Masonic Charity Work

Charity is the best way of applying our principles of Neighbourly Concern in practice. All the money given to charity by Freemasons is raised directly from our members. We do not rattle tins or seek contributions from the public. Members are encouraged to support charity in general, and in London this is achieved in a number of ways:

  • By supporting the national Masonic charities which fund national projects and help individuals in need.

  • By raising funds for the Metropolitan Masonic Charity which supports non-Masonic causes, especially where there is a benefit to the London community.

  • By individual Lodges or members raising funds for specific local causes of their choice. The central Masonic charities often provide additional funding to deserving local causes, often through matched funding. 

It is a well known fact that Freemasonry is the UK's single largest donor to charity after the National Lottery.

The Metropolitan Masonic Charity has been providing particular support to a major project each year. For 2010/12 it was the Barts wing of the Barts and the London Hospital Trust which runs several hospital sites and the London Air Ambulance base and has a major positive impact on the lives of Londoners every day of the year. In 2012/13, the London Hospital was focused on with the purchase of a new mobile CT scanner for use in its trauma unit. In 2013/14, the MMC will provide smaller sized support to a range of London Charities.

As Freemasons, we recognise that many charities require dependable long-term support if they are to flourish in harsh economic times, when the demand for their activities can rise. We have long-term relationships with some particular charities. For example, we have given over £500,000 to London hospices (over £7.5 million nationally); over £26,000 to the London Air Ambulance (over £550,000 nationally); £1 million to Cancer Research; and more than £1.8 million to disaster relief charities worldwide. 

In addition to the Metropolitan Masonic Charity, there are four national Masonic charities, described briefly below, with their origins in the 1700s, long before the existence of free public health services or social support for families. They provide means-tested support for Freemasons and their dependants if they have serious medical, educational and other needs. UGLE announced in December 2014 that the four charities are to be consolidated into a new single organisation (name yet to be confirmed) which will become operational in 2016.

The Freemasons' Grand Charity

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The Freemasons' Grand Charity is a grant-making charity, which is funded by Freemasons and their families. It has donated over £120 million since 1981. Each year it provides relief grants for hundreds of individuals who are experiencing financial difficulty, as well as donating millions of pounds to nationwide charitable projects and services. The grants fall into three main categories:

  1. Masonic Relief Grants - Financial assistance for Freemasons and their families who are experiencing hardship
  2. Grants to Charities - Support for the important work of national charities of all sizes, in medical researchsupport for vulnerable peopleyouth opportunitieshospice servicesair ambulance services and disaster relief worldwide
  3. Other Masonic charities - When justifiable needs arise, the work of the other Masonic charities is supported

 The Grand Chrity also operates the Grand Charity's Relief Chest Scheme, which helps Lodges and other recognised Masonic orders give to charity easily and tax effectively. All of the money distributed is raised by Freemasons and their families, mainly through fundraising 'Festivals' held each year.

The Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys

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Since the late 18th Century, the Royal Masonic Institution for Girls and the Royal Masonic Institution for Boys have helped relieve poverty and advance the education of the children of deceased and distressed Freemasons. This function and other wider terms of reference, were taken up by the Trust when in 1986, it took over the running of the former charities. At the time of the amalgamation, the Trust had 749 beneficiaries on its books. The numbers have risen and in 2005 the Trust supported over 2,000 girls and boys at school, colleges and universities. Today it stands as a jewel in the crown of Masonic Charity.

In addition to the main grant-making work, the Trust also supports young people with exceptional talents and those who need financial assistance in order to embrace life-changing opportunities. Grants are awarded to both national and local children's charities and support is provided to the Trust's separate but subsidiary charity Lifelites.

The Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution

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RMBI cares for older Freemasons and their families as well as some people in the community. Caring has been our way of life since 1842 and we provide a home for over 1,000 peopleacross England and Wales – while supporting many more. Whether people need residential or nursing care, specialist dementia support or day services, we care for them professionally and kindly. We treat people as individuals – and we work together with everyone to design a care plan that meets their needs and allows them to experience well-being and meaningfulness.

At the RMBI, we believe in treating everyone as an individual. Every potential resident is assessed to find out what type of care package would best meet their needs. A tailor-made care plan is put together, which is reviewed on a regular basis. Those members of the Masonic community who choose an RMBI Home have the security of knowing that they have a home for life, even if their financial circumstances – as long as we can still support their needs. At the RMBI we are committed to ensuring that you and your relative get the most out of life whilst living at any one of our Homes.  Our service is comprehensive.  We take care of the everyday chores to give you and your relative time to enjoy life, and ensure your particular care need is taken care of. 

The RMBI can also offer short-stay breaks, including respite care. These are helpful for both those living alone, and for families that need a little respite from the demands of caring for an older relative.

We operate 17 care homes throughout England and Wales. Some of our Homes are country house style and listed, others are modern and more contemporary. Some Homes are situated in, or close to, a large town, others are nestled in more rural locations. Either way, there will be a care home to suit your preferences. At our Homes we deliver care in a way that promotes independence and the dignity of the individual.

The RMBI relies entirely on donations from the Masonic community.  

The Masonic Samaritan Fund

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The Masonic Samaritan Fund provides health and care grants for applicants to receive treatment and care without undue delay or expense. Freemasons, their wives, partners, widowsand dependants can apply for a grant if they have a diagnosed health or care need and, faced with over 12 weeks waiting time for treatment or support, are unable to easily afford their own private care.

Grants are available to fund medical treatment or surgery, functional dental treatment, mobility aids and equipment, respite breaks, counselling and consultations or assessments. Applicants can now self-assess their eligibility to apply for a grant through the MSF Eligibility Calculator.

As well as providing grants to cover the associated costs of a diagnosed health or care need, the MSF funds medical research projects which aim to improve the treatment for many of the illnesses and disabilities that affect Masonic families and the wider community.