After five years of intense fundraising, the Province of Hertfordshire has completed its Festival in support of the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys (now part of the Masonic Charitable Foundation).
At the Festival Celebration Dinner, held at Guildhall in London on 6th July, the Chief Operating Officer of the MCF, Les Hutchinson, was delighted to announce that the grand total raised was £3,632,368. He thanked all the Lodges and individual members who worked so hard to raise such an incredible amount and assured them that the money raised would make a huge difference to the lives of young people around the country.
Brethren might also like to know that the Festival Jewel can be worn until the end of the year (31st December 2019) and the Provincial Grand Charity Steward asks that you continue to wear it with pride in recognition of the generosity and support that allowed the Provincial Grand Masters 2019 Festival target to be exceeded by 21%.
The Grand Master has also approved the 2019 Festival Jewel to be permanent allowing it to be worn until the start of the new 2030 Festival which will be launched in January 2025.
The Masonic Charitable Foundation has donated £15,000 to Plan International UK to support survivors of three major earthquakes in the Philippines.
Destruction to homes, schools and infrastructure
Massive damage on the southern island of Mindanao has seen an estimated 188,000 people affected by damaged and destroyed infrastructure. Roads have been blocked by landslides and water and sewage systems have been destroyed, leading to a serious risk of disease.
Nearly 1,500 schools have been damaged or destroyed, along with an estimated 28,000 houses. Rescue workers are reporting that 31,465 people have been displaced, with 24,000 in emergency evacuation centres.
The £15,000 grant will help Plan International UK to provide more than 4,000 water kits, including a jerry can and water treatment chemicals. The provision of clean water is essential in the prevention of cholera and other diseases which can be life-threatening, especially to young children.
Rafael Garcia Velasquez, Acting Director of International Policy and Programmes at Plan International UK, said "We’re hugely grateful for this generous contribution to Plan International’s disaster response to the Philippines earthquakes. The provision of clean water is an absolute essential in the aftermath of a disaster like this and will help to protect thousands of people."
South Yorkshire Community Foundation’s Emergency Flood Disaster Relief Appeal
Freemasons have donated £15,000 to help people in South Yorkshire affected by the recent floods. £15,000 is being donated to South Yorkshire Community Foundation’s Emergency Flood Disaster Relief Appeal – £10,000 by the Masonic Charitable Foundation and £5,000 by the Province of Yorkshire, West Riding.
The appeal will support families and local people who have been displaced from their homes and had their property damaged by severe flood waters. About 400 homes have been flooded in the North, and 1,200 properties have been evacuated, according to the Environment Agency. Dozens of flood warnings are in place across the county and further heavy rain is forecast.
Local freemasons volunteer
Additionally, local Freemasons are being asked to assist anyone in distress caused by the floods. In the past, Masonic Halls have opened their doors to provide temporary shelter and a hot meal, and now are preparing to do the same.
Small charities will now be able to apply for multi-year grants to cover basic running expenses and other core funding costs, following a major policy shift at the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) – one of the largest grant-making charities in the country.
Until recently, the MCF, in common with many other charitable foundations, has tended to concentrate on project-based funding, which generally provides more measurable results. The MCF also gives one-off unrestricted grants of up to £5,000 to small charities for general charitable purposes. However, having identified the growing issue of smaller charities facing difficulties due to lack of core funding, the MCF has bucked the trend amongst similar grant-giving bodies to address the issue and has expanded its current programme of non-ring-fenced grants. The new grants are available to charities with an income of no more than £500,000 a year, often much less, and will be for a maximum of £5,000 per year over three years. The first round of these extended unrestricted core funding grants has just been announced for 22 small charities. It is hoped that these multi-year unrestricted funding grants will help sustain charities, enabling them to deliver services to those most in need. The MCF aims to monitor and evaluate these grants, and hopes to share any learning within the sector regarding the effectiveness of this grant-giving.
Funded by freemasons, their families and friends, the Masonic Charitable Foundation is the national freemasons’ charity. In 2017, the MCF provided grants of more than £5.6 million to 770 national, regional and local charities across England and Wales.
David Innes, Chief Executive of the Masonic Charitable Foundation, said: 'There are many small charities that struggle with basic running costs. Project-based funding is fine, but if they can’t pay the electricity bill or put petrol in the car, delivering services to clients can be difficult if not impossible. 'Many charities cease their vital activities because this kind of funding is not available. This is why the MCF’s new core funding initiative, on behalf of the Freemasons of England and Wales, is so important.'