One thing that people outside the Craft don’t often realize is just how much money Masons raise for charity every year. In 2019 alone, the United Grand Lodge of England announced that brothers within lodges across the UK raised in excess of £42 million for selected Masonic charities.
Regardless of the country in which a lodge operates, charitable giving is at the heart of Masonic practice. Freemasonry supports a vast array of charities, often decided upon by the brothers that attend a particular lodge.
In the United Kingdom, grants are distributed to deserving charities through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, and details of how Masons have supported the lives of people throughout Britain can be found on their website and blog.
As all brothers quickly discover, acts of charity are essential to a Mason’s existence. And this doesn’t just mean giving money to a particular charitable organization or cause. Charity actually begins at home and in your actions towards your fellow men and women.
Masons are encouraged to act charitably in everything they do, whether it’s checking in regularly on a sick neighbour, or volunteering their time to support the fundraising activities of their lodge.
Of course, brothers are encouraged to contribute financially to charitable causes where possible, but it isn’t a requirement as such. It would be more appropriate to describe charity as one of the core Masonic values rather than an actionable objective of Freemasonry.
It’s unfortunate that the media and Freemasonry’s critics don’t spend more time focusing on the charitable efforts of Masonic lodges around the world, as such contributions are significant and make a huge difference to the lives of less fortunate people in communities in which Masonic lodges operate.
So, to address the question posed in the title of this post, Freemasons aren’t expected to support a particular charity, either with their time or financial contributions. While much of the money raised by Masons in the UK goes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, the beneficiary charities operate in different communities across the country and support deserving people in so many different ways.
While it might not be a person’s sole motivation for becoming a Mason, the fact that membership of the fraternity enables you to be more philanthropic and contribute to the world around you is a significant draw for many brothers.
Long may the Masonic tradition of giving generously to charity continue, and as brothers, we can strive for the betterment of our communities through fundraising initiatives and the donation of our time.