The Foundation brings together the work of four national Charities which had been operating separately under various names since the early 18th Century.
These charities are The Freemasons’ Grand Charity, the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys, the Masonic Samaritan Fund and the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution.
During their time of operation, the four charities each provided a specific type of support to meet various charitable aims in support of Freemasons and their families.
Although much of the support provided took the form of financial grants, the charities also operated a number of institutions: the Royal Masonic School for Boys, the Royal Masonic School for Girls, the Royal Masonic Hospital and 17 residential care homes operated by the RMBI Care Company.
Freemasonry and Charity
Freemasonry is one of the world’s oldest secular fraternal organisations and comprises a society of men concerned with moral and spiritual values. For many years Freemasons have followed three guiding principles, which they believe represent a way to achieve higher standards in life:
- Brotherly Love: The qualities of kindness, understanding, tolerance and respect for the opinions of others
- Relief: Charitable giving and activities to assist the welfare of Freemasons and the community as a whole
- Truth: Aiming for a high moral standard
The Masonic principle of relief was reflected in the establishment of a Committee of Charity by the United Grand Lodge of England in the early 18th Century.
The Committee helped to relieve the suffering of Freemasons and the dependants of deceased Freemasons with grants of up to five Guineas each. Freemasons also gave generously to many community-based charities as they still do today.
During the years that followed, other charities including schools, a hospital and an ‘Asylum for Aged and Decayed Freemason’ were established.
The legacy of these charities and the principle of Relief underpins the work of the Masonic Charitable Foundation.