How important is charity to freemasonry?

Benevolence and helping those in need is a cornerstone of Freemasonry. Freemasons have been involved in charitable activities in New Zealand since European settlement.


Freemasonry - CharityDoes Freemasons New Zealand have charitable status?

The Freemasons Charity, the charity arm of Freemasons New Zealand, is registered and has charitable status under the New Zealand Charities Act.


What do Freemasons do for charity, as you don’t often hear about their charitable activities?


Caring for people through charity is key to Freemasonry. Traditionally, Freemasons have “just got on with it”. It wasn’t their style to publicise what they did. In recent times more people have become aware of and recognised the philanthropic work of Freemasons,


What is The Freemasons Charity?

The Freemasons Charity is the registered charitable arm of Freemasons New Zealand and is the cornerstone of our benevolent activities in New Zealand.


The charity:

  • Provides support to individuals in need,
  • looks after widows and the wider Freemasons family,
  • supports Lodges and Districts in projects that benefit their local communities,
  • supports research activities at universities; and through the Freemasons University Scholarship Programme, rewards students who both excel academically and get involved in their community.


Each year The Freemasons Charity, apart from other Masonic Trusts, provides about $1,200,000 for health research in paediatrics, neurology, gerontology and, in education it funds university scholarships and fellowships, as well as funding many other projects nationwide.


What is the Acacia Society ?

The Acacia Society is administered by The Freemasons Charity and recognises those Freemasons who have made a bequest in favour of The Freemasons Charity. While some Freemasons prefer to remain anonymous, others are comfortable wearing a small Acacia pin to signify their bequest. The Acacia Society assures a member that their contribution will continue to support the masonic principles that they, as a Freemason, endorsed in life.


What are the rules in Freemasonry about giving money to charity?

Charity is a cornerstone of Freemasonry, and is one reason why men become Freemasons. The money that Freemasons give is out of their own pocket and does not come from ‘tin-rattling’ or other public fund-raising activities. Masonic charitable activities and giving to others help to improve the welfare of Freemasons and the welfare of their communities.

The Freemasons Charity does not fund another organisation’s buildings or vehicles; nor does it fund that organisation’s ongoing costs (such as administration or salaries). Individual Lodges have their own criteria for funding community projects.


What groups, organisations and individuals do Freemasons give money to?

Over the years, most charitable causes in New Zealand have received proceeds from the Freemasons Charity, Freemasons Lodges or their charitable trusts.


Are all Freemasons New Zealand’s charitable projects in New Zealand?

charity-2Freemasons New Zealand focuses most of its charitable efforts on New Zealand based projects. Sometimes people and organisations from overseas have appealed to our members to donate as individuals. One recent appeal was after the fires in New South Wales. Australian Freemasons also generously assisted us at the time of the Christchurch earthquakes.


Do Lodges give money fo small organisations within their community?

Freemasons give money to small organisations within their community as individuals or through a Lodges charitable trust. One example in 2013 is the Otago Masonic Charitable Trust, which used its annual grants to give $562,000 locally. Groups that benefited from the Trust’s grants included food banks, Pregnancy Help Inc., Brain Injury Association, Outram School, Caversham Toy Library, Otago Community Hospice, Mosgiel Central Kindergarten, Wakari Kindergarten, Operation New Direction Trust, Home of St Barnabas Trust, and Life Education Trust.