The Masonic Charity Committee consists of 3 Master Masons who are selected by the Worshipful Master. Most lodges have limited funds in their charity fund. The Charity funds come from money that is raised from donations and fundraisers.
The Charity Committee helps with raising funds for charitable causes. They come in and help when there are not enough funds to cover charitable causes for the Lodge. The Charity Committee will help with fundraising ideas amongst other functions. Here are the duties of the Masonic Charity Committee.
Duties of the Masonic Charity Committee
- They investigate applications for assistance
- They take necessary actions related to charity activities in line with the bylaws of the Lodge.
- They make their reports known to other members of the lodge on issues like requests for donations.
The way the Masonic Charity Committee operate differs from Lodge to Lodge. In some Lodges, charity funds come from a special account dedicated for charitable purposes while in other lodges, charity funds are disbursed from the general funds.
The Masonic Charity Committee must ensure that their operations are in accordance with the bylaws of the Lodge. Members must watch out for regulations like maximum charity amount to be disbursed, check-only formats etc.
Here are some examples of Bylaw entries pertaining to the Masonic Charity Committee.
The Masonic Charity Committee is permitted to pay for charitable causes of members, and their families provided the amount do not exceed $xxxxxx for individual cases.
If the amount of money needed or requested for the charitable cause exceeds $xxxxxx, the Masonic Charity Committee must refer the issue to the Lodge.
All charity funds dispersed from lodge funds must in the form of a written check. The check will be written and made payable to the charitable recipient.
The following are some common Masonic Charity Committee rules that will be applicable in almost all lodges.
Charity requests: All charity requests must be brought before the Masonic Charity Committee so that they can sit on the issue and consider it before permitting the disbursement of funds. Only in very rare cases should funds be disbursed at the time when charity funds are requested for.
Written requests: For a written request, requesting members must write down the name, phone number and address of the intended recipient and they must state the amount of funds proposed and the reasons for requesting charity assistance.
Contacting proposed recipients: The Masonic Charity Committee must contact proposed recipients and ask about their circumstances and their needs, so the Committee can report back to the Brotherhood.
Assessment: The Masonic Charity Committee then assess the brethren in need of assistance after their findings.
Balance of lodge funds: Before money is disbursed for charity, lodge brethren must be informed of the amount remaining in the General Funds of the lodge along with the balance of the Charity account and other accounts. It is essential that Brothers know the Lodges finances before deciding on how charitable causes should proceed.
Checks only: All charity decisions must be in the form of a check that is made out to the charitable cause. Cash should not be given to help in a charitable cause regardless of if the recipient is an individual or an organization.
Why the Masonic Charity Committee Should use a Checks-only System
- More reflection time: A checks-only system allows the Masonic Charity Committee to ponder on the charity request before bringing it to the attention of the brethren for approval.
- Paper trail: A checks-only system create a visible paper trail that can be easily checked and traced. The checks-only system helps to create checks and balances within the organization. Any financial issue that arises can be easily resolved by checking the books.
Every member must know about what the checkbook contains before voting and approving the motion. The Auditing Committee must carry out an annual audit of the books, and the Budget committee must have completed the annual budget before members vote on money issues.
This way, the amount of money in the treasury will be known, and the amount of money set aside for charity purposes in the budget will be known. The audit and the budget must be provided to all members, so they can see the actual situation of the finances of the lodge before voting.
This should serve as a guide to your lodge and help the activities of the Masonic Charity Committee. You can check the bylaws of your Lodge as well as the bylaws of your Grand Lodge for more information about the Masonic Charity Committee.