Activities of Freemasons
From About Freemasons
Charity and good work has been a basic tenet of Freemasonry since at least the Middle Ages. In the Middle Ages, every lodge of Masons founded a charity chest to help members who faced problems and to help the orphans and widows of members. Masonic Lodges also helped their members by offering assistance in work and even free transportation to jobs. Today, this legacy of giving continues in modern lodges.
Benevolent Acts for Masons
All Masons must swear to have a benevolent attitude towards humanity and to help where possible. Today’s lodges often have a special account set aside for charitable activities. Each Mason is expected to contribute to this account. This account is used to help members who face financial difficulty, and is also used to send condolences to members’ windows or bereaved loved ones. The funds can also be used to send messages or cards to members who are ill or confined. Some Masonic Districts have a Chairman of Benevolence, a person whose job it is to help Masons in need and to make recommendations about use of the money accumulated in each lodge’s account. The Chairman of Benevolence can be appealed to when a member has a matter that requires help. The Chairman of Benevolence also offers resources and information to members who may qualify for other types of help.
Freemasons contribute substantially to community service activities. Many Masons volunteer extensively and many lodges organize charitable events to raise awareness about causes or to raise funds for worthwhile community charities or organizations. Masons also build or fund homes that provide nursing care or shelter for the elderly. Some Mason lodges also found schools which are open to the public. Masons also offer volunteer work to offer medical assistance or to build medical facilities.
In addition to providing volunteer time and money to existing charities, Freemasons have been responsible for founding thousands of philanthropic groups not only in the US but around the globe. Some famous organizations and groups founded by the Masons include Shriners Hospitals for Children, The Masonic Service Association, the Masonic Medical Research Laboratory, The Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution, The Masonic Samaritan Fund, the Masonic Child Identification Programs (CHIP), the Royal Masonic Institution for Girls and the Royal Masonic Institution for Boys.
Since Freemasonry places a great deal of emphasis on education, it is not surprising that Masons make a number of scholarships available to students. Some scholarships are for members and their families only, while the vast majority are open to any student. Scholarships range from smaller funds established by local lodges to substantial national awards. Some scholarships established by Masons include the Charles M. Goethe Memorial Scholarship, the College or University Scholarship Fund, the Eastern Star Scholarships, the Educational & Vocational Scholarships, the Edward Lindler Scholarship, the George Washington University-Graduate Fellowship, the George Washington University-Undergraduate Scholarships, the Grand Chapter Scholarship, the Grand Guardian Council Scholarships, the Grand Lodge Higher Education Scholarship, the Grand Masters Scholarship, Grotto Scholarships, Illinois Scottish Rite Scholarship Fund Health Career Fields, the John L. McCain Scholarship, and many more.