The Knights of Columbus established its Ultrasound Initiative to equip medically certified pro-life pregnancy care centers (PCCs) with modern technology that will enable expectant mothers to see and hear their babies in utero. When a state or local council raises half of the cost of purchasing an ultrasound machine for a PCC, the Supreme Council will match that amount, enabling the PCC to buy the ultrasound machine.
Ultrasound technology provides a “window on the womb,” said Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson. “Even from the early stages of pregnancy,” he continued, “a mother can see her developing child, hear her baby’s heartbeat, and recognize the miracle of the new life within her.” Since this program began, we have received numerous reports of mothers who have decided to carry their babies to term after seeing the ultrasound images.
The Knights of Columbus Ultrasound Initiative provides two options for funding purchase of ultrasound equipment for a PCC:
Ultrasound Machine Funding: When a state and/or local Knights of Columbus council raises 50% of the cost of purchasing an ultrasound machine, the Supreme Council will provide a grant for the other 50% of the machine’s cost.
Ultrasound-Equipped Mobile Unit Funding: When a state and/or local council raises the funds necessary to cover the full costs of a vehicle that is outfitted to house an ultrasound machine, the Supreme Council will provide a grant equal to 50% of the cost of the ultrasound machine that is to be used in the vehicle (provided the funds raised for the purchase/outfitting of the vehicle are equal to at least 50% of the cost of the ultrasound machine). Depending on the cost of the vehicle and the amount of funds raised, the Supreme Council will also provide additional funds, up to 50% of the remaining cost of the ultrasound machine, potentially covering up to 100% of the cost of the machine. Refer to examples for illustrative purposes provided in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).
NOTE: Regardless of whether the State Council is involved, the State Deputy must be kept informed during all stages of participation in this program.
1. Locate a PCC that is prepared to receive and use an ultrasound machine or an ultrasound-equipped mobile unit.
2. Present a Diocesan Evaluation (#9884) to the Diocesan Culture of Life Director to determine if the PCC meets the practical, moral and religious criteria for inclusion in the Ultrasound Initiative.
3. Determine that the PCC will be able to staff and operate the ultrasound machine and/or ultrasound-equipped mobile unit. This will include assuring that:
a. the center is properly licensed under state and local laws and regulations to operate an ultrasound machine
b. the center is affiliated with a medical doctor who is willing to oversee the ultrasound machine operations
c. the machine will be staffed with licensed and experienced medical personnel
d. the center has adequate insurance for operation of the machine (e and f are additional requirements for mobile units)
e. the mobile unit will be properly licensed under state and local laws and regulations to operate as an ultrasound-equipped mobile unit; and,
f. the mobile unit will be adequately insured for operation
4. After the Diocesan Evaluation is submitted to the Culture of Life office in New Haven, and the PCC has shown that it will meet the other criteria above, the PCC staff, including the medical director, should select the equipment that best fits the PCC’s needs.
- For the Ultrasound Machine Funding option, the PCC staff should obtain a quote for the purchase price of an ultrasound machine (not including training, shipping, taxes, maintenance agreements, extra parts, supplies, etc.)
- For the Mobile Unit Funding Option, the PCC staff should obtain price quotes for an ultrasound machine, for the vehicle in which the machine will be installed (not including taxes, registration fees, fuel, driver costs, insurance, etc.), and for any labor and material costs for outfitting the vehicle and installing the machine.
5. Begin fundraising. While the PCC may certainly assist in fund raising, if the PCC raises the funds predominately on its own, without on-going and significant involvement of the state and/or local council, the PCC will not be eligible for matching funds from the Supreme Council Office. The Knights of Columbus council must be actively involved in the fund raising.
In the United States, the state and/or local council leading the fund raising drive should designate, or open, a bank account to receive the funds. A state council’s registered charity may also be used. Donated checks should be made out to the Knights of Columbus council or state council registered charity, not to the PCC.
In Canada, because of differing tax codes, checks should be made payable either to the state council’s registered charity or to the PCC directly – not to the council. The council leading the fund raising campaign should collect the checks and other donations, list them by name, address, and amount, and then turn the funds over to either the state council’s charity or to the PCC for deposit, depending on which will be tallying the funds and issuing receipts.
6. Once the funds for the purchase price of the ultrasound machine and/or converted vehicle are raised, the Ultrasound Initiative application (#4886) for Supreme Council funds should be completed, signed by the state deputy, and submitted to the Supreme Council Office. Along with the application, other required documents (e.g. price quotes, etc.) should be submitted.
7. The PCC, not the state and/or local council, must purchase and hold title/ownership of any ultrasound machine or vehicle acquired. Credit may be given to the Knights of Columbus by posting a sign on or near a machine/vehicle that reads, “Funded (in part) by a grant from Knights of Columbus Council # Anywhere, USA.,” along with the K of C emblem. If such a sign is used, the PCC should have additional wording affixed to the machine/vehicle that says, “Owned and operated by (PCC name).” All requests to use the name and emblem should be submitted to the Knights of Columbus Board of Director’s Name and Emblem Committee.
8. Plan a check presentation or ribbon cutting ceremony to be held when the ultrasound machine or ultrasound-equipped mobile unit arrives or is ready for operation. Invite the state deputy and determine with the PCC which media outlets to invite to the ceremony.
- 1. What is the Ultrasound Initiative?
- 2. Which K of C units may participate in the Ultrasound Initiative?
- 3. Who can receive funding through the Ultrasound Initiative?
- 4. What does “limited medical model” mean?
- 5. Our local PCC already has an old ultrasound machine/mobile unit. Could this center be considered eligible for the program?
- 6. Who purchases the ultrasound machine/mobile unit?
- 7. What does my council have to do to fund an ultrasound machine/mobile unit for our local pregnancy care center (PCC)?
- 8. I am a PCC director. How can my center participate in the ultrasound program?
- 9. Our local PCC is not Catholic – can it still participate in the program?
- 10. What ultrasound machine is appropriate for us to fund?
- 11. If our PCC is also in need of a mobile unit, what would be appropriate for us to fund?
- 12. What are the advantages and disadvantages of having a mobile unit?
- 13. The ultrasound machine the PCC wants is really expensive. Is the list price always firm?
- 14. How much does an ultrasound machine usually cost?
- 15. How much does a mobile unit usually cost?
- 16. May matching funds be used to pay for training the staff to use, maintain, or operate the ultrasound machine/mobile unit?
- 17. Must a council raise funds on its own?
- 18. If we raise less than half of the cost of an ultrasound machine, will the Supreme Council still match each dollar raised?
- 19. Our council hasn’t raised our half of the cost but will have it by the time our request is approved. Is that okay?
- 20. We want the matching funds payable to the ultrasound machine manufacturer/mobile unit company. Is that permissible?
- 21. How long will it take to receive the matching funds check?
- 22. Can a donor get a receipt for his contribution for tax purposes?
- 23. What is the policy concerning K of C signage on Ultrasound Machines and Mobile Units?
1. What is the Ultrasound Initiative?
The Knights of Columbus Ultrasound Initiative offers two options for funding purchase of ultrasound equipment for a pro-life pregnancy care center (PCC):
Option 1 – Ultrasound Machine Funding - When a state council/local council campaign raises one-half the cost of purchasing an ultrasound machine, the Supreme Council will match the other half of the machine’s cost.
Option 2 – Ultrasound Machine and Mobile Unit Funding – When a state and/or local council raises the funds necessary to cover the full cost of a vehicle that is outfitted to house an ultrasound machine, the Supreme Council will provide a matching grant equal to 50% of the cost of the ultrasound machine that is to be used in the vehicle, provided that the funds raised for the purchase/outfitting of the vehicle is equal to at least 50% of the cost of the ultrasound machine. The Supreme Council will also provide additional funds, up to the other half of the cost of the ultrasound machine, which could result in the Supreme Council funding up to 100% of the cost of the ultrasound machine.
Example A: If a council raises $50,000 towards the cost of a $50,000 outfitted van and a $30,000 ultrasound machine (for a total cost of $80,000), the Supreme Council will provide a $15,000 matching grant towards the cost of the ultrasound machine (matching 50% of the $30,000 cost), and an additional $15,000 grant because it will be used in a mobile unit. This second grant is equal to the remaining cost of the ultrasound machine, which frees up the council-raised funds to pay for the full cost of the van.
Example B: If a council raises $20,000 towards the cost of a $15,000 used, outfitted van, and a $40,000 ultrasound machine (for a total cost of $55,000), the Supreme Council will match the council-raised funds with a $20,000 grant (50% of the ultrasound machine’s $40,000 cost) to fund purchase of the ultrasound machine. The Supreme Council will also provide an additional sum of $15,000 (for a total of $35,000) towards the costs associated with the van. These additional funds are less than the full amount left in the cost of the ultrasound machine as the lesser amount is all that is needed to cover the difference in the cost of the van. In this example, the council needs to raise more than the cost of the van in order to meet the fund raising requirement of raising at least 50% of the cost of the ultrasound machine.
Example C: A PCC wishes to purchase and outfit a vehicle costing $170,000 to contain an ultrasound machine costing $30,000, for a total cost of $200,000. If the state and/or local council raises at least $170,000, the remaining balance of $30,000 will be provided by the Supreme Council, as follows: the Supreme Council will provide a $15,000 matching grant (50% of the $30,000 cost of the machine) towards funding the purchase of the ultrasound machine. The Supreme Council will also provide an amount equal to the other 50% cost of the machine, in this case $15,000, for a total of $30,000. In effect, the total amount of the Supreme Council grant will pay for the full cost of the ultrasound machine, thus freeing up all of the $170,000 of funds raised by the state and/or local council to be used towards funding of the vehicle in which the ultrasound machine will be used.
2. Which K of C units may participate in the Ultrasound Initiative?
A state and/or local council usually raises the funds and submits the forms. However, chapters, councils in a district, Fourth Degree assemblies, and Columbian Squires circles have also participated in the Ultrasound Initiative. Fund raising should be the responsibility of the sponsoring K of C unit, not the receiving PCC.
3. Who can receive funding through the Ultrasound Initiative?
The receiving organization must be a pro-life pregnancy care center (PCC) operating on a “limited medical model.” The PCC should be a non-profit organization that provides pregnant women with a variety of services, such as counseling about the alternatives to abortion, abstinence education, referrals for legal, medical, housing, and social services resources, maternity and baby clothes, diapers, and other support, not just on the day of the free ultrasound exam, but throughout pregnancy.
Though a free ultrasound exam often helps an abortion-minded woman to decide to choose life for herself and her child, she may then need the resources the PCC offers to sustain her in her decision and to help her throughout her pregnancy, and even after delivery.
Organizations (i.e. – hospitals, doctors’ offices, etc.) which do not offer the variety of services PCCs routinely offer to pregnant women are not eligible to participate in the Ultrasound Initiative.
4. What does “limited medical model” mean?
PCCs using the “limited medical model” offer medical services, such as an ultrasound exam to confirm a pregnancy, and possibly additional, though limited, medical services, such as testing for sexually transmitted diseases or infections (STDs/STIs). PCCs operating on the “limited medical model,” which must have a physician as medical director, are eligible for participation in the Ultrasound Initiative.
5. Our local PCC already has an old ultrasound machine/mobile unit. Could this center be considered eligible for the program?
Ultrasound technology has progressed tremendously. Oftentimes, the older generation ultrasound machine can no longer produce a clear image or the machine becomes too costly to repair. In those instances, if the center meets all the requirements of the program, it can participate. Since funding for a mobile unit is tied to the amount of funds raised for purchase of an ultrasound machine, fund raising for a new mobile unit or replacement of an old mobile unit must be done jointly with fund raising for purchase of a new ultrasound machine.
6. Who purchases the ultrasound machine/mobile unit?
The PCC makes the purchase, not the K of C. The K of C unit donates funds to the PCC. The PCC uses the funds to purchase the machine/mobile unit. The PCC owns the machine/mobile unit.
Though most PCCs locate and use their ultrasound machine in their own facility, for various reasons, some PCCs have worked out arrangements to locate their ultrasound machine in a physician’s office, hospital, or, in the case of a mobile unit, in a RV, van, or other vehicle. However, the PCC continues to own the machine/mobile unit and determines where it will be located and how it will best be used to meet its needs and the needs of the pregnant women the PCC serves.
7. What does my council have to do to get an ultrasound machine/mobile unit for our local PCC?
The center must meet the faith, medical, insurance, fundraising and tax requirements of the program.
8. I am a PCC director. How can my center participate in the ultrasound program?
Contact a member of your Knights of Columbus state or local council. If you do not know anyone who is a Knight, call the office of a local Catholic church to assist in putting you in touch with a council member. Or, contact email@example.com for information and assistance.
9. Our local PCC is not Catholic – can it still participate in the program?
Yes, if it receives a positive Diocesan Evaluation from the local Catholic arch/diocese. To receive a positive evaluation, the PCC must not engage in anti-Catholic proselytism (i.e., it does not attempt to lead Catholic women away from the Catholic Faith). Some PCCs have Statements of Faith that are inconsistent with Catholic teaching. The PCC’s Statement of Faith must be included in the documents submitted to the diocese. Policies regarding use and referral for contraception and abortion must not conflict with Catholic moral principles. The Diocesan Evaluation (Form #9884), available for download at www.kofc.org/ultrasound, should be completed by the arch/diocesan culture of life director or other official designated by the arch/bishop and then submitted to the Supreme Council office.
10. What ultrasound machine is appropriate for us to fund?
There are at least a dozen major manufacturers of ultrasound machines, each with several different models. As each PCC has different client needs, the determination of what type of ultrasound machine it should purchase is left to the center’s staff and medical director. In some instances, because of the services offered, a center may find that a 2D machine fulfills its requirements; in others, where more detailed services are available, a 3D/4D ultrasound machine may be more appropriate. Several PCCs have opted for portable ultrasound machines, such as a laptop model, that may be moved from one facility to another or used in a mobile unit, such as an RV, modified van, or similar vehicle.
11. If our PCC is also in need of a mobile unit, what would be appropriate for us to fund?
RVs and vans have been the most common vehicles used, though increasingly, other vehicles, such as buses and trucks, are being considered, since their size offers more privacy, room for bathrooms, etc. Some PCCs purchase a fully equipped vehicle from a company, such as ICU Mobile or Save the Storks, which specialize in providing PCCs with vehicles fully equipped to provide ultrasound services. Some PCCs purchase a new or used vehicle and then do their own work, or pay someone, to convert it into a mobile ultrasound unit. However, very careful planning is needed to assure that this option does not end up costing as much, or more, as purchasing an already converted vehicle.
12. What are the advantages and disadvantages of having a mobile unit?
Operating an ultrasound machine in a modified vehicle can extend the reach of the Knights of Columbus Ultrasound Initiative to save more babies and meet the needs of more women by bringing the machines closer to wherever pregnant women may be. The mobile units can be easily driven to urban or rural areas that are not currently served by a PCC. They can park near and operate outside of abortion clinics, near military bases, colleges and universities. Mobile units can be driven to a PCC’s satellite centers, or serve other PCCs, thus allowing them to share costs. As a result, state and local councils, with state deputy approval, may be more receptive to donating or helping to raise funds, since the mobile unit may be serving women in a much wider area.
However, there are substantial additional costs of acquiring, insuring and maintaining a mobile unit. An experienced vehicle operator is another cost. In addition, there is a need for increased scheduling and coordination.
NOTE – Most all states have laws requiring registration/licensing/inspection of vehicles; some states (i.e. - CA, MA, etc.) may have laws regulating mobile medical units; and county/city/town health or housing departments may require inspection or certification of mobile medical units and may have zoning or parking restrictions concerning vehicles on private or public property.
13. The ultrasound machine the PCC wants is really expensive. Is the list price always firm?
List prices may be as high as $100,000, or more. However, almost all of the ultrasound machines purchased under this program reflect discounts negotiated locally with the vendors. Some of these discounts have been substantial – 55% of the list price in more than one instance.
14. How much does an ultrasound machine usually cost?
The discounted cost of a 2D machine is usually in the range of $20,000 to $40,000. A 3D/4D machine’s cost, after discounts, is usually in the $30,000 to $60,000 range. The council will need to raise 50% of the cost of the machine. Once the PCC has selected a make and model and has obtained a manufacturer’s price quote for the selected ultrasound machine, the council must determine if it is capable of raising its 50% of the cost of the machine within a reasonable period of time. If so, and the PCC has been Diocesan approved, the council may begin fundraising.
15. How much does a mobile unit usually cost?
A new RV, van or other vehicle equipped for providing ultrasound services may cost about $125,000 - $250,000, which may, or may not, include the cost of the ultrasound machine. Some PCCs hope to save by purchasing a new or used vehicle and then converting it into a medical unit. That may be possible, but some PCCs have spent as much, or more, ending up with new equipment in an old vehicle. When a mobile medical unit is involved, in addition to matching 50% of the funds raised by the council towards the cost of the ultrasound machine, the Supreme Council may provide additional funding, up to the other half of the cost of the ultrasound machine, provided the council raises the balance of funds needed for purchase and conversion of the vehicle.
16. May matching funds be used to pay for training the staff to use, maintain, or operate the ultrasound machine/mobile unit?
No, matching funds are only for the cost of the ultrasound machine itself, and, if applicable, funding the purchase, and, if necessary, the conversion, of the vehicle. Shipping, taxes, installation, supplies, maintenance, training and insurance costs for the machine, and registration fees, taxes, repairs, fuel costs, and hiring a driver for a mobile unit, are the responsibility of the PCC. Often times, the center can find outside resources, including the local council, willing to help fund these additional expenses.
17. Must a council raise funds on its own?
Many do. But many other councils, with their state deputy’s approval, team up with neighboring councils, with councils within their district, or with the state council, to conduct a joint fund-raising campaign. Funds should not be solicited from other councils without the state deputy’s approval.
18. If we raise less than half of the cost of an ultrasound machine, will the Supreme Council still match each dollar raised?
19. Our council hasn’t raised our half of the cost but will have it by the time our request is approved. Is that okay?
Half of the ultrasound machine’s cost, or, for a mobile unit, the full cost of the vehicle and conversion, must be raised before the state deputy approves and signs your application and submits it to the Supreme Council office.
20. We want the matching funds payable to the ultrasound machine company or vehicle manufacturer/dealer. Is that permissible?
State or local council funds should not be used to pay directly for the machine or vehicle, nor should they be sent to the Supreme Council office. Rather, the funds should be held by the council until donated to the PCC.
Purchase of the ultrasound machine, and, if applicable, a vehicle to be used as a mobile unit, should be made by the PCC, not by the council.
The Supreme Council’s check for matching funds will not be payable to the council, nor to the ultrasound company or vehicle manufacturer/dealer.
The Supreme Council’s check will be made payable in the United States to a 501(c)3 charitable organization, usually, either the PCC, or a charity organization affiliated with your State Council.
In Canada, the Supreme Council’s check may be payable to a state council’s charity organization, or to the PCC, which must be a registered charity authorized to perform limited medical services.
When submitting an application for matching funds to the Supreme Council office, the recipient charitable organization’s federal tax ID number - Employer Identification Number (EIN), in the United States, or the Registered Charity number in Canada - should be included on the application.
21. How long will it take to receive the matching funds check?
Once an Ultrasound Initiative application (Form #4886) (available at www.kofc.org/ultrasound) is completed, signed by the state deputy, submitted to the Supreme Council office for matching funds, and then determined to be complete, it usually takes approximately three to six weeks for approval and mailing of the check. Notification will be by mail. It is recommended that you not order the ultrasound machine/vehicle for delivery, nor schedule a dedication or ribbon-cutting ceremony, before receiving notification and/or the check.
22. Can a donor get a receipt for his contribution for tax purposes?
However, the tax codes differ between the United States and Canada, requiring different procedures concerning writing out checks, deposit of donations for the Ultrasound Initiative, accounting for donations, and issuing receipts.
In the United States, the status of the Knights of Columbus as a 501(c)(8) Fraternal Benefit Society under the Internal Revenue Code means that contributions to it are generally NOT deductible by the donor. However, there is a limited exception to this rule known as "pass-through charitable fund-raising".
Contributions might be tax deductible as charitable contributions under certain circumstances if Internal Revenue Code Section 170(c)(4) is complied with and those funds are restricted and used exclusively for charitable purposes as defined under that section. Funds used in this manner must be totally segregated in a separate account from other Knights of Columbus council funds and cannot be used in any manner for social or fraternal purposes (cannot be used for council expenses or functions).
Also, this limited exception is only allowed to individual taxpayers; it cannot be utilized by non-persons such as businesses, corporations, or even other councils. Therefore, it would not be applicable in any instance concerning corporate matching funds or discounts on corporate donation of goods or services.
The council collecting and passing through the donations would track the donor names, addresses, and amounts given and provide that information to the recipient charity. The charity, in this case, the PCC, would then issue the receipt.
IRS publication 557, available online, has more information on these rules. Information on pass-through charitable fundraising is also available on the Knights of Columbus website under For Officers/Reports Online/Support Materials/Form 990 information.
In Canada, donations to a Knights of Columbus council are not tax deductible and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has no equivalent to the U.S. IRS’s pass through charitable fund raising rule. Thus, in Canada, in order to assure tax deductibility, a state council’s charitable foundation may be used to collect funds.
As an alternative, if a state council does not have its own charitable foundation, in the case of a campaign led by a local council, instead of making checks payable to the council, checks should be made payable to the PCC, which must have been approved by CRA as a registered charity authorized to perform limited medical services. To assure the PCC can distinguish between checks for its own ongoing support and the ultrasound campaign, checks should be earmarked on the “Memo” line for the “Ultrasound Initiative.”
If this second alternative is used in Canada, the council leading the campaign should collect the checks and other donated funds, make a record of who donated how much, but not deposit the money. Instead, the funds should be given to the PCC for deposit and the PCC should issue receipts. The donations should be retained by the PCC in its bank account until the local council’s full 50% of the cost of the machine, or the full cost of the vehicle, is raised, and matching funds are received from the Supreme Council.
Donors in both the United States and Canada should always check with their own tax attorney and accountant, as individual situations may vary.
23. What is the policy concerning K of C Signage on Ultrasound Machines and Mobile Units?
Ultrasound machines, to be used either in a building or in a mobile unit, and RV’s, vans, or other vehicles used as mobile ultrasound units, funded in whole or in part by the Knights of Columbus through the Ultrasound Initiative, should be the property of the PCC operating them, not of the K of C, and any signage on the ultrasound machine or vehicle should make this distinction clear.
Credit may be given to the Knights of Columbus by posting a sign on or near the ultrasound machine or mobile unit that reads, “Funded (in part) by a grant from the Knights of Columbus,” along with a K of C emblem.
However, since the use together, or separately, of either the K of C emblem, “K of C”, or the name, “Knights of Columbus,” on an ultrasound machine or mobile unit could imply possession, neither the K of C emblem, “K of C,” nor the name, “Knights of Columbus,” should be used alone or together on an ultrasound machine, or on a vehicle, without the wording noted above concerning funding.
If the K of C emblem and/or “K of C”, or the name “Knights of Columbus,” and accompanying funding language is used, the PCC should have additional wording affixed to the machine or mobile unit that says, “Owned and operated by (PCC name).”
All requests to use the name and emblem should be submitted to the Knights of Columbus Board of Director’s Name and Emblem Committee.