Knights of Columbus Main Site


Thanks to the efforts of Father Michael J. McGivney, assistant pastor of St. Mary’s Church in New Haven and some of his parishioners, the Connecticut state legislature on March 29, 1882, officially chartered the Knights of Columbus as a fraternal benefit society. The Order is still true to its founding principles of charity, unity and fraternity.

The Knights was formed to render financial aid to members and their families. Mutual aid and assistance are offered to sick, disabled and needy members and their families. Social and intellectual fellowship is promoted among members and their families through educational, charitable, religious, social welfare, war relief and public relief works.

The history of the Order shows how the foresight of Father Michael J. McGivney, whose cause for sainthood is being investigated by the Vatican, brought about what has become the world’s foremost Catholic fraternal benefit society. The Order has helped families obtain economic security and stability through its life insurance, annuity and long-term care programs, and has contributed time and energy worldwide to service in communities.

The Knights of Columbus has grown from several members in one council to 15,342 councils and 1.9 million members throughout the United States, Canada, the Philippines, Mexico, Poland, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Panama, the Bahamas, the Virgin Islands, Cuba, Guatemala, Guam, Saipan, Lithuania, Ukraine, and South Korea.

Knights of Columbus – Today’s Knights: What We Do

From the moment of our founding in 1882, charity has been the first principle of the Knights of Columbus. We are men of faith and men of action.

In 2015, the Knights of Columbus set a new all-time record for the 17th consecutive year. Our charitable donations increased from 2014 by more than $1.5 million to a new total of $175,079,192. In addition, we achieved our highest level of charitable service in 2015, volunteering more than 73.5 million hours of service. The number of service hours contributed by Knights rose in 2015 by more than a million over the previous year’s total.

Our charitable activities encompass an almost infinite variety of local, national and international projects. From international charitable partnerships with Special Olympics, the Global Wheelchair Mission and Habitat for Humanity to our own Food for Families and Coats for Kids projects and other local charities, the opportunity to work together with fellow Knights and their families is virtually endless.

“We are answering Pope Francis’ call to go to the peripheries,” Supreme Knight Carl Anderson said. “We can reach half way around the globe to help those in need and we can reach to our neighbor next door. And we do that every day. That makes us witnesses to the faith.”

If you’d like to be a part of an international organization of more than 1.9 million Catholic men whose principal work involves helping others in need, we’d like to meet you and invite you to join us.




Whereas, the primary purpose of our Order as set forth in the Charter, Section 2 (a) is “rendering pecuniary aid to its members, their families, and beneficiaries of members and their families,” and (b) “rendering mutual aid and assistance to its sick, disabled, and needy families;” and

Whereas, the Board of Directors, at the request of the Supreme Council in this International Year of the Family, 1994, desires to recognize the numerous contributions made by members of the Knights of Columbus, their spouses and families, to the welfare, growth, and financial stability of the Order through their varied activities and charitable works for the benefit of mankind; and in appreciation for their efforts expended in membership recruitment and council development; it was

Voted, at the regular meeting of the Board of Directors on October 20-23, 1994, that a Member/Spouse Fraternal Benefit be given at no cost to all members (and their wives) in good standing, belonging to councils of and residing in countries that have been designated as insurance territories by the Supreme Council, provided that the member’s council is in good standing.

Accidental Death Benefit

The Knights of Columbus will pay a benefit upon the death of a member or his spouse, occurring within 90 days, as the result of injury sustained in a covered accident. Protection is on a 24-hour basis for accidents that may occur anywhere in the world during activities on or off the job, on business, pleasure, vacation, or at home, except for the exclusions listed.


Years of Continuous Membership Member Benefits Spouse Benefits
Less than two years
Two years, but less than three
Three years, but less than four
Four years or more

The benefit amount will be reduced by $500 on the member’s 65th birthday and each subsequent birthday, until the benefit amount is stabilized at $1,000. The $1,000 coverage will continue thereafter, provided the member and the member’s council are in good standing and both so reflected on the records of the Supreme Council.

The spouse benefit at all times corresponds to the member’s benefit. At no time will the spouse benefit exceed the member’s benefit. Should the member predecease his wife, she shall continue to be covered thereafter at a fixed benefit of $1,000. Should the spouse and the member die within 90 days from the same accident, however, the scheduled benefit will be paid.


The accidental death benefit will be paid to the next of kin in accordance with Section 71.2 of the Order’s laws. The claim for this accidental death benefit must be received at the Supreme Office of the Knights of Columbus within three years of the date of death.


This accidental death benefit will not be paid if death results from: suicide, self-inflicted injury while sane or insane; sickness or disease (except bacterial infection resulting from accidental cut or wound); flying, except as a fare-paying passenger on a regularly scheduled airline; or injury from driving or riding in a speed or organized contest.

Amendment or Discontinuation

The Member/Spouse Fraternal Benefit shall be effective September 1, 1994, and may be amended or discontinued at any time by action of the Order’s Board of Directors.


Aside from the numerous personal rewards that come from being a Knight, here is a list of the many tangible rewards for you and your family.

Columbia   Twelve free issues annually of the world’s largest Catholic family magazine – Catholic family evangelization at its best!

Rosary Program   A free Knights of Columbus rosary is given to new and readmitted members.

Daily Mass Remembrance   Mass offered daily for deceased members, deceased spouses of members, and deceased Columbian Squires at St. Mary’s Church, New Haven, Conn.

Insurance Program   Offers member, spouse, and children the opportunity to provide for their security and well-being. Rated A++ (Superior) by A.M. Best, there is no more highly rated insurer in North america than the Knights of Columbus.

Annuity Program   Enables member and spouse to provide for retirement and build an estate through tax-deferred savings.

Long-Term Care Insurance   Enables members and their spouses to safeguard their assets and afford the care and assistance needed later in life.

Member/Spouse Fraternal Benefit   Accidental death coverage for member and spouse at no cost (CLICK HERE for details).

Orphan Benefit   $80 monthly allotment for orphans of eligible families; up to $7,000 in college scholarships available.

Family Fraternal Benefit   For eligible families: a) Pays $1,500 for the child who dies before the age of 61 days; b) Pays $750 for the child who is stillborn at least 20 weeks after conception; c) Offers guaranteed-issue insurance up to $5,000 to any child under 18.

New Member Annuity Plan   An annuity is available to new members and their spouses upon joining the Order.

Widow Benefits   a) Continues to be covered under the Member/Spouse Fraternal benefit; b) May purchase insurance, annuities, or Long-Term Care up to one year after insured member’s death; c) Receives a free lifetime subscription to Columbia; d) Eligible with her children for scholarships, etc.

Scholarships/Fellowships   Six different college scholarship programs for members and their families; two different graduate fellowship programs; and scholarship programs for seminarians.

Matthews and Swift Educational Trust Fund   Provides tuition-only scholarships to Catholic colleges up to $25,000 per year for children of members in good standing, who, while serving in the military forces of their country in a combat zone, specifically designated as such by the Board of Directors, are killed by hostile action or wounded by hostile action resulting within two years thereof in permanent and total disability, and for children of members in good standing who are full-time law enforcement officers or full-time firefighters who, while in the lawful performance of their duties, are killed in the line of duty as a result of criminal violence directed at them. Applications must be filed within two years of the member’s death or (for servicemen) disability.

Leadership Development   Opportunity to build personal leadership skills through active involvement in the Order’s unique structure, supported by Knightline/Program Supplement: fraternal newsletters mailed to state and local council officers and chairmen.

Fourth Degree   Eligibility of Third Degree members to join the Patriotic Degree, one year after initiation into the Order.

Honorary Life Membership at Age 70   After 25 years of continuous service, member merits this distinction and no longer need pay dues.

Catholic Information Service   Opportunity for member and family to avail themselves of a variety of literature on Catholic faith and spirituality.

Membership Card   Entitles participation in all Catholic, fraternal, and social activities in member’s council and also in over 14,000 councils throughout the world.

Family Activities   Eligibility for recognition in Orderwide “Family of the Month/Year” program and participation in a wide variety of local family events, such as family Communion breakfasts.

Athletic Programs   Participate in annual council, state, and international golf, bowling, and softball tournaments; many councils sponsor teams in a variety of sports.

Youth Programs   Opportunities for your children to participate in a variety of youth-oriented programs such as the Columbian Squires, a leadership training program for young men under council sponsorship.