What Does Freemasonry Do?
As a fraternity, Freemasonry provides an opportunity for men to meet and enjoy friendly companionship. In the spirit of helpfulness and brotherly love and guided by strict moral principles it encourages goodwill towards all mankind. Freemasonry promotes self-improvement and teaches the basic principles of brotherly love, charity and truth which Masons are encouraged to practice in their daily lives. Masons serve society charitably – not just with money (although over two million Masonic dollars are contributed every day to Masonic philanthropies in North America alone) but also through actions and deeds.
In the Middle Ages each lodge of Operative Masons maintained a charity chest to help widows and orphans, or members in distress. In addition, they assisted a fellow Mason by giving him a day’s work or the means of travelling to the project of a neighbouring lodge.
In the same manner, Masonic lodges of today provide funds to quietly assist members in need, send remembrances to widows, or special greetings to brethren confined by age or illness.
Freemasonry participates in community fund raising projects such as disaster relief, specialized hospital equipment, vehicles for the handicapped or additions to hospitals.
The Masonic Foundation of Ontario provides non-repayable bursaries to Ontario university and college students who need help. In the first 32 years of this programme assistance in the amount of $1,438,553 was given to 2,495 students. During the 1995-1996 year 232 students received bursaries totalling more than $202,270.
The Foundation has a strong interest in youth related projects. It presently supports Voice, a Provincial organization that assists hearing impaired children. Financial help goes to Autistic Homes of Ontario, an expanding organization providing homes in which small groups of adolescents with this severe learning disorder receive instruction and guidance.
The Foundation is a major partner in the deafness and implant programme of the Ontario Deafness Research Foundation. During the past few years well in excess of one million dollars has been raised, which has allowed for sizable financial support of two organizations, “Parents Against Drugs” and “Council on Drug Abuse.” These organizations currently train teams of students in their upper years of high school on the dangers of drug abuse, and then have them present educational programmes to the younger students.