The Knights of Columbus set new all-time records for charitable donations and volunteer service hours in 2011, according to Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson, who released the results of the Order's Annual Survey of Fraternal Activity in a presentation to state deputies June 10.
The results of the survey indicate that total charitable contributions reached more than $158 million — exceeding the previous year's total by approximately $3.4 million. Volunteer service hours to charitable causes grew to more than 70 million hours.
"When we talk about the power of one, the necessity of growing the Order, the importance of charity — this is the reality," Anderson said of the numbers.
At the grassroots level, Knights are involved in a large number of service projects that range from programs with well-known groups like Habitat for Humanity and Special Olympics to smaller-scale initiatives that have a large impact on the community, like building wheelchair ramps, organizing blood drives and collecting food for the needy. Among the largest contributions was $515,000 for the Order's Coats for Kids initiative and $1,593,000 from the Supreme Council and $5,950,073 from state and local units to support those studying for the priesthood and religious life.
"I don't think there's any other Catholic volunteer association that is making this kind of a difference day in and day out in our communities and our parishes than the Knights of Columbus," Anderson added.
The supreme knight also extolled state deputies to continue building the Order by constantly recruiting new members. It is only through a dynamic and expanding membership that the Knights can continue to make such a definitive impact on society and as the strong right arm of the Church.
"I hope one of your priorities is to have more brother Knights go forward on the journey of knighthood," said the supreme knight. "If we make the Knights stronger, we make the Church stronger. If we make the Knights stronger, we make our communities and our countries stronger. That is our mission. And we are going to grow and accomplish that mission."
Over the past 10 years, Knights have contributed $1.4 billion and 653 million volunteer hours to charity.