To the Brethren of the Province of Gloucestershire
13th March 2023
Brethren, Once again it is my pleasure to report to you all on the charitable donations made by, and on behalf of, the Freemasons of Gloucestershire. I am able to report to you earlier than I have in previous years owing to the hard work of the various Treasurers who are responsible for recording the transactions of the different funds. On your behalf I wish to publicly thank them for their continuing devotion to their duties.
All the figures in this letter exclude the sums raised for Project 21 which is our campaign to raise £300,000 for imaging equipment for the three main hospitals in Gloucestershire. You will know from the separate report published by the Provincial Grand Charity Steward that the response by the brethren has been heart-warming. At the time of writing the Project total stands at £235,680 and we have already made major donations to both Gloucester and Southmead Hospitals.
The Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF)
The MCF have continued to support charities within Gloucestershire in a way that is most gratifying to the members of this Province. There are two main streams of funding. ➢ Large grants, sometimes spread over a number of years, which are made in response to applications made direct by the charities concerned. ➢ Matched funding for grants made by the main Provincial Funds i.e. the GCF and the GMCA. You will see that together these totalled £40,000 in 2022
The Gloucestershire Community Foundation (GCF) & Gloucestershire Masonic Charity Action (GMCA)
The income from the two funds built up by you in the period to 2013 plus your Lodge’s annual GMCA contribution have been disbursed for the benefit of many charities within the Province of Gloucestershire. It is the practice of the Trustees of both funds to distribute the income and retain the capital. The aggregate value of these two funds now exceeds £2m, something of which every member of this Province can be proud. You will see from the attached schedules that the disbursements in the year 2022 totalled £50,029 comprising £33,510 from the GMCA and £16,519 from the GCF.
The Provincial Grand Master’s Discretionary Fund
Last year I told you of my wish to rebuild this fund after it was run down to zero in the early days of Covid. I have desisted from making a general appeal as I did not want to distract you from Project 21. However, in the autumn I will ask all the Lodges to make a contribution, perhaps the results of one raffle, to the Discretionary Fund as it does provide invaluable flexibility in our charitable giving.
Direct giving by Lodges
We have collected data on direct giving by the Lodges. In doing this I would again like to thank W. Bro. Peter Emery who works hard to collect and collate the information. We have been collating this data since 2015. Over the years of me writing this report for you, you will have seen the amount vary between £102K p.a. and £147K p.a. in the 6 years to 2021. The average over those 6 years was £117K p.a. This is a remarkable achievement by the 2600 members formed into 83 Lodges within Gloucestershire, particularly when you consider the donations to Project 21 mentioned above. In 2022 the direct donations by Lodges amounted to £150,603. The groups of beneficiaries were very similar to those recorded in previous years though in 2022 there is an identifiable spike in support for international disasters such as the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. The principal groups of beneficiaries were … ➢ Medical charities ➢ Lodge widows ➢ Child illness charities ➢ Local causes ➢ Well children’s activities
Brethren, once again in writing this report I am filled with pride at the generosity of you all. Charitable giving and helping those less fortunate than ourselves are integral to our ideals. You will see from the figures quoted above that we have lived up to those ideals very well. The aggregate of the donations in 2022 from the MCF, the Provincial Charities and the direct giving by Lodges amount to £243,882. This excludes the total raised for Project 21 which, at the time of writing, is £235,680. Please feel free to share this letter with your family and friends.
Yours sincerely and fraternally,
TIM HENDERSON-ROSS Provincial Grand Master for Gloucestershire