More Information about Knights of Columbus
Learn About Us
Thanks to the efforts of Father Michael J. McGivney, assistant pastor of St. Mary’s Church in New Haven and some of his parishioners, the Connecticut state legislature on March 29, 1882, officially chartered the Knights of Columbus as a fraternal benefit society. The Order is still true to its founding principles of charity, unity and fraternity.
The Knights was formed to render financial aid to members and their families. Mutual aid and assistance are offered to sick, disabled and needy members and their families. Social and intellectual fellowship is promoted among members and their families through educational, charitable, religious, social welfare, war relief and public relief works.
The history of the Order shows how the foresight of Father Michael J. McGivney, whose cause for sainthood is being investigated by the Vatican, brought about what has become the world's foremost Catholic fraternal benefit society. The Order has helped families obtain economic security and stability through its life insurance, annuity and long-term care programs, and has contributed time and energy worldwide to service in communities.
The Knights of Columbus has grown from several members in one council to more than 14,000 councils and 1.8 million members throughout the United States, Canada, the Philippines, Mexico, Poland, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Panama, the Bahamas, the Virgin Islands, Cuba, Guatemala, Guam and Saipan.
All the good works we do are informed by our four core principles:
Charity - Our Catholic faith teaches us to “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” Members of the Knights of Columbus show love for their neighbors by conducting food drives and donating the food to local soup kitchens and food pantries, by volunteering at Special Olympics, and by supporting, both spiritually and materially, mothers who choose life for their babies. Knights recognize that our mission, and our faith in God, compels us to action. There is no better way to experience love and compassion than by helping those in need, a call we answer every day.
Unity – None of us is as good as all of us. Members of the Knights of Columbus all know that – together – we can accomplish far more than any of us could individually. So we stick together…we support one another. That doesn’t mean that we always agree or that there is never a difference of opinion. It does mean that – as a Knight of Columbus – you can count on the support and encouragement of your brother Knights as you work to make life better in your parish and community.
Fraternity – The Venerable Michael J. McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus, in large part, to provide assistance to the widows and children left behind when the family breadwinner died – often prematurely. The Order’s top-rated insurance program continues to do this today, as do individual Knights, who last year gave more than 10 million hours of their time to assist sick and/or disabled members and their families. In the Knights of Columbus, we watch out for and take care of one another.
Patriotism – Members of the Knights of Columbus, be they Americans, Canadians, Mexicans, Cubans, Filipinos, Poles, or Dominicans, are patriotic citizens. We are proud of our devotion to God and country, and believe in standing up for both. Whether it’s in public or private, the Knights remind the world that Catholics support their nations and are amongst the greatest citizens.
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.
During 2012, in addition to raising and donating more than $167.5 million to charitable needs and projects, Knights volunteered more than 70 million hours of their time to charitable causes. These figures represent an increase of 6% and .1% respectively over 2011 figures. 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 more than 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, 2012, indicated that, despite the economy remaining soft, total charitable contributions reached $167,549,817 – exceeding the previous year’s total by more than $9.4 million.
The figure includes $30,947,974 donated by the Supreme Council, and $136,601,843 in contributions from state and local councils, assemblies and Squires circles.
Forty-Five 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 $3,308,796 by state and local councils for Special Olympics as well as $1,593,000 by Supreme Council and $4,477,120 by state and local councils 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 70,113,207– an increase of 63,774 hours compared to 2011. There were 423,575 Knights of Columbus blood donations during the year.
Cumulative figures show that during the past decade, the Knights of Columbus has donated $1.5 billion to charity, and provided more than 673 million hours of volunteer service in support of charitable initiatives.
Why Join the Knights of Columbus?
Why you should become a Knight?
If you’re interested in helping those in need, serving your parish, growing in your faith or having exclusive access to top-rated insurance protection for your family, then the Knights of Columbus is the organization for you.
Becoming a Knight of Columbus can transform your life. As a Knight, you have the opportunity to support your parish, give back to your community, grow in your faith and gain exclusive access to our top-rated insurance program to protect your family.
These are just some of the reasons to become a Knight:
We are a band of brothers, a network of men in communities around the world dedicated to doing good in the service of God and our neighbor.
What we provide
Support the parish with its needs
Help meet the needs of those in the local community
Provide “Coats for Kids” and “Food for Families”
Support programs that benefit people with intellectual disabilities
Aid victims of natural disasters and other catastrophic events, local and worldwide
Donate wheelchairs to people without mobility at home and abroad
Save lives through initiatives such as the “Ultrasound Program”
Charity is the first principle of the Knights of Columbus. Knights are men who get things done. We volunteer our time to serve our parishes and our communities. And by working together, we were able to donate more than $1.4 billion and 664 million volunteer hours to worthy causes in the past decade.
A unique “band of brothers”
Shared values and the support to live out our Catholic faith more fully
The ability for our network to accomplish things together that we could not accomplish alone
Unity and Fraternity are the second and third principles of the Knights of Columbus. The Knights of Columbus was founded so that men could work together to serve their parishes and communities, protect the well being of their Catholic families, and support each other in faith and in many other ways along life’s journey. The Knights of Columbus offers its members the opportunity to grow in their faith through living the example of a charity that evangelizes and personifying what it means to be a Catholic gentleman through the practicing of good works.
Exclusive access to our top-rated life insurance products, available only to members and their families
Your insurance agent is a Knight dedicated to helping his brother Knights protect their families
As a Knight, you and your family have exclusive access to our top quality insurance products. In fact, no insurer in North America is more highly rated than the Knights of Columbus. As an organization founded to protect the well being of Catholic families, we have continued to take that mission seriously for more than 130 years. Generations of Catholics have counted on the Knights of Columbus, and in an increasingly turbulent world, you can trust the Knights of Columbus to affordably and securely protect the future of your loved ones and to be there when you need us most.
For 130 years the Knights of Columbus has provided all of the opportunities in this brochure and more for its members.
The Knights of Columbus is not just a fraternity in name. It is a brotherhood of Catholic men who each play a part in improving the world around them, one community at a time. They stand together in faith, dedicated to uphold the principles they cherish while lending their support and strength to parish, home and fellow Knight.
From charity for worldwide causes, to helping closer to home with volunteer activities, to a top-rated insurance program that protects those closest to you, the Knights makes the most of its brotherhood.
Make a stand among them, and you can discover how easy it is to make a difference in your life and that of others.