Relief, or “charitable giving” is a cornerstone of Mark Masonry and since it was established in 1856 the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons has supported charities on a local and national basis. The charitable reach of their Mark Benevolent Fund goes even further afield when circumstances demand action on an international stage.
Charitable fund raising is a key aspect of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons of Bedfordshire, since its inception in 1985, and its efforts are now coordinated within the Province by the Provincial Charity Committee.
Locally – PGL of MMM of Bedfordshire
The Mark Master Masons within the Province of Bedfordshire raise funds for local and national charities and organisations through its charitable trust, the ‘Keystone Fund’ established in 2012. Funds raised at events, individual donations and endowments by Mark Master Masons of Bedfordshire are received by the Keystone Fund and managed by the Provincial Charity Committee to provide charitable support to a diverse range of worthy causes, including any brother in extreme need.
The Provincial Charity Committee, chaired by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master and guided by the Provincial Executive, approve donations from the Keystone Fund to charitable organisations. Local causes are the preferred recipients, especially where it is felt that they will have a more significant effect than with National charities. A few examples of these are:-
It is important to remember that, at all times, members of our Provincial Mark Master Masons, including Royal Ark Masons, should give to the Keystone Fund what they can afford. The personal amount donated remains confidential. Giving of your time and skills to help organise or take part in fund raising events is as important as a coin or two donated.
Nationally – The Mark Benevolent Fund
The Mark Benevolent Fund is a registered charity (no. 207610) which came into existence in 1868 on the suggestion of the Reverend George Raymond Portal, Grand Master of the Mark. His views on charity were more radical and progressive than the general thinking of his time.
He felt that for charity to be effective it had to be disbursed swiftly, without undue bureaucratic formalities and that it was wrong for there to be delay in providing assistance to those in need. Indeed his own Latin tag ‘Bis dat qui cito dat’ which means ‘he gives twice who gives promptly’ became the principal guideline of the Mark Benevolent Fund and remains so to this day.
The Fund has disbursed many millions to individual petitioners and an even greater sum in grants to charities within the wider community. A major grant of £1.6m was made to the RNLI to help fund a new life boat, Addenbrooke’s Hospital Trust has received over £2m for machines to help in the diagnosis of prostate cancer and a pledge of £2.6 million has been made to Hope for Tomorrow Cancer Charity for the purchase of mobile chemotherapy units throughout the UK.
These projects can only be funded with your help and dedication by donating to our Provincial Keystone Fund. The income to the Mark Benevolent Fund is principally from individual and Lodge contributions.