offering outstanding teaching programs for medical professional. All care and services provided regardless of the families' ability to pay.
3. What is Shriners International's connection to the Shriners Hospitals for Children?
The fraternity founded and continues to support the health care system as its official philanthropy.
4. 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 generosity of Shriners, corporations and the general public to carry out its mission and improve the lives of children every day.
5. What percentage of the Shriners Hospitals for Children operating budget is spent in direct support of the organization's three-part mission of patient care, research and education?
6. How can I learn more about supporting Shriners Hospitals for Children?
For more information about ways to give to and support Shriners Hospitals for Children, please visit donate2shc.org or call 855-401-4897
7. When was the first Shriners temple (chapter) established?
Mecca Shriners was established in New York City in 1872.
8. Why does Shriners International have a Near Eastern theme?
Similar to college fraternities that use the Greek motif, Shriners International selected Near Eastern iconography and regalia to serve as the fraternity's theme when it was founded in 1872. The Shriner's red fezzes (hats) and the costumes they sometimes wear in parades pay tribute to the long-standing tradition.
9. When and where did the first Shriners Hospitals for Children open?
We opened our first hospital in 1922, in Shreveport, LA. The hospital initially focused exclusively on treating the orthopaedics aftereffects of the polio virus, which was rampant at that time.
10. What are some examples of the orthopaedics conditions treated at the Shriners Hospitals for Children today?
Our health care system provides treatment for a full range of congenital and acquired orthopaedics conditions. The most commonly treated conditions include clubfoot, limb deficiencies, deformities and discrepancies, scoliosis (curvature of the spine), osteogenesis imperfecta (brittle bone disease), and orthopaedics difficulties associated with neuromuscular disorders such as spina bifida and cerebral palsy.
11. What are the principles service lines offered at Shriners Hospitals for Children?
Our care disciplines are pediatric orthopaedics, burns, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and palate.
12. When did Shriners Hospitals for Children begin to provide burn care?
Our locations specializing in treatment of burns and burn-related injuries have been leaders in burn care and research since opening in the mid-1960's.
13. What are some examples of expertise in burn care found at Shriners Hospitals for Children?
Our hospitals that treat burns and burn related injuries provide comprehensive acute, reconstructive and rehabilitative care. In addition, a multidisciplinary team provides support to the patients and families as they transition back to school and family life.
14. When did Shriners Hospitals for Children begin to provide care for spinal cord injuries?
In the early 1980's Shriners Hospitals for Children opened the nation's first spinal cord injury rehabilitation centers specifically designed for children and teens.
15. What are some of the rehabilitative programs and services offered to patients with spinal cord injuries at Shriners Hospitals for Children?
Available programs include a complete range of therapies, psychosocial guidance, fitness programs and experiential activities to build independent living skills.
16. What criteria determine a child's eligibility for care at a Shriners Hospitals for Children?
Children up to age 18 are eligible for at Shriners Hospitals for Children if there is a reasonable possibility they can benefit from the specialized services available. Acceptance is based solely on a child's medical needs.
17. How does someone schedule an appointment 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. To locate a Shriners Hospital near you, visit the refer a patient page at shrinershospitalsforchildren.org.
18. How are Shriners Hospitals for Children different from other pediatric hospitals?
Our health care system emphasizes compassion and a family-centered environment. Our medical experts provide individualized care plans, take time to listen, and focus on the concerns, needs and goals of the patients.
19. What role does the Shriners Hospitals for Children play in medical education?
By maintaining relationships with several medical teaching facilities, Shriners Hospitals for Children fosters an academic environment committed to providing high-quality education for its medical staff and expert care to all patients.
20. Where can I get more information about Shriners Hospitals for Children and Shriners International?
To learn more, visit shrinershospitalsforchildren.org