The Masonic Square and Compass
is the recognised symbol of Freemasonry .
Within the lodge the Charity
Steward wears a small trowel to signify his responsibilities.
In stonemasons terms the trowel
is used to spread mortar.
Symbolically, in Masonic terms,
it represents the spreading of charity which makes Freemasonry the UK's largest
contributor to charity after the National Lottery
All the money raised by Freemasons, and given to charity, is raised internally
brethren. Nothing is collected from the general public.
In 2006, following 10 years of fund
raising Gloucestershire Province
presented a cheque for £2.6 million to Grand Lodge. Gloucestershire Province
about £250,000 each year to local charities and was one of the first
donate money to help the victims of the 2007 Severn floods.
All Masons are encouraged to give generously, but within their means, through
Alms collections, gift aid etc. Unlike many other
Freemasons never asks the general public for money.
Freemasons give to charity in four ways. First a proportion of their annual
dues, second through regular gift aided donations, third by alms collected at
each meeting and fourth, in lodges which hold raffles, by purchasing raffle
In the years 2006, 2007and 2008 Foundation Lodge give £16,000.00 to
charities and good causes.
Lodge donations are made in accordance
with the directions of the brethren.
The Lodge Charity Steward may also organise a collection or other special
activity for a Festival or other authorised purpose. There are planned giving
available to the individual Mason, which the Lodge Charity Steward will be
pleased to explain.
Nationally Grand Lodge gives many £millions to Masonic and non Masonic good
causes. The principle
national Masonic charities, which contribute to Masonic and non Masonic good
causes are listed below. Freemasonry is
usually the first to give donations for disaster relief and, as an example, gave £20,000.00 to both Burma
and China within hours of the appeals being launched.
The Grand Charity
- the central grant making charity of all Freemasons in England and Wales. All
funding for the Grand Charity comes from donations by individual Freemasons and
Non-Masonic charities - since 1981, more than £30 million has been given to
non-Masonic charitable causes.
Emergency Relief Grants - are given throughout the year at the discretion of
the President of The Grand Charity. Since 1981 over £1 million has been given to
support relief efforts for victims of disasters worldwide.
Masonic Relief Grants
- originally provided help for poor and distressed
Freemasons and the making of Masonic Relief Grants is still one of the primary
activities of The Grand Charity. The Grand Charity also provides financial
support, when needed, to the other three main Masonic charities.
Hospices - in England and Wales also receive support every year.
Since 1984, The Grand Charity has given over £6 million to hospices. This is in
addition to the considerable sums raised by Freemasons around the country in
support of their local hospices.
The Relief Chest Scheme - also administered by The Grand Charity. The Scheme
offers individual accounts that can be used to accumulate funds collected by
Masonic Lodges for charitable purposes. The funds are pooled in order to earn a
higher interest rate and tax relief on donations can be claimed centrally.