At Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland, we are very aware that our charity partners and their communities may be facing many challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Building long-term partnerships is important to us, and we want to see our charity partners endure this difficult period and be able to succeed in achieving their planned outcomes over the long-term.
Helping to meet the immediate needs in our communities across Queensland and Papua New Guinea is of utmost importance to us at this time.
We remain committed to providing the $4.25 million in philanthropic support that we have budgeted for this financial year and currently have some budgeted philanthropic funds still available. Our focus for these funds is to:
- Provide additional support to some of our current and past Significant and Flagship charity partners, where there is the greatest need to ensure important services and programs can continue to be delivered during this difficult time. The need for extra support may be as a result of reduced fundraising or other income due to current health restrictions, an increase in demand for services, or a need to adapt services. Although our refined philanthropic focus is to assist charity partners who support at-risk youth, we will also look to support some current and past charity partners who have the greatest need and are still delivering services at this time. While we will not be able to support every request, we are keen to assist with the grant funding we still have available this financial year where we are able. At this point in time, we will not look to partner with any new charities with which we do not already have a working relationship.
- Increase our charity work at a grassroots level by supporting important community initiatives identified by our network of Freemason Lodges, where there is an urgent need as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Provide benevolence assistance to individuals who are in extreme need.
To provide our charity partners with some extra reassurance during this time of uncertainty, we would also like to let you know that we are committed to the following:
- Providing continuity of service – we have made some key changes over the past few weeks to ensure our continuity of service and support. This includes social distancing practices such as moving staff to a virtual working from home environment, virtual meetings, and placing a hold on all work-related travel. We are well placed to provide a continued service to our charity partners, the community and to support the charity work of Freemason Lodges during this difficult period.
- Exercising flexibility – we understand that these unprecedented times may require your organisation to divert their efforts to more immediate needs. This might mean that projects, programs or services may need to be put on hold, or you may need extra time to formally report back to us. In some exceptional circumstances, our board will also consider requests, on a case by case basis, to redirect granted funds to more immediate and urgent needs. We invite you to have a conversation with us and to maintain open communication channels to keep us abreast of how we can best support your organisation’s needs by exercising flexibility.
- Maintaining our current commitments – we will maintain our commitment to any new grant recipients that were successful in our latest grant round, of which some are still to be announced.
While there are many challenges that we will face over the coming months, we hope that by working together and maintaining open communication channels, we can continue to improve outcomes for our community over the long-term.