The values of Freemasonry are based on integrity, kindness, honesty and fairness. Freemasons are taught to practice charity and to care, not only for their own, but also for the community as a whole – both by charitable giving, and by voluntary efforts and works as individuals. From its earliest days, Freemasonry has been concerned with the care of orphans, the sick and the aged. This work continues today. In addition, large sums are given to national and local charities. Masonic charity is exercised at every level: individual lodges make gifts and give aid to their own communities and every Province also gives large sums of money to regional causes.
Nationally, our efforts are channelled through the Masonic Charitable Foundation – formerly The Freemasons' Grand Charity, Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys, Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution and Masonic Samaritan Fund.
MASONIC CHARITABLE FOUNDATION "For Freemasons, for families, for everyone" The Masonic Charitable Foundation builds better lives by enabling opportunity, advancing healthcare and education and promoting independence for Freemasons, their families and the wider community. Funded entirely through the generosity of Freemasons and their families, the Masonic Charitable Foundation is one of the largest grant-making charities in the country. A wide range of help and support is available for Freemasons, their wives, partners, widows, children and grandchildren. Most of the support provided takes the form of financial grants to assist with financial, health or family related needs.
The Grand Charity was set up to respond quickly to urgent needs such as natural disasters. It helps individuals and many charities. In 2010 the Grand Charity donated £6.0m to Masonic and non Masonic causes including supporting Masons, their widows and other dependants who have fallen on hard times.
The Masonic Trust For Girls & Boys
The educational needs of over 1500 orphaned children or grandchildren of Freemasons are looked after by the Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys. The trust has recently launched a major new initiative to provide educational equipment - especially computers - to the specialist hospices for children in England and Wales. It also supplies grants for students.
Locally In our Province, most of the funds raised are passed to a charitable company limited by guarantee, West Riding Masonic Charities Limited. The company is responsible for the stewardship and distribution of these funds. Grants over recent years range from £100 to a Holmfirth residents’ association to purchase crockery to £30,000 to a Rastrick school to improve its hydrotherapy pool.
In addition, at each Masonic meeting there is normally an Alms collection to finance the purchase of small gifts for members or widows who are ill. Widows will generally also receive a small gift at Christmas and on their birthday.
There may also be a raffle at the dinner following or in some cases prior to the meeting for some specified beneficiary announced beforehand. Lodges also organise collections or other special fundraising activities for a Masonic Festival for one of the national Charities or another authorised purpose.