Freemason Charitable Work

The definition of masonic charity is not intended to be measured with numbers. How do you measure the value of a visit to a shut-in, a kind word or other assistance to someone who is experiencing difficulties?

Many of our members also donate to other charities outside of the masonic order and follow the teaching of practicing out of the lodge what they have been taught in it. But that is not a reason to be uninformed of the measurable contributions we do make too many charities.

There are currently seventy-four Grand Lodges in North America; each “sovereign and independent” with no governing body to which they must report. They are guided only by their ongoing commitment to assisting their members, and cooperating with each other to meet needs in their community.

The unique charities of the Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon and her concordant bodies are Many.

Grand Lodge Charities

Established in 1958, the Masonic Foundation is a registered charity operated by aboard of Grand Lodge officers.

The object of this foundation is to receive “bequests, devices, gifts and voluntary donations of every kind and description” and thereby establish a trust fund, to provide care for the needy, in particular the sick, aged, destitute, and helpless.

Some $80,000 are made in annual disbursements.

A registered charity established in July of 1988, the Charities Fund is overseen by a nine-member board of trustees designated by our Constitutions (R36), They are responsible for recommending community charitable projects, subject to Finance Committee consideration.

This Fund consists of a capital fund augmented by donations and by such portion of the annual general revenue of Grand Lodge as the Finance Committee shall recommend and Grand Lodge shall determine.

The We Can Help Project is a St. John Ambulance first-aid program for grade four students. The total dollar value allocated is $35,000 per year.

Statistics show that in 1995 70% of teenage fatalities, were the result of preventable injuries. More Canadians between the ages of one and twenty-one die as a result of injuries than of all other causes combined. We fund a ten-lesson first-aid course for all grade four students in the province.

Operated in conjunction with the Canadian Cancer Society, this project, begun in 1989 with three vehicles, has expanded to include fifteen vehicles and over five hundred volunteer drivers.

This volunteer programme provides free transportation for cancer patients from airports, ferry terminals, hotels and private homes, to cancer clinics in Vancouver, Vancouver’s Island, and the Interior, as well as destinations such as the Canadian Cancer Society, the Easter Seal House and Ronald McDonald House.

There are seven cars covering Vancouver, Richmond, Burnaby, New Westminster, Coquitlam and Port Moody.

Vancouver’s Island has five vehicles operating between Campbell River and Victoria.

Three vehicles also operate in the Interior between Kamloops and the USA border. 700,000 kilometres were travelled in the last year, providing at least two rides to almost seventy patients a day.

In addition, the Cancer Society pays 47¢ a kilometre to private volunteers who drive their own cars in areas of the Lower Mainland not covered by our efforts.

The yearly operating cost of this programme is $310,000, paid for by donations, legacies and our $7 per capita.

A registered charity established in 1961, the Bursary Fund is operated by a committee appointed by Grand Lodge to provide bursaries to students.

Funds totaling $73,000 are received annually from individual donations and revenue generated by a separate capital fund.

The Benevolent Fund was established in 1923 from the existing Grand Lodge Charity Fund. It is operated by a Grand Lodge-appointed committee.

$60,000, received annually from individual donations and a separate capital fund, are allocated to members and their widows who require short-term assistance.