Freemasonry is actively involved in supporting the local community.
There are a multitude of local community projects throughout Victoria that the 300+ lodges in the State support, too numerous to list.
Our efforts have been significant and continuous since Freemasonry first arrived in Victoria and the later establishment of our peak body, Grand Lodge, in 1889.
As a sample, Freemasons Victoria currently supports projects including Melbourne Youth Music ($50,000) and paying the wages of a Nurse ($225,000) offering support to Breast Cancer patients.
We also founded and continue to support the Epworth Freemasons Hospital and also the Royal Freemasons (Homes) that offers support and residential care to older Victorians, 200 living at our St Kilda Rd site in Melbourne and many more in various other low and high residential facilities in Victoria.
As an example of a recent sizable effort, Grand Lodge distributed over $1.2 million dollars to the victims of the Black Saturday Bushfires in 2009, but through benevolent grants and sponsorships we normally distribute around $500,000 per annum before special efforts like the 2009 Bushfire Appeal, Queensland ($161,000) and Victorian ($88,000) Flood Appeals. Early in 2012 we dispersed $260,000 in scholarships to Victorian students.
Few Victorians realise what a significant and sizable contribution Freemasons have made and continues to make to our community. Freemasonry rarely gets recognition for its efforts. Traditionally many of these activities have not been promoted by lodges and while organisations like Rotary and The Lions maintain a community profile reflecting their good works, Freemasonry has not. Indeed, until recently, since the 1930’s Australian Freemasons have been publicity shy.
As typical example of the above occurred not long after the Ash Wednesday bushfires in 1983 which destroyed over 3,700 buildings and claimed 75 lives. Until the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009, this 1983 fire was the deadliest bushfire in Australian history. Within days, as is typical following a natural disaster, Lodges and the Masonic Taskforce were at work with material and labour when a Channel 9 News Crew arrived in a town devastated by the fire. Men where there repairing and building homes to replace those which had been lost, and when news of the approaching cameras arrived, all these men downed tools and temporally dispersed. A member of the State Emergency Service asked who those men were and why they had left and he was told they were the volunteers from the Freemasons, here to help, not for publicity. Thankfully we now realise that we are in a better position to help others if we ourselves are strong and as a consequence we must increase our media presence. However it can still be hard to get Freemasons to claim recognition for their charitable efforts. This web site has the intention of helping in that.
Much of the above is undertaken on a local level by single lodges. They will provide labour and funds themselves - often raising amounts of one, two, five and ten thousand dollars.
Large figures about are raised only by the accumulative efforts of individual freemasons, their families and lodges. Every dollar counts and is valued and applied without commissions and by volunteers.
The Freemasons meeting in Collingwood have identified several local schools to support. Earlier in 2012 we supported Abbotsford Primary School with a $2,000 donation and will similarly support Collingwood Secondary College with $3,000.
Over the coming decades the Freemasons of Collingwood will increase their profile within and support for the local community.
Contact us if you need assistance in the City of Yarra or might be able to assist us in helping others.
There is a news archive here on the activities of Freemasonry Victoria
An example - Variety Bikes 4 Kids
The Board of Benevolence has been assisting Variety the children’s charity’s Bikes 4 Kids program for the past four years. In November 2011 - 100 bikes and helmets were presented to disadvantaged children made possible by the Board’s donation of $20,000 through the 3AW Variety Radiothon.
The Bikes 4 Kids program is one of many benevolent activities Freemasons Victoria is involved in to empower Victorian children who are sick, disadvantaged or have special needs to live, laugh and learn. Freemasons Victoria have supported many youth focused groups such as TLC for Kids, the Newstart program, the Good Friday Appeal, Kalparrin Early Childhood school, the Ionic Coaching Service and are a proud partner of Melbourne Youth Music.