Mark Benevolent Fund
How are our donations applied? As “Masons” and “Mark Masons” we have already proclaimed our commitment to support charities and on many occasions done practiced this. Now more than ever there are many calls on our charitable donations and no doubt many of will want to consider which is most deserving of our hard earn cash. So while we do not directly have influence over the distribution of funds it is important we know that our contributions are “Gratefully received and faithfully applied”.
The Mark Benevolent fund is more vital and relevant today than at any period since it inception in 1868. It provides rapid financial to the most deserving. The Mark benevolent fund is administered from Mark Masons Hall and the beneficiaries fall into two categories: “Worthy Causes” and Petition Relief”.
The Worthy Causes Committee meets two or three times a to examine applications received from individual registered Charities looking for financial support or from Provinces and or Districts which may wish to support suitable registered Charities.
Major grants are made by this Committee to a wide range of qualified causes such as the R.N.L.I. and Shelter Boxes for the Haitian earthquake. The fund does not disburse funds for staffing costs, but supplies equipment and humanitarian relief. Since the start of this century the fund has made over 145 grants totalling just short of £13 Million. These include grants of £1.4 Million to Barts Cancer Hospital in 2010, £1.6 Million R.N.L.I. – Tamar Lifeboat in 2008, £3 Million The Royal Life Saving Society in 2006 and over £2 Million to Prostate Cancer Care in 2004.
A full list of the grants and recipients are available on the “Mark Masons Hall Charities Web Site” – http://www.markbenevolence.org.uk/wcc.html
The other form of beneficiaries are from Petitions; Widows, Partners and Dependents of Mark Masons. Petitions for relief are received from Lodge Almoners and Visiting Brethren to the Provincial Grand Almoner for onward transmission to the MBF Petitions Committee who sit on a near monthly basis to consider cases and relief is almost immediate upon approval.
An application will involve a personal visit to the applicant to complete the Petition Form and gather any supporting documents to help the application go smoothly. The form can be viewed and printed from the Mark Masons Hall Charities Web Site” – http://www.markbenevolence.org.uk/downloads/mbf_petition_form.pdf
The applicant should not complete the form themselves, this should be done by Lodge Almoner or Visiting Brother and forwarded directly to the Provincial Grand Almoner. Right Worshipful Bro. Keith W. Clayton P.G.J.W. is the Provincial Almoner for East Lancs, he is assisted by Worshipful Bro. Reg. Foster and Worshipful Bro. Roger Perks.
I took the opportunity of asking Keith a little of what throughs he had and how Mark Masonry had helped some of the beneficiaries. He was able to provide some startling statistics. Since 2004 the Province has received in excess of £720,000, it is currently helping 23 Mark Masons and widows, this figure varies considerably from year to year. He communicates regularly with over 270 widows/partners, some who live as far afield as Guernsey, Jersey, France and the USA.
The fund has helped Mark Masons, their widows and children over the years and Keith has many letters of thanks, expressing just how grateful they are and how their quality of life has been improved. Of course these letters remain private so the anonymity of the beneficiary is maintained. Since Keith started as Provincial Almoner he has seen a change in the needs of the beneficiaries and where there is genuine need the Mark Benevolent Fund will and has helped, but for this to continue your supports is needed.