|The Knights of Columbus has grown to new heights in its charitable giving and volunteer hours during 2014, once again answering Pope Francis’ call to reach out to those in need, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson told the state deputies and state deputy-elects in his address at the 2015 Organizational Meeting of State Deputies in New Haven.
The Knights of Columbus set a new all-time record last year for charitable donations and service hours with $173,550,680 in donations and more than 71.5 million hours of service. The number of service hours contributed by members rose in 2014 by more than a million hours over the 2013 total, with each member donating nearly a full workweek on average.
According to the K of C’s Annual Survey of Fraternal Activity for the year ending Dec. 31, 2014, donations grew by more than $3.4 million over 2013, achieving an increase in giving for the 15th consecutive year.
“These numbers show that the Knights of Columbus has the courage to make a witness to charity and to practice fraternal outreach to those in need,” Supreme Knight Anderson said.
Among its major donations in 2014, the Knights of Columbus made a gift of $1.4 million in support of athletes who will take part in this summer’s Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles. The funds will cover the cost of transportation, housing and meals for the athletes as they travel to the games, stay there during the competition, and return home. Supreme Knight Anderson also asked state jurisdictions to step up their already strong support for Special Olympics athletes.
Another unique initiative in 2014 was the Knights of Columbus Christian Refugee Relief Fund, which has contributed $2.6 million for humanitarian assistance to those suffering persecution and dislocation in Iraq and the surrounding region.
“It has shocked the conscience of the world that people are systematically being purged from the region where their families have lived for millennia — simply for their faith,” said Mr. Anderson at the program’s inception in August. “It is imperative that we stand in solidarity with them.”
Gifts by the Knights of $200,000 each were also made to the Byzantine and Latin Rite Catholic communities of war-torn Ukraine for humanitarian relief, supporting projects that feed and aid homeless children and refugees living on the streets of the capital city of Kiev.
The Knights continued to support their local communities in 2014 through such programs as the Black Friday Coats for Kids event, Food for Families and blood drives. Knights also gave assistance to such organizations as Habitat for Humanity and the American Wheelchair Mission.
During the past decade the Knights of Columbus has donated nearly $1.55 billion to charity and 691 million hours of volunteer service in support of charitable initiatives.