NEW HAVEN, Conn. — In 2018, the Knights of Columbus gave $185.7 million to charity and donated 76.7 million hours of hands-on service.
The New Haven-based Catholic fraternal organization announced its charitable activity over the last year in a July 31 news release, issued ahead of its annual Supreme Convention in Minneapolis Aug. 6-8.
The Knights of Columbus, which has a membership of more than 1.9 million, said its charitable activity is threefold: fundraising by the national organization and local Knights councils; community service; and revenues from its insurance and annuities portfolio.
Using Independent Sector’s valuation of a volunteer hour for 2018 — $25.43 — the Knights’ service hours came to $1.9 billion, the release said. The value of this work combined with the year’s monetary donations brings the total value of the Knights’ charity to nearly $2.1 billion.
“Regardless of how or who the Knights serve, it’s the chance to help those who are unable to help themselves and to be of assistance to the sick or disabled that is at the heart of what being a Knight is all about,” Knights of Columbus Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson said in a statement.
The release noted that the Knights’ charitable activity is carried out by more than 16,000 councils in nine countries, which raise funds for a variety of causes, including efforts to protect and provide relief to persecuted Christians, pro-life initiatives and disaster aid and recovery.
Volunteer time donated by the councils’ members goes to helping their own parishes and communities and to organizations such as Special Olympics and Habitat for Humanity. They give time to Knights-sponsored efforts, including “Coats for Kids,” “Food for Families” and scholarship programs.
Councils raise money from activities such as pancake breakfasts, raffles, auctions, tank pulls, rodeos and the Knights’ signature Tootsie Roll drives.
Beneficiaries of money raised by Knights include local pregnancy support centers, seminarians, and veterans and service members who make the Knights’ annual pilgrimage to Lourdes, organized in conjunction with the U.S. Archdiocese of the Military Services.
Other charitable funds come from the Knights of Columbus Insurance arm: Once the company’s revenue is used to cover operational costs and refunds (dividends) to its members, “the remaining profits are directed to charity,” the news release said.
The Fortune 1000 insurance company has 1,207 agents, who also are Knights, and it sells a portfolio of insurance and annuities products to its members.
Teen who died in shooting made a Knight posthumously
As residents of El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, mourned the loss of 31 people in mass shootings Aug. 3 and Aug. 4, the Knights of Columbus honored a teen who died in May trying to save the lives of his classmates during a shooting at his suburban Denver high school.
Kendrick Castillo, the 18-year-old hero who charged a shooter at STEM School Highlands Ranch in Colorado, was posthumously named a Knight of Columbus Aug. 6 at the organization’s Supreme Convention in Minneapolis.
Castillo’s parents, John and Maria, also accepted the Caritas Medal on his behalf. It is second-highest honor of the Knights of Columbus. Their son is just the fourth recipient of the award, created in 2013 to recognize extraordinary acts of charity and service.
“Kendrick wanted to be a Knight of Columbus because he wanted to help not only people, but his community. And in his last moments, Kendrick Castillo did both,” Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson said in an address to more than 2,000 convention attendees.
Castillo had taken part in 2,600 hours of service with the Knights, along with his father, who belongs to the Knights’ Southwest Denver Council 4844.