The British Benevolent Society, (BBS), is a 501(c) (3) charity whose aim is to raise and spend money for the aid, relief, maintenance and assistance of sick, elderly, disabled or financially distressed British citizens, who are resident or transient in California or who are resident or transient in any of the states covered by the British Consulate-General office located 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 fund raising, 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 Nationals who are absolutely desperate and literally have no where else to turn for relief and who reside in the states covered by the Consulate-General office located in California .

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 $45 and allows the member the opportunity to attend all BBS events and fund raisers whilst supporting individuals who are in desperate need.


The British Benevolent Society has it’s roots dating back into the 1850s and 1860s 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.

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.

On April 23rd 1858 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.

Today, “The British Benevolent Society of California, Inc.”, is a voluntary non-profit making organization with a Board of Directors controlling the distribution of funds. It plays a unique role in California and the jurisdictions of the British Consulates in San Francisco and Los Angeles, and is the only one 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 and Los Angeles Consulate offices.