The British Benevolent Society of California (BBS) is a charity whose aim is to raise and collect monetary donations in order to provide assistance to sick and destitute British subjects who are resident or transient in California.
Who is involved in the British Benevolent Society (BBS)?
The BBS is made up of predominantly volunteer members, twelve of whom form a Board of Directors and manage the charity and its activities.
There is one part time employee who manages and coordinates the membership, Board meetings, day-to-day enquiries and all administrative requirements to ensure the efficient functioning of the charity.
The Board of Directors each carries a position of responsibility and through discussion and unity make all the decisions which determine how the charity continues to succeed and deliver its mission.
Individual crisis cases are also bought to the Board in order to discuss and determine if they qualify for financial support from the BBS funds.
The Board is also responsible for fundraising, the investment and management of the charitable monies, legal alignment, coordination with the British Consulate and the marketing of the BBS organization.
Most importantly, the BBS Board is focused on helping and supporting British and Commonwealth individuals who are absolutely desperate and literally have no where else to turn for relief.
The BBS relies on the support of a paid membership program and welcomes anyone who would like to join and help to support its cause. Membership for a year costs a modest $35 and allows the member to attend all BBS events and fundraisers whilst supporting individuals who are in desperate need.
The British Benevolent Society of California has it's roots dating back into the 1850s and '60s when in San Francisco, a number of doctors, professional men and merchants met with the British Consulate to organize medical help and financial relief for distressed British Nationals.
On April 23rd, 1858, together with the British Consulate, Sir William Lane Booker, this group of individuals became known as the "British Hospital and Relief Society". As the organization became established and helped more individuals in need, it expanded and formalized into "The British Benevolent Society of California, Inc.", with a mission to assist British-born subjects in distress or sickness.
In 1858 this Relief Society was under the control of the Consulate, together with a Board of directors. The Consul and later the Consul-General served as President. The Consul-General continued as President until 1955 when the organization became independently run by the Board of Directors with its own nominated President.
Today, The British Benevolent Society of California, Inc. is a voluntary nonprofit organization with a Board of Directors controlling the distribution of funds. It plays a unique role in the British community in San Francisco and Northern California and is the only organization of its kind to exist in the USA. It continues to enjoy cordial relations with the British Consulate-General, particularly when special attention is needed with cases involving British nationals who have sought help through the San Francisco Consulate.
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