Wiltshire 2028 Festival
Why do we have a Festival? It's a question I'm often asked and the answer is very simple. In Wiltshire we believe that charity is in a Freemason's DNA, that it is a virtue we have as a part of our character. It's not something we have to be told to practice let alone be persuaded. At our Initiation into Freemasonry we were reminded that charity is a virtue, and one we profess to admire. Nothing tests our character more than when we are called upon to exercise something we claim to support.
The Masonic Charitable Foundation is the principal Masonic charity and is funded through Provincial, Lodge and individual donations. A Province, or indeed a number of Provinces, hold a Festival, normally covering five years, which raises funds for the Masonic Charitable Foundation.
Our Festival will run from February 2023 until the end of December 2028. We are asking you to help raise even more than the Province achieved in 2017 when we beat a target of £750,000 and raised an amazing £823,422.. Our goal is to raise £1,000,000 - yes one million pounds, and I believe we can do it
The Festival Jewel is very special and different from any others you are likely to see, and for good reason. The principal features of the design focus on the fact of charity being in a freemason's DNA, and the hope that the practice of charity is (or should be) from the heart. Hence the heart taken from the MCF's logo, and the DNA double helix reflecting Wiltshire's charity motto. The jewel is available from your Charity Stewards and details on the qualification for a jewel have been provided to him. I am sure that like me you will do wwat is required to wear this memorable jewel.
Finally, please let me remind you that fund raising must never be a drudge, or a task left to others. It really is important that we remember and bear in mind that fundraising should always be fun. Enjoy every aspect of planning an event, take heart in knowing that whatever part you play, whether great or small, it will make a difference.
Wiltshire 2028 Festival.
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The Wiltshire 2028 Festival
I know that for many of our members the past few years have been very tough and very demanding. It's not just the relentless increase in living costs, which have impacted on all our lives, it's also the two plus years of living with Covid-19 and all the issues related to the pandemic.
The Masonic Charitable Foundation, born out of the coming together of the four Masonic Charities, has been at the forefront in supporting Freemasons, their families and local communities through these difficult times.
However, it would be impossible for the MCF to undertake this work without the incredible support of Freemasons throughout the country, including Wiltshire. As Simon has already said, Provinces, hold a Festival, normally covering five years with the express aim of raising much needed funds for the MCF. Having completed its last Festival in 2017 - it's our turn again.
I am confident that Wiltshire Freemasons from across the Province, irrespective of the Order to which they belong will be fully supportive of the plans set out for the next five years. I am certainly looking forward to attending special events organised by Lodges, and the Province and all designed around fund raising for the MCF.
"You really can make a difference"
Provincial Grand Master
There is more than one way to donate
The method by which we manage our finances, including the way we pay for things we use or consume, is changing. Recent research suggests that more people are spreading their payments for items such as energy bills, insurance, council tax, car servicing and leisure club subscriptions.
Many of our members will be well aware of the benefits of regular payment transactions made either by a monthly standing order or variable direct debit.
Charities, including the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) have been at the forefront of promoting regular giving as a means to make the process easier and donating more affordable.
One of the reasons why regular giving is so important is its capacity to help the charity manage its work by providing a guaranteed income stream rather than an irregular contribution profile. It is for this reason that regular giving plans are often referred to as ‘Smooth Giving’.
I am delighted that a few Lodges have already accumulated a significant sum of money which they have set aside to give to the Wiltshire 2028 Festival. It will also enable individual Lodges to exercise total control of their own fund raising, decide when funds are released and to support local charities of their choice. I also believe that an ongoing commitment to the Lodge and Provincial Relief Chests will create a savings culture which will place both Relief Chests in a positive position for when the next festival is announced.
"Give as your circumstances in life
The Masonic Charitable Foundation
The Masonic Charitable Foundation isn't just about giving money to other charities. It provides health and care grants for applicants to receive treatment and care without undue delay or expense.
Freemasons initiated into a Lodge under the English Constitution, their wives, partners, widows and dependents can apply for a grant if they have a diagnosed health or care need and, faced with over 12 weeks wait for treatment or support, are unable to easily afford their own private care.
Grants are available to fund medical treatment or surgery, functional dental treatment, mobility aids and equipment, respite breaks, counselling and consultations or assessments.
As well as providing grants to cover the associated costs of a diagnosed health or care need, the Masonic Charitable Foundation supports medical research projects which aim to improve the treatment for many of the illnesses and disabilities that affect Masonic families and the wider community.
"Always there when you need them"
Provincial Grand Almoner
Donating to the Wiltshire 2028 Festival made easy
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How we spend your money
For every £1 spent, 87 pence was paid out in grants and support services for individuals and their families facing difficulty, and charities that work directly with disadvantaged members of society.
Only seven pence of every pound represents the costs of generating funds, which includes investment management fees, property costs and fundraising. The remaining six pence is spent on the administration required to deliver our life-changing work.
Our income comes from ....
Around 54 per cent of our income comes from the contributions of today’s Freemasons, the majority of which is raised through festival appeals, a unique fundraising system where Freemasons in selected Provinces focus their collective efforts on raising funds for the MCF over a period of five or six years.
A further 18 per cent comes from legacies and the remaining 28 per cent comes as income from assets that have built up over a long period of time from the generosity of previous generations.