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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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