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Our story

Founded by the Freemasons of Queensland, Hand Heart Pocket has a proud history of charity, benevolence and philanthropy dating back more than a century. Here is a brief overview of how we have evolved into the grant-making organisation that we are today.

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A proud history dating back more than a century

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1907- 1946

The founding of The Board of Benevolence and of Aged Masons Widows and Orphans’ Fund

Our journey started in 1907 when the Freemason’s Grand Lodge
of Queensland founded the Widows & Orphans & Aged Masons Institution.

In 1909, a committee under the Freemasons’ District Grand Lodge of Queensland established a fund called Freemasons Homes. This fund was set up to establish homes for aged Masons at a time when care homes for the elderly were rare.

In 1913, 17 acres of land was purchased at Sandgate in Brisbane and in 1925, the first facility was built, Lewis Cottage, which was the start of what later became known as Masonic Care Queensland.

The Board of Benevolence was also formed in 1913, and then in 1946, all Freemason Benevolence activities in Queensland amalgamated to form The Board of Benevolence and of Aged Masons Widows and Orphans’ Fund.

1925 – 2016

Masonic Care Queensland – a legacy built on caring

Over 91 years from 1925, Freemasons established residential aged care and retirement living facilities across Queensland, all of which later became part of The Board of Benevolence and of Aged Masons Widows and Orphans’ Fund trading as Masonic Care Queensland. These facilities were in eleven locations including Atherton, Cairns, Townsville, Gracemere, Tin Can Bay, Kingaroy, Sandgate (Brisbane), Crows Nest, Texas, Inglewood and Arundel (Gold Coast). You can read more about our legacy built on caring here.

Masonic Care Queensland was sold in 2016, so the organisation could focus on greater charity, benevolence and philanthropy trading as Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland.

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2014 - Now

Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland – creating philanthropic impact

Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland was launched as a new brand and trading name for the charity and benevolent activities of The Board of Benevolence and of Aged Masons, Widows and Orphans’ Fund in 2014. The brand and trading name are based on symbols that Freemasons have used for centuries – hand, heart and pocket to pledge practical help, genuine empathy and financial generosity to those who need it most.

When the organisation sold Masonic Care Queensland in 2016, a large philanthropic fund of $180 million was established from the sale proceeds. This philanthropic fund allowed the charity, benevolent and philanthropic work of Freemasons across Queensland and in Papua New Guinea to be magnified at both a grassroots and state-wide level.

By June 2020, Hand Heart Pocket, with the assistance of Freemason Lodges, had provided almost $13 million in philanthropic and in-kind support to worthy causes over four years.

In 2019, Hand Heart Pocket was recognised for its longstanding history of philanthropy and was presented the inaugural QCF Board of Governors’ Award for Outstanding Achievement at the 2019 Philanthropists of the Year Awards.

Hand Heart Pocket further refined its philanthropic approach in late 2019 to focus on helping to improve outcomes for youth at risk. The organisation continues to support initiatives that assist men’s mental and physical health, women’s financial and physical security and our ageing population. Hand Heart Pocket also provides a hand-up to individuals in times of extreme need, to help them get back on their feet.

You can find out more about our refined philanthropic approach through our whiteboard video and our Theory of Change.

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Get in touch with our team and we will get back to you as soon as possible!

News & Publications

Sara Parrott

Hand Heart Pocket welcomes new CEO

Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland welcomed its new CEO, Sara Parrott this month after a nationwide recruitment and selection process. Sara has significant experience in grant-making, social impact measurement, not-for-profit management, corporate responsibility and stakeholder relations. She has held executive management positions in both not-for-profits and publicly listed companies and has also […]
NewsMia Wilkinson Follow Up 2020

Unstoppable Mia continues to inspire us all

In 2019, we brought you the inspiring story of little Mia Wilkinson, who at the age of four, became a quad amputee. Through our Benevolence Assistance program, we were able to provide $15,000 to help with modifications to the family home to ensure that Mia could maintain her independence. Now, three years since the harrowing […]
NewsMareeba Hospital Large

Freemasons COVID-19 Grant helps Mareeba Hospital in fight against pandemic

Mareeba Hospital has been given a hand up in their fight against the coronavirus pandemic with vital new equipment donated by the local Freemasons. Granite Freemasons Lodge together with Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland have provided almost $45,000 towards additional equipment including a Lifepak 15 defibrillator, trauma stretcher trolley and a mobile […]
NewsLittle Dreamers Grant Celebration Large

Young carers in Queensland to receive extra support to finish school

Young carers living in Brisbane, Townsville and Bundaberg will receive extra support to overcome barriers to education, with the rollout of a new pilot program in Queensland by Australia’s leading young carer support organisation, Little Dreamers. Backed by a $380,000 Significant Grant from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland, the Young Carer Project […]

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