The Knights of Columbus is a fraternal society founded by Father Michael J. McGivney in 1882 for Catholic men. As first conceived by Father McGivney it was intended to provide financial and emotional aid to members and their families in need. The Knights provided support to the widows of members and their families.
Today’s as the world’s foremost Catholic fraternal benefit society the Knights of Columbus has blossomed into much more. The Knights promote social and intellectual fellowship among its members. The Knights have educational, charitable, and religious programs to support their communities.
Today the Knights of Columbus is a multi-million dollar non-profit charitable organization. They work to raise funds to fight mental illness, volunteer for the Special Olympics and other charitable organizations, erecting pro-life billboards and “Keep Christ in Christmas” signs, conducting blood drives and raising funds for disaster victims, and can be seen parading at patriotic events with their bright capes, feathered chapeaux, and ceremonial swords. In addition the Knights offer to their members an optional insurance program that is world class and holds the highest insurance ratings that are given.
From the moment of our founding in 1882, charity has been the first principle of the Knights of Columbus. We are men of faith and men of action.
Last year alone, in addition to raising and donating more than $158 million to charitable needs and projects, Knights volunteered more than 70 million hours of their time to charitable causes. We undertake these acts of charity because we see those in need through the eyes of faith. Moreover, in the Knights of Columbus, we approach these acts of charity together. Pope Benedict XVI calls this the “practice of love...as a community.”
Our charitable activities encompass an almost infinite variety of local, national and international projects. From international charitable partnerships with Special Olympics, the Global Wheelchair Mission and Habitat for Humanity to our own Food for Families and Coats for Kids projects and other purely local charities, the opportunity to work together with fellow Knights and their families is virtually endless.
If you’d like to be a part of an international organization of 1.8 million Catholic men whose principal work involves helping others in need, we'd like to meet you and invite you to join us.
The Knights’ annual Survey of Fraternal Activity for the year ending Dec. 31, 2011, indicated that, despite a soft economy, total charitable contributions reached $154,651,852 – exceeding the previous year’s total by more than $3.4 million.
The figure includes $29,183,386 donated by the Supreme Council, and $128,901,128 in contributions from state and local councils, assemblies and Squires circles.
Sixty percent of the contributions were for projects at the community level, many involving youth activities. Large donations during the period included $250,000 by Supreme Council and $3,378,000 by state and local councils for Special Olympics as well as $1,593,000 by Supreme Council and $5,950,073 by state and local for the support and promotion of religious vocations.
The survey also indicated that the quantity of volunteer service hours to charitable causes by Knights grew to 70,053,149 – an increase of 797,507 hours compared to 2009. There were more than 418,841 Knights of Columbus blood donations during the year.
Cumulative figures show that during the past decade, the Knights of Columbus has donated $1.406 billion to charity, and provided more than 653 million hours of volunteer service in support of charitable initiatives.
Our Founder Father Michael J. McGivney