WHAT IS THE MASONIC CHARITABLE FOUNDATION?
The Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) builds better lives by enabling opportunity, advancing healthcare and education and promoting independence for Freemasons, their families and the wider community.
The MCF is one of the largest grant-making charities in the country supporting Freemasons and their families as well as charities across England and Wales.
WHERE DOES THE FOUNDATION GET ITS MONEY FROM?
The MCF’s work is funded solely through the generous donations of Freemasons under the United Grand Lodge of England, their families and friends.
WHAT DOES THE MCF FUND?
Their current funding categories are:
• Creating the best start in life for disadvantaged children and young people
• Reducing isolation in later life
• Medical research into degenerative disease
• Care services in the hospice sector
The target areas are reviewed regularly to ensure grants are making the greatest possible impact.
HOW DO WE KNOW WHERE THE MCF SPENDS THE MONEY?
The MCF provides a list where money has been spent in WEST KENT every 3 months available to all FLOs and publishes a yearly summary available on their web site.
CAN MEMBERS IN WEST KENT ASK FOR THE MCF TO CONSIDER GIVING MONEY TO LOCAL CHARITIES?
Yes, usually via your Charity Steward, both individuals and charities can be put forward for consideration of assistance.
WHAT ARE THE FESTIVAL DATES?
The Festival will run from the 1st January 2020 until the 5th May 2026 the final sum achieved being announced at our Provincial meeting at Great Queen Street. However we are ready to accept Direct Debits and donations into the Festival Relief Chest now for further transfer to the MCF on 01-01-2020.
What is meant by “Gift Aid”?
Gift aid is a means of obtaining tax relief on money donated to UK charities. Donors must be tax payers in order to qualify. The relief is worth an extra 25%, if you give £10 with gift aid it the charity receives £12.50.
I don’t pay tax or capital gains tax, what do I do if my lodge uses the envelope scheme?
Simply put the money you wish to donate into the envelope, complete the details on the tear off slip in the normal way and leave the gift aid boxes blank.
I don’t want the charity steward or treasurer to know my tax situation, what do I do?
Do exactly as above and leave the gift aid boxes blank.
What happens to the money in my Gift Aid Envelopes?
The envelope is opened by the nominated member of your lodge / chapter, often the charity steward, festival representative or the treasurer, the contents are counted, and the amount recorded on the MCF record sheet of giving with the envelope scheme.
When all the envelopes have been opened and recorded the total amount is counted by the charity
steward, festival representative or treasurer who pays the cash into the bank and then writes out a
cheque for the MCF (The Freemasons Grand Charity), and sends the cheque, empty envelopes and a
completed white envelope verification form, to the charity in the pre-paid envelope.
The charity records the total amount and credits the individual group, lodge or chapter. It also
records the individual amounts against each individual’s name and if a tax-payer, recovers the tax.
What are the advantages of using Gift Aid Envelopes for the Lodge Charity Collection?
Tremendous! It means that rather than giving anonymously with cash into a charity plate, brethren
who are tax-payers can gain an additional 25% for the MCF without having to do more than writing their details on an envelope and ticking the gift aid box.
Even non tax-payers and those not wishing to declare their tax situation nor to have tax reclaimed on their donations can use the white envelopes. Non tax-payers should complete the envelope in the normal way and leave the gift aid boxes blank.
My lodge / chapter has run out of forms and envelopes – how do I obtain more?
Apart from the fact that all forms are available for anyone to download from the website, a stock including Gift Aid envelopes will be held by the Provincial Grand Charity Steward.
At what point may I be entitled to the award of a jewel?
Individuals making donations for jewel patronage will need to donate one of the following amounts:
Steward £600, Patron £1,200 and Grand Patron £1,800. For each brother, MCF 2026 Festival Secretary will keep a record of any contributions or donations made whether by white gift aid envelopes, single donations, regular donations, wherein you have provided your name when donating. Obviously, this cannot include cash collections or raffles where money is donated or paid anonymously.
Donors will also be credited with any promises or pledges to continue to donate by direct debit and when the combined total of donations and pledges has reached the qualifying level, those qualifying will be informed and entitled to apply for a jewel. Thus, a direct debit for the remaining available period would immediately qualify for a Festival Stewards Jewel.
WHERE CAN ALL THE FORMS CAN BE DOWNLOADED?
All forms and letters can be downloaded from our 'download page' on the website.
I AM A NEW CHARITY STEWARD AND I DON'T HAVE AN MCF PACK?
Outgoing Charity Stewards are expected to pass on the MCF pack and all information relevant to their role. If you are unable to obtain these documents please inform your local Festival Liaison officer. (FLO)
WHO IS MY FLO?
is responsible for Welling
is responsible for Welling and Wilmington
is responsible for Wrotham and Sevenoaks
is responsible for Dartford
is responsible for Dartford
is responsible for Sidcup
is responsible for Sidcup
is responsible for Tunbridge Wells and Edenbridge
is responsible for Bromley and Chislehurst
is responsible for Bromley, Chislehurst and Greenhithe
You can contact them here.
CAN I PAY DIRECT TO THE 2026 FESTIVAL?
There are 3 ways to pay directly.
text “WESTKENT 2026” TO 70500
To pay by BACS, the Festival bank account details are available here
To pay by cheque made payable to “PROVINCE OF WEST KENT FESTIVAL”. Cheques with a covering letter should be forwarded to Oakley House and marked “Festival” or sent via your Relief Chest to the Festival Relief Chest “FEST 2026” using the green form.
IS THERE A COMMISSION CHARGE ON TEXT DONATIONS?
No, the full donation will go to the Festival and is fully accredited.
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF USING GIFT AID?
When a UK tax payer makes a donation under a Gift Aid declaration, the Charity is able to reclaim the tax paid on that donation from the UK government. The amount reclaimed will be credited to the donor and his Lodge.
IS THE MONEY DONATED TO THE FESTIVAL KEPT IN A SINGLE BANK ACCOUNT OR RELIEF CHEST UNTIL 2026 WHEN IT IS DONATED TO THE MCF?
No - the money is given to the MCF at regular intervals throughout each year of the Festival. The Totals are accumulated in a virtual pot only.
WHO WILL KNOW HOW MUCH I HAVE DONATED?
The Provincial Grand Charity Steward and his Festival Treasurer are the Relief Chest representatives and the only ones to have access to this information. Lodge and Chapter Charity Stewards will maintain their usual records in line with their appointed duty. With the exception of a list of those qualifying for the Festival Jewel or other honorific’s, no details of individual donors or their donations will be known to the Festival Committee.
WILL THE 2026 FESTIVAL RECOGNIZE LODGES/CHAPTERS AND INDIVIDUALS WHO DONATE SIGNIFICANT SUMS BY WAY OF "PATRONAGE AWARDS"?
There will be individual “Patronage Awards” and the level to achieve this was announced at the Charity Stewards meeting on 30th September, £600 for a Steward, £1,200 for Parton and £1,800 for Grand patron. At this moment in time there will be no “Patronage Awards” for Lodges or Chapters, but this will be reviewed when we can see how the Province as a whole is supporting the Festival.
ARE DONATIONS ACCREDITED TO THE INDIVIDUAL AND THE LODGE/CHAPTER?
Yes, however you donate assuming the correct information has been provided, both the individual and their Lodge/Chapter will be credited.
DO WE HAVE TO GIVE UP OUR CHARITABLE EFFORTS FOR OTHER LOCAL GOOD CAUSES?
No! In order to do so, the PGM has suggested that better use be made of the Provincial Charity Committee (PCC) which is set up to and regularly grants money to charitable causes in the Province and remains keen to receive further applications to support other worthy causes.
To ensure that we meet our commitment to the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) in 2026, the PGM proposed that Lodges and Chapters wishing to gift monies to local causes refer such donations to the PCC, so that it can make these contributions on their behalf. Lodges and Chapters will then be able to focus solely on the 2026 Festival Appeal as their main charitable aim. More detailed information will be available soon.
It is important that we maintain the close links with the local community that Lodges have built up over the years through their support of local Charities. However, the Lodge/Chapter Charity Steward should monitor if the donations by his Lodge to other Charities will impinge on the Lodge’s aim to reach its target.
CAN WE UNDERTAKE A SPONSORED EVENT?
Yes, the Charity Steward’s pack has “Sponsorship” and “Gift Aid” Forms.
HOW WILL WE KNOW HOW THE APPEAL IS PROGRESSING?
Our web site will have updates from time to time on the progress of the Festival donations and when revised figures are announced. However this is a very busy time for the Charities Office and accurate figures will be infrequent. Each issue of 'The Column' will also have details of Festival activities, as will your FLO.
As the Festival Team, we have just put together some of the questions we feel are most likely to be asked, however as the Festival progresses other issues may well surface that can be dealt with on a day to day basis.
Please remember we are a new 'Band of Brothers' and although we have put a lot of effort into planning we are still learning as we go!