Ultrasound Initiative - Frequently asked Questions

What does my council have to do to get an ultrasound machine in our local pregnancy center (PCC)?

The center must meet the faith, medical, insurance and fundraising components of the program.

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I’m 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 william.obrien@kofc.org for information and assistance.

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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 diocese.  To receive a postitive evaluation, the PCC must no engage in anti-Catholic proselytism (i.e., it does not attempt to lead Catholic women away from the Catholic Faith). Some pregnancy centers have Statements of Faith that are inconsistent with Catholic teaching. The pregnancy center’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.

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Will the program pay for training the staff to use and maintain the ultrasound machine?

No, the program will only pay one-half the cost of the ultrasound machine itself. Shipping, taxes, installation, supplies, maintenance, training and insurance costs are to be handled by the pregnancy center. Often times, the center can find outside resources to help with these expenses.

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What ultrasound machine is appropriate for us to purchase?

There are at least a dozen major manufacturers of ultrasound machines, each with several different models. As each pregnancy care center has different client needs, the determination of what type of ultrasound machine it should purchase is left to the center’s medical director. In some instances, because of the services offered, a center may find that a 2D-with-doppler machine fulfills its requirements; in others, where more detailed services are available, a 3D/4D ultrasound machine may be more appropriate.

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The ultrasound machine the pregnancy center 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 with the vendors. Some of these discounts have been substantial – 55% of the list price in more than one instance.

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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 $40,000 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 obatined a manufacturer's price quote for the selected ultrasound machine, the council must determine if it is capable of raising 50% coast of the machine within a reasonable period of time. If so, the council may begin fundraising.

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Must a council raise funds on its own?

Many do. Buy 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 fundraising campaign. Funds should not be solicited form other councils without the state deputy's approval.

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Our local pregnancy center already has an old ultrasound machine. 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.

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If we raise less than half of the cost of an ultrasound machine, will the Supreme Council still match each dollar raised?


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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’s cost must be raised before the state deputy approves and signs your application and submits it to the Supreme Council office.

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Can a donor get a receipt for his contribution for tax purposes?

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 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 from the other funds of the Knights of Columbus in a separate account 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 or corporations. 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 to the recipient charity. The charity would then issue the receipt.

IRS publication 557, available online, has more information on these rules if you are interested. 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.

Donors should always check with their own tax attorney and accountant, as individual situations may vary.

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We want the matching funds payable to the ultrasound machine company. Is that permissible?

No. The check will be made payable to a 501(c)3 charitable organization, either the PCC, or a charity organization affiliated with your State Council. The recipient charitable organization's federal tax ID number (Employer Identification Number (EIN) in the United States or the Refistered Charitable Donation # in Canada) should be included on the application.

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How long will it take to receive the matching funds check?

Once an Ultrasound Initiative application (#4886) is 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. You are asked not to schedule any delivery, dedication or ribbon-cutting ceremony before notification.

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