MINNEAPOLIS — Ahead of its annual convention this week, the Knights of Columbus announced August 1 that it donated more than $185 million to charity in 2018.

“The men who choose to become Knights of Columbus are generous, and their impact is immense. While we are known mainly for our local efforts, our reach is global,” said Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus.

The Knights of Columbus is a fraternal and charitable organization with over 1.9 million members and more than 16,000 councils worldwide.

It was founded by Fr. Michael McGivney in 1882 to provide relief and assistance to members, their families, and widows of members, as well as opportunities for fraternity and service for Catholic members. The “four pillars” of the Knights are charity, unity, fraternity, and patriotism.

According to the Knights, the $185 million in charitable giving came from direct fundraising, the efforts of local Knights councils, and its insurance operations; the Knights offer insurance and annuities products to members.

The group also says its members gave over 76 million hours of hands-on service in 2018, worth over $1.9 billion according to a valuation of volunteer work by the Independent Sector.

More than 16,000 Knights councils in nine countries were responsible for the volunteer work and for raising money for charitable causes, which included relief for persecuted Christians, disaster aid, support for crisis pregnancy centers and pro-life initiatives, the Archdiocese of the Military Services, U.S.A., and the Knights’ annual pilgrimage to Lourdes for wounded military veterans.

In just over 12 months between 2017 and 2018, the Knights raised and delivered $2 million for the Iraqi town of Karamles; the Knights have helped Christian survivors of the ISIS genocide in the town resettle in their homes and rebuild for the future.

Volunteer work included support for the Special Olympics, coat drives, and food drives for needy families.

“Regardless of how or who the Knights serve, it's the chance to help those who are unable to help themselves and to be of assistance to the sick or disabled that is at the heart of what being a Knight is all about,” Anderson said.

The annual Supreme Convention of the Knights of Columbus will take place in Minneapolis, Minnesota this week from August 6-8. Knights councils from all over the world will attend, along with bishops and leaders of the organization.

After the opening Mass on the morning of Tuesday, August 6, Anderson will deliver the annual Supreme Knight’s report in the afternoon followed by the States Dinner in the evening.

Mass and an awards session will follow on Wednesday, followed by a Memorial Mass on Thursday.