Where Your Money Goes : The Mark Benevolent Fund

The Fund came into existence in 1868 on the suggestion of the Reverend Canon George Raymond Portal, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons. His views on charity were far more radical and progressive than the general thinking of the time. He felt that for charity to be effective it had to be disbursed swiftly and without the bureaucratic formalities of other Masonic charities. To him it was wrong for there to be any delay in providing assistance to those in need and his own Latin tag “Bis dat qui cito dat” – he gives twice who gives promptly – became, and still is, the principal guideline of the Mark Benevolent Fund (M.B.F.).

The Fund has disbursed many millions to individual petitioners and an even greater sum in grants to charities within the wider community. A major grant of £1.6m has been made to the RNLI help fund a new life boat, Addenbrooke’s Hospital Trust received over £2m for machines to help in the diagnosis of prostate cancer and a pledge of £2.6 million has been made to Hope for Tomorrow Cancer Charity for the purchase of mobile chemotherapy units throughout the UK. These projects can only be funded with your help and dedication to the fund.

When it comes to individual Petitioners things are handled slightly differently. When a Lodge Almoner is made aware of a Brother or his family in distress he should immediately arrange a visit by himself or a visiting Brother to assess the circumstances and then complete a grant application form with as much information as possible. This is then passed to the M.B.F. via the Provincial Almoner. The case is then reviewed, any further information deemed necessary asked for and then submitted to the next M.B.F. Petitions Committee.

It is important for Lodge Almoners to be aware of Brethren not dining at the Festive Board, missing meetings or failing to pay annual fees. This may be a sign of distress and it is their role to try and assist if at all possible.

How the Fund receives its income
Annual Anniversary Festivals
Every year a different Province hosts the M.B.F. Festival. A Province will organise its own fund raising towards a target that it sets and concludes with a Festival Banquet when the final results are announced.

Festival stewardships are obtained by a Brother and/or his Lady by paying a fee to the Stewards Fund, which is entirely distinct from the Mark Benevolent Fund.

When the proceeds of each Festival are sent to the Mark Benevolent Fund the individual donations are set out in a list and those sums are credited towards honorifics in the fund as below. Qualifications cannot be achieved or acknowledged until your funds have been transferred to the Mark Benevolent Fund.

The qualifications are as follows:

Patronage Award Brethren
Lodges Province/
Life Governor
n/a n/a n/a
Vice-Patron £250.00 £125.00 £25.00 per member £50.00 per member
Patron £500.00 £250.00 £50.00 per member £100.00 per member
Grand Patron
£1000.00 £500.00 See below* See below**
Grand Patron Gold Award £2500.00
£1250.00 See below* See below**
Grand Patron Diamond*** £5000 £2500.00
See below* See below**

***Grand Patron Diamond available from January 2018

Individual Donations: It is very easy for a Brother either on his own behalf or for his lady to make a donation direct to the Fund at Mark Masons’ Hall when his own Province is not in a Festival or wishes to support the current or a future Festival. Any sum above a minimum of £10 will be credited as requested and will be aggregated towards a fund qualification. The appropriate jewel or collarette will be issued when a qualification is achieved.

*Lodge Donations: A Lodge reaches Patron status by paying £50 per subscribing member. For a Lodge to achieve Grand Patron status a further £1000 additional one-off donation will be required. To achieve the Grand Patron Gold a further £2500 one-off donation is required. To achieve the Grand Patron Diamond a further £5000 is required to be donated to the Fund. Refer to rule 9.1.3

**Province/District Donations: Every Lodge within a Province/District must have achieved the required Patronage award for the Province/District to qualify. Refer to rule 9.1.4.

Lodges and Provinces wishing to achieve their qualifications should refer to the Constitutions and Regulations of the Order for full details or call 020 7747 1171.

Reproduced from the Mark Benevolent Fund Guide to Honorifics. to download the ful guide which includes photos of the Patronage Award Jewels click here.