ISSUE 2, July 2002
Editorial
Brothers in endurance: Sir Ernest Shackleton
Travel: Florida
Jack the Ripper: Exploring the Masonic link
Quarterly Communication: Annual Investiture address by the Grand Master and Report of the Board of General Purposes and Report of the Library and Museum Trust
Masonic News: Order of Service to Masonry; Grand Lodge deficit; Alvin Coburn pioneer photographer; Royal Masonic Variety Show
   Royal Arch News: Concern over falling exaltations
Charity News: Masonic relief grants launched; New RMBI video; Help is at hand through the NMSF; RMBI challenges and change; Update on RMBI projects; RMBI resident Jessie is Britain's oldest person; Grand Charity grant to National Asthma Campaign; TalentAid
Masonic Homes: Proud and independent
Library and Museum news: Recent library acquisitions
Letters
Gardening
Book reviews

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CHARITY NEWS

Masonic relief grants launched

For many years both the Grand Charity and the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution (RMBI) have given financial assistance to Masons or their dependants who needed help. The council of the Grand Charity is now keen to make sure that all Lodges are aware of recent new arrangements, which should speed up the application and approval process.
    In 2001, the Grand Charity made 1,322 grants to applicants, totalling 1,727,763 and the RMBI supported 2,495 annuitants, providing a total of 2,456,653. Often these grants were made to the same people but, apart from the way in which the money was given, there was no obvious reason why two separate funds should use one set of information and two sets of administration.
    Some time ago, the Pro Grand Master, Lord Northampton, called the presidents of the Masonic charities together to discuss ways of streamlining their operations. This resulted in an announcement at the Grand Lodge March 2002 Ouarterly Communication, from Raymond Lye, Grand Charity president, and Brian Smith, RMBI president.
    They reported that, from 1 April 2002, the Grand Charity would take over responsibility for all applications for financial help in relation to daily living expenses or household emergencies. This would allow the RMBI to concentrate on its primary objective of providing residential care for Masons and their dependants who are elderly or infirm.
    The Grand Charity now considers Masonic Relief Grants for all new applications for general financial assistance from Masons or their dependants. The New Masonic Samaritan Fund (NMSF) and the Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys (MTGB), continue to provide assistance in their specific areas of medical assistance and educational needs, respectively.
    The new Masonic Relief Grants replace both the Grand Charity's Petitions Committee grants and the annuity payments from the RMBI. The procedure for applying for a grant is the same as previously used for applying to the Grand Charity (that is, through a Province or Lodge and not directly by the individual). Anyone who applies for assistance by way of a Masonic Relief Grant, will receive a similar overall level of support as would have previously been provided by separate grants from the Grand Charity and the RMBI. Masonic Relief Grants is also the title that will eventually be given to current RMBI annuity payments. .The Grand Charity will take these over once the remaining legal formalities have been completed, and the RMBI has transferred its annuity fund. This is expected to cover all of the current annuity payments for their lifetime, and they will continue to be made in the same way as they always have been. Those Masons or their dependants who receive an annuity will not be affected by this change, although they might notice a change in the appearance of associated paperwork.
    General Masonic Relief Grants will be given for a wide variety of personal and domestic needs. It is not always ongoing help that is required. Someone who has recently moved house, may not have sufficient for essential items after all the expenses of removal have been paid. A new washing machine for an elderly couple or even a television, on which they have come to rely, can be paid for with a grant. Age is no barrier, as it is not just the elderly who can receive benefit.
    Help can be given to those who have been made redundant or are laid off work through illness. The Grand Charity recently helped the whole family of one member, whose son (also a Mason) was unable to work because of the need for an organ transplant. This was donated by a perfectly healthy member of the family, who also needed to be off work for the operation and recovery period. The Grand Charity provided funds towards the family's needs, which they would otherwise have been able to pay for from earned income.

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