To Be a Knight

There is a call deep within each man to go deeper and reach higher to become the man God made him to be. In a world full of challenges, the Knights of Columbus equips men to answer the call to lead with faith, protect their families, serve others and defend their values.

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 15,342 councils and 1.9 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, Saipan, Lithuania, Ukraine, and South Korea.

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 local charities, the opportunity to work together with fellow Knights and their families is virtually endless. In 2016, the Knights of Columbus set a new all-time record for the 18th consecutive year. Our charitable donations increased from $175 million in 2015 to a new total of $177,500,673 in 2016. In addition, we achieved our highest level of charitable service in 2016, volunteering more than 75 million hours of service.

What we do

From the moment of our founding in 1882, charity has been the first principle of the Knights of Columbus. We are Catholic men of faith and men of charitable action.

2017 was a record-setting year for Knights of Columbus charitable work with an unprecedented $185.6 million in donations and 75.6 million hours of service provided worldwide. The monetary value of K of C’s service hours is valued at $1.9 billion based on an estimate by Independent Sector, a network for nonprofit foundations that values a 2017 volunteer hour at $24.69.The K of C’s 2017 survey of charitable giving also showed that monetary donations increased $8 million from 2016 (+4.5 percent) and service hours grew by 527,550 (+0.7 percent). Year-over-year annual growth in both categories has been consistent over the past two decades.

Our charitable activities encompass an almost infinite variety of local, national and international projects. Our own unique charities include the Christian Refugee Relief Fund, Disaster Relief, Ultrasound Initiative, and Coats for Kids. We also partner with international charities including Special Olympics, the Global Wheelchair Mission and Habitat for Humanity.

Through our Building the Domestic Church initiative, Knights and their families have greater opportunities to participate in a variety of activities that deepen their faith, promote the New Evangelization, and strengthen our parishes.

“We are answering Pope Francis’ call to go to the peripheries,” Supreme Knight Carl Anderson said. “We can reach half way around the globe to help those in need and we can reach to our neighbor next door. And we do that every day. That makes us witnesses to the faith.”

If you’d like to be a part of an international organization of nearly 2 million Catholic men whose principal work involves helping others in need, we’d like to meet you and invite you to join us.

Our Principles

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 – 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 the good works of individual Knights, who gave more than 75.6 million service hours in 2017, illustrating how Catholics serve each other in fraternity and mercy.

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

Charities

Coats for Kids

Knights of Columbus councils help struggling families meet the need for warm coats for their children with the Coats for Kids program.

Christian Refugee Relief

More than $18 million has been raised, of which over $17 million has been distributed to provide shelter, food and medicine to Christian refugees. However, more needs to be done to help these persecuted Christians.

A Culture of Life

One of the most effective ways the Knights of Columbus has helped thousands of women save their children is through its Ultrasound Initiative.

Disaster Relief

For decades, the Knights of Columbus has been at the forefront of providing relief to victims of disaster.

Scholarships Fund

For the 2017-2018 academic year, the Knights of Columbus awarded scholarships totaling more than $711,519.27, to 450 students.

VOCATIONS

Scholarships for seminarians has helped many young men over the years pursue their call to the priesthood.

Aids Orphans

With financial support from the Knights of Columbus, a primary school in Uganda now provides education to more than 300 pupils, ranging in age from 4 to 13, including 160 girls and 60 boys who board there.

Food for Families

Established at the height of the economic downturn, Neighbors Helping Neighbors promotes parish-based local initiatives for brother Knights to direct their generosity toward their neighbors in financial need.