The Guild of Our Lady of Ransom is governed by a Constitution amended on 21 May 2012 and is a Registered Charity (Number 232716) under the category 'Religious activities'. The governance of the Guild is vested in an Executive Council and they have power to regulate the work and scope of the Guild's activities in such manner as they may deem expedient.
The Guild of Our Lady of Ransom was founded in 1887 with the aim of providing support for Roman Catholic parishes in England & Wales. The Guild does this by raising collections and requesting donations and legacies from Ransomers. Through the generosity of Ransomers over the last 125 years the Guild has been able to build up an investment reserve of E6 million to generate a regular income to augment other donations, subscriptions and collections to enable it to make annual grants to poor parishes throughout England & Wales. These grants are passed to the 22 diocesan bishops for them to distribute to their poor parishes at their discretion.
The Executive Council have referred to the guidance in the Charity Commission's general guidance on public benefit when reviewing the charity's aims and objectives and in planning its activities. The Guild fulfils this requirement in that all its grants which form the greater part of its expenditure are given as unconditional gifts to the poorest parishes throughout England & Wales. They provide for the maintenance and repair of churches and chapels as places of worship of Almighty God and the provision of stipends or income for the clergy officiating at them.
There is a further public benefit in that many of the poor parishes receiving grants have few other sources of financial support while the facilities provided by these grants are used tor community and social purposes as well as for the public worship of Almighty God. The Executive Council is satisfied that the benefits provided are directly related to the charity's aims and they confirm that the opportunity to benefit is restricted solely by the available funds. They further confirm that those in poverty are not excluded, that benefits provided outweigh any detriment, and that the charity's beneficiaries are entirely appropriate to its aims.
The Guild has traditionally been led by a Master, who was a priest (released by his diocese) to run the Guild on a full time basis. Mgr Anthony Stark was the fourth Master of the Guild until his retirement in 2012 on reaching his 80th birthday. Mgr Stark is now Emeritus Master of the Guild. In the absence of a Master a Chairman has been selected by the Executive Council to organise their meetings and Chair the Annual Business Meeting of the Guild.