Masonic Charitable Foundation – Early Years Opportunities Grants Programme

Status:  Open to applications

Application Deadline: 05 October 2018


Grants for charities in England and Wales that support disadvantaged and vulnerable children and young people (up the age of 25 years) to overcome the barriers they face in order to achieve the best possible start in life.

Maximum Value: £ 150,000
Minimum Value: £ 500
Value Notes

There are two funding levels:

  • Large grants of between £10,000 and £150,000 for up to three years are available to charities with an income exceeding £500,000. The average large grant will range from £20,000 to £80,000. Occasionally, large grants of up to £150,000 are made for outstanding projects.
  • Small grants of between £500 and £15,000 are available to charities with an income of under £500,000.

All grants can be over one, two, or three years.

Grant amounts should not exceed 15% of the total income of the applicant charity.

Charities can only apply for one grant programme at a time.

Extended Description

The Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) offers grants to local and national charities in England and Wales as part of its work to help thousands of disadvantaged and vulnerable people to live happy, fulfilling lives and participate actively in society. Over the last 40 years, the MCF has provided more than £130 million to charities. The MCF’s work is funded solely through the donations of Freemasons under the United Grand Lodge of England, their families and friends.

Based on conducted surveys which indicate which areas Freemason care most about, the MCF has set out new target areas for its grant-making programme:

  • Creating the best start in life for disadvantaged children and young people.
  • Reducing isolation in later life.
  • Medical research into degenerative disease.
  • Care services in the hospice sector.

The Early Years Opportunities Grants programme offers both small and large grants to registered charities in England and Wales to create the best start in life for disadvantaged children and young people.

Depending on their annual income level, charities can apply for either a:

  • Large grant, which is for projects and can be used for salary costs, activities, materials, etc., or
  • Small grant, which is for general running and/or overhead costs of the charity – core funding.

Latest Information

There are two different deadlines:

  • 5 October 2018 for large grants applications (first stage).
  • 26 October 2018 for small grants applications.                                            

Key Criteria

Charities registered with the Charity Commission and whose beneficiaries are in England and Wales can apply:

  • Charities with an income of less than £500,000 can apply for a small grant.
  • Charities with an income exceeding £500,000 can apply for a large grant.

To be eligible, applicants must provide:

  • Mental and physical health support.
  • Learning and development, including language and communication skills, social and emotional etc.
  • Parental Support, including whole family approach.
  • Pastoral and advocacy support.

Eligible Expenditure

The funding is for activities such as:

  • Additional educational opportunities such as improving literacy and numeracy.
  • Individual interventions, ie. parent education, home visiting or mentoring.
  • Encouraging healthy behaviours with regards to diet, activity and wellbeing.
  • Psychological interventions for domestic abuse and behavioural issues etc.
  • Provision of vital adaptive technologies and equipment removing barriers
  • Alternative methods or specialist therapies to help children and young people integrate into the mainstream education system.

Examples of desired outcomes are:

  • Short Term
    • Children and young people receiving continuous support and interventions.
    • High quality provision of well-qualified and well-trained staff dealing with children and young people.
    • Existing services better supporting the physical, psychological and emotional needs of children and young people.
    • More children and young people engaged in sports and social clubs in society.
    • Age appropriate skills developed by the time children get to school or young people enter their first jobs.
    • Children and young people living in a healthy and stable environment.
    • Greater knowledge of options and rights for parents.
    • Greater awareness of the subject within the Masonic community.
  • Long Term
    • Improved health and wellbeing for children and young people.
    • Children and young people given the choice and opportunities they need to live a fulfilling life.
    • Equal opportunities for all children and young people regardless of ability or background.
    • Children and young people having the best start in life no matter what their circumstances.
    • Stable and healthy and supported family networks.
    • MCF’s profile raised within the Masonic community, public and third sector.

Small grants are for general running and/or overhead costs of the charity – core funding.

Large grants are for projects and can be used for salary costs, activities, materials, etc.


The following are not eligible for funding:

  • Arts and heritage projects. (Arts and Heritage charities will be considered if the service the charity provides is for beneficiaries from the priority groups.)
  • Environmental projects.
  • Animal welfare.
  • Political or lobbying activities.
  • Civil liberties and human rights.
  • Routine delivery of the National Curriculum in schools.
  • Contributions towards new build and/or large scale capital projects, e.g. building a new hospice wing.
  • Capital repairs and/or maintenance of existing buildings.
  • Hospital equipment, such as MRI scanners.
  • Current active grant holders.
  • Umbrella organisations coordinating fundraising on behalf of others.
  • Social Enterprises or Community Interest Companies.
  • Community interest groups.
  • Organisations that are not registered charities.
  • Schools (for routine delivery activities to non-priority groups).
  • Nurseries (for routine delivery activities to non-priority groups).
  • Hospitals (for routine delivery activities to non-priority groups).
  • Individuals.
  • Those who have had a small grant or second stage large grant application within the last 12 months.
  • Those whose previous grant from the MCF ended less than two years ago.

Application Procedure

Guidelines, an application checklist, the online eligibility test are available on the Masonic Charitable Foundation website.

Once the eligibility test has been completed, applicants will be invited to submit an online application form.

Contact the Masonic Charitable Foundation for further information.

Addresses and contacts

Application forms may be available to download their website.
Contact details:
Charity Grants Programmes
Masonic Charitable Foundation 
60 Great Queen Street 
020 3146 3337