What is the Masonic Charitable Foundation?
The Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) builds better lives by enabling opportunity, advancing healthcare and education and promoting independence for freemasons, their families and the wider community.
The MCF is one of the largest grant-making charities in the country supporting freemasons and their families as well as charities across England and Wales.
Where does the Foundation get its money from?
Our work is funded solely through the generous donations of freemasons under the United Grand Lodge of England, their families and friends.
What is Freemasonry?
Freemasonry is one of the world’s oldest and largest non-religious, non-political, fraternal and charitable organisation. Members are expected to shape their lives according to five core principles: integrity, kindness, honesty, fairness, and tolerance.
How much does the MCF donate to charities each year?
We donate over £5 million each year to local and national charities.
How many enquiries does the MCF Charity Grants programme receive each year?
We receive approximately 2,500 each year and we fund around 400 charities a year.
What does the MCF fund?
Our current funding categories are:
- Creating the best start in life for disadvantaged children and young people
- Reducing isolation in later life
- PhD studentships in medical research
- Hospice support
Who can apply for a grant?
The MCF only supports charities registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales, or the relevant Central registry of the respective Guernsey, Jersey or Isle of Man’s government.
For full eligibility visit:
Do you fund individuals?
The charity grants department does not fund individuals. Grants to individuals are only available to freemasons and their families and are made through our masonic support department.
Do you fund projects and charities outside the UK?
No. At the discretion of the Trustees of the MCF we occasionally award emergency grants to support the relief efforts responding to floods, earthquakes and other natural disasters in both the UK and around the world. It is not possible to apply for funding in this area.
Are there any geographical restrictions?
Yes – our main charity grants programmes are only for charities and projects in England, Wales, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.
Can we apply if we are a new organisation?
You must be able to provide us with audited or independently inspected charity accounts which have been published on the Charity Commission website. We also expect organisations to be able to demonstrate a track record of service delivery.
We don’t have our own charity number. Can we apply using the charity number of a head office?
Yes – but only if you have written permission to do so from your head office.
If you are part of a larger or a national charity, with the same charity number, and legally governed by the same board of trustees, we require your larger/national charity to provide written permission which must be sent in with the application. Please be aware that we are only able to accept one application per charity number and re-application rules will apply to that number, regardless of whether a different branch of the charity or head office has applied under that same registration number.
Our charity is exempt from registering with the Charity Commission. Can we apply?
No – Unfortunately we can only accept applications from charities that are registered with the Charity Commission of England and Wales or the relevant Central registry of the respective Guernsey, Jersey or Isle of Man’s government.
Does our charity need to have its own bank account to be eligible to apply?
Yes the charity is required to have its own bank account for us to transfer the payment. We will require proof of BACS details before the payment will be authorised.
We are under the threshold for being required to have independently examined or audited accounts – can we apply?
No, unfortunately we cannot accept any application without a full set of independently examined or audited accounts.
You are funding our organisation already; can I apply for another grant?
No – organisations can only have one large or small active grant from us at a time.
Our application was turned down. How soon can we apply again?
If your small or large grant full application was declined, you must wait until one year from the date of the rejection.
If your expression of interest was declined, you must wait one year until submitting a new expression of interest.
We have received a grant from the MCF in the past. When can we reapply?
You must wait until two years from the date that your previous funding ended. The grant ends 12 months from the date of the last instalment. For example, a one year grant awarded in 2020 ends in 2021; the charity would be eligible to reapply in 2023.
We are a Hospice, can we apply to the Large or Small Grant programmes?
All of the MCF’s support for the Hospice sector is carried out via the Hospice Grant programme, this unfortunately prevents you from applying for a Large or Small grant.
We have been in operation for several years but have recently merged with another charity and therefore have a new charity number. Can we still apply for funding?
You must have one year’s published accounts as the merged organisation; these must match the ones submitted to the Charity Commission.
Do you have deadlines?
No, we have a rolling programme
How much can I apply for?
For the small grant programme, grants can be £1,000 to £5,000 per year for up to 3 years.
Large grants usually range from £10,000 to £60,000. They can be awarded over one to three years.
We encourage organisations to apply for the amount and length of funding they require, and that is appropriate and proportionate to their financial position. As a general rule, we would not tend to fund more than 20% of an organisation’s income per year.
What length of funding do you offer?
For the small and large grant programmes, grants are available for one year up to three years.
Do you give unrestricted funding?
We provide unrestricted funding in our small grants programme only.
Do you allow overhead costs to be included in large grants?
Yes. A full breakdown of the project costs must be entered into the appropriate section of the form.
Do you fund new/pilot projects?
Yes, we do fund new/pilot projects.
It is important that you can demonstrate the need and demand for the service and that your organisation has the capacity to deliver the project.
Do you fund salaries?
Yes we do. If applying for a large grant, the role must be integral to the project.
Can I attach more information to my application?
Yes. You can attach up to two supporting documents. We welcome an impact report, pilot evaluation or anything else you feel would be relevant to your application.
If I include a prepared project proposal, do I still have to complete the form in full?
Yes. The entire form must be completed in full.
If I send in a full set of accounts, do I still have to complete the finance section of the form?
Yes. The entire form must be completed in full.
I don’t know how to fill in the finance section of the form. What should I do?
Please click here for further information about how to complete this section.
In addition, your finance worker, accountant/auditor, council for voluntary service or other support agency should be able to assist you as we use this information to help us assess the financial strength of your organisation.
If you have a question about the wording of a question then you would be welcome to call us for clarification.
Can I post or email my application, or should I submit it online?
We cannot accept postal or emailed applications, all forms are online only. There will be a ‘Submit’ button for you to click once the application has been completed. Our application form is compatible with assistive technology. However, please contact us if you have any accessibility issues relating to submitting your application.
How will I know if you have received my enquiry/application?
You will receive a copy of your expression of interest/application immediately as receipt by email.
If changes occur to our organisation after we have submitted our expression of interest/application, do we need to inform the MCF?
Yes – please make sure that you keep us updated of any important changes that may affect the outcome of your application. This is especially important if your contact details change, or if the person who submitted the application leaves your organisation.
Do applications require the support or a reference from a Freemason?
No – your charity does not require a connection to a Freemason.
If you are a Freemason who is interested in referring a charity for a grant, please do not hesitate to share our website with the organisation or give them our contact details so we can advise them on how to apply.
My application fits both the Children and Young People and Later Life areas. Which one should I apply for?
You should apply for one and not both of our target areas.
How are successful grantees selected?
Charities go through a rigorous assessment process before being selected for support. We assess applicants on several criteria: the need being addressed, whether the activities effectively tackle this need, the charity’s financial situation, the capacity and sustainability of the organisation and its project, reach and potential impact, how results are monitored, etc. Because we are funded by Freemasons across England and Wales we aim to have a good geographic spread of grants.
Once the applications have been assessed, a shortlist is presented to the relevant local Province and our Charity Grants Committee for a final decision. The Committee includes those with experience in the voluntary sector and it meets regularly throughout the year.
How long will I have to wait for a decision?
For large grants you may have to wait approximately six months for an outcome.
For small grants you may have to wait approximately three months for an outcome.
Do you provide feedback on unsuccessful applications?
Yes. We will provide feedback at whichever stage your application is rejected.
The main reason for not funding projects is that we receive many more applications than we can support, which unfortunately causes us to turn down many of the charities that apply to us.
My query is not answered here, where can I get further help and advice?
We are always happy to help with any questions you may have. Please contact us by email at email@example.com or call 020 3146 3337 to talk on the phone. Our office hours are 9am-5pm Monday to Thursday and 9am-4pm on Friday.
Further eligibility guidelines are available on our resources page.