OG Lodge Charities Association

Tax law bestows a favoured status on registered charities. Donations received by a charity are regarded as having been paid by the donor on a net of standard rate tax basis, so that the charity can reclaim from HMRC the amount of income tax notionally deducted by the donor. (With the current standard rate of income tax at 20%, the effect is that a £50 net donation to the charity can be supplemented by a £12.50 refund of tax notionally deducted by the donor. Effectively, and as a consequence of the tax refund, a £50 net gift is increased by 25% to a gross £62.50. Higher rate taxpayers can personally recover an additional tax rebate via the self-assessment system, although the payment received by the charity is not further increased.)

The Old Greshamian Lodge is not itself a charity, so that the valuable concessions available to charities would be denied to us without our having a separately constituted body which is a registered charity.  Our forebears in the Lodge established the Charities’ Association over fifty years ago, and this proved to be a far sighted and valuable decision. The Lodge’s charitable activities are managed by the Charities’ Association, which collects donations from members and guests, recovers tax from HMRC, and pays the resulting gross amounts to the charity or charities selected by the Master of the Lodge during his year in office.

There are three broad categories of donations to the Charities’ Association. The first, and most important, are annual donations paid by Lodge members under Gift Aid. Generally, these annual donations are paid by banker’s order, accompanied by a Gift Aid Declaration, which needs to be completed only once. The second source of donations are the alms collections traditionally gathered towards the end of each Lodge ceremony. As a result of a valuable recent concession by HMRC, these small individual cash gifts made by Lodge members and guests alike are also augmented by 25% to convert the actual receipts to their gross equivalent. The final source of donations are contributions that some members pay in response to a written appeal from the Master of the Lodge for additional support to one or more of his chosen charities 

Our record, as a charity, is a proud one. During the past twenty years, as well as supporting the traditional Masonic charities (the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution, the Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys, and the Masonic Samaritan Fund, and, more  recently, the Metropolitan Masonic Charity) we have provided valuable and much appreciated support for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, Alone in London, Vascular Surgery Research, the Horstead Centre in Norfolk, the Norfolk Accident Rescue Service,, the Chronic Fatigue Sydrome Research Foundation, the Leukaemia Research Fund, Oesophageal Cancer Research, the London Children’s Camp, Macmillan Cancer Care, and the East Anglian Air Ambulance.     

Since 2007 we have also supported Gresham’s School, which is itself a registered charity. In an attempt to align the ethics and values we learned as pupils at School with those we try to practice as freemasons, we have established an annual award, presented on Speech Day to a school pupil who has made a significant contribution to social responsibility within the wider community. This annual award is known as the Old Greshamian Lodge Award for Community Service, and this is described in more detail on a separate page.