This year, The Freemasons’ Grand Charity is celebrating 30 years of grant-making. The Grand Charity took over the responsibilities of the Board of Benevolence in April 1980 and has since helped over 40,000 Freemasons and their dependants with financial relief grants. In addition, its priorities have been to assist other masonic charities when necessary, as well as providing millions in funding for the wider community.
INCREASE IN MASONIC GIVING OVER TIME
In its first year of operation, financial relief grants were given to assist 645 Freemasons and their dependants. Thirty years later, roughly three times as many people are assisted with financial grants on an annual basis. These grants are given to assist with unexpected needs or to help with essential daily living costs. The largest group of people to have been assisted over the years have been widows and similar dependants. However, in recent times there has been an increase in assistance given to Freemasons who have found themselves in difficult situations, compounded by the recent economic decline. In total, £53.7 million has been given in financial relief grants since the Charity's inception.
A WEALTH OF SUPPORT FOR THE WIDER COMMUNITY
The Grand Charity assists charitable projects and services that help people in need. It supports a wide range of causes, including medical research, support for vulnerable people, youth opportunities, air ambulance services, hospice services and worldwide disaster relief. £44 million has been spent towards helping hundreds of charities over the past 30 years.
THE RELIEF CHEST SCHEME'S 25th ANNIVERSARY
In 1986, the Relief Chest Scheme was created by the Grand Charity to help the Craft give to charity easily and tax-effectively. In its first year of operation, 497 lodges had opened a chest - 25 years later, this number has grown to over 4,000. The Scheme has saved a great deal of time for masonic organisations and all those charged with the task of administering masonic charitable donations. It has also enabled lodges to earn a favourable rate of interest on their donations and reclaim millions of pounds in Gift Aid. The Relief Chest Scheme is operated by the Grand Charity, but is a service open to all recognised masonic organisations in the UK.
THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO HAS SUPPORTED THE GRAND CHARITY
The Council of the Grand Charity wishes to thank all those who have contributed to the funds of the Charity, which has enabled it to achieve so much over the first 30 years - over £100 million has been given to help people in need.