Charity has always been a core principle of Freemasonry. Individuals give time and money to help others, whether locally, nationally or globally. You will find Freemasons volunteering on a local community project, making donations to other UK charities or responding to an international disaster appeal.
Freemasonry is one of the largest charitable givers in the country, contributing £42m to deserving causes in 2019 alone. Freemasons do not only donate money – more than 18.5 million hours of volunteer work were undertaken by Freemasons in 2018.
Freemasonry is not primarily a charitable organisation. Our charitable activities are the result of individual members applying the principles of masonry in their everyday lives. A good example of this is our own Junior Warden, Brother Martin Carver, who has raised thousands of pounds for the NHS during the lockdown.
Over the years members of White Ensign Lodge have a proud record of supporting local masonic and non-masonic good causes. Some of the local organisations that have been supported recently include Forgotten Feet, Redditch Night Stop, Redditch & Bromsgrove Sea Cadets and Acorns Children’s Hospice.
Worcestershire Provincial Grand Lodge gives large sums of money to regional causes under the auspices of Worcestershire Masonic Charity Organisation (WMCO). Every 11 years, each Province is asked to collect funds for the Masonic Charitable Fund. This ‘Festival’ lasts 5 years and for Worcestershire Provincial Grand Lodge our Festival culminates in 2022.
The United Grand Lodge of England administers national and international donations. During crisis periods, due to the agile nature of our charities, donations can be sent almost immediately which is a massive help to aid workers on the ground. This has been used to great effect during natural disasters such as earthquakes, where speed of response is paramount. During the COVID19 crisis, huge support has been given in the UK including the supply of 1000 tablets to hospitals and care homes, providing 300,000 meals and 38 tonnes of food to struggling families and providing £850,000 to help homeless people during the winter.
Perhaps Freemasons do not shout about their charitable giving loudly enough but hopefully, the information provided here indicates how wide-ranging our charitable activities are.