The Knights of Columbus formally announced a donation to cover the costs of athletes from the United States and Canada during their time in Los Angeles as they participate in next year’s Special Olympics World Games. The Knights’ $1.4 million sponsorship will cover the costs of food, transportation and entertainment for every athlete from the two countries during their time in Los Angeles.
Supreme Knight Carl Anderson made the announcement during a news conference on July 14 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Joining him at the announcement was World Games CEO and President Patrick McClenahan and Archbishop of Los Angeles José H. Gomez. “The Knights of Columbus were there with Special Olympics and its founder, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, from the very beginning,” said Supreme Knight Anderson. “Sargent Shriver, Eunice’s husband, was a friend and a proud member of the Knights of Columbus, and like him, we are here today to continue those efforts on behalf of people with intellectual disabilities. Our support exemplifies our commitment to the dignity of every person, our dedication to assisting with our neighbors’ needs whatever they may be, and our deep appreciation for the great work done by Special Olympics.”
Anderson also announced that he is asking the leadership of the K of C in each U.S. state and Canadian province to increase the number of volunteer hours donated to Special Olympics this year.
In a 1986 letter, Eunice Kennedy Shriver reflected on the Knights’ long involvement, observing, “When a great organization like the Knights of Columbus decides to support Special Olympics, I know that God is looking after his children.” Patrick McClenahan, president and CEO of Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles 2015, noted: “Anyone that is a part of the Special Olympics movement is deeply aware of the long and generous support by the Knights of Columbus, and today’s pledge is another amazing milestone. We hope their donation inspires other organizations to be a part of what will no doubt be a life-changing experience for all involved in the 2015 Special Olympic World Games.”
At Monday’s event, the Knights were also named as a “Founding Champion of the World Games.” Also at that event, Archbishop José H. Gomez also announced the Archdiocese’s spiritual support for the World Games. “The Catholic community is happy and proud to welcome the Special Olympics to Los Angeles,” Archbishop Gomez said. “The Special Olympics is a celebration of human dignity and a beautiful sign that our world is truly one family drawn from peoples of every race and language. We look forward to working with the Knights of Columbus, and we pray that this competition will promote solidarity and make all of us more aware of our common humanity.”
In keeping with its long history of support for Special Olympics, K of C councils donated more than $3.5 million to Special Olympics in 2013. Members also provided more than 250,000 hours of service at nearly 20,000 Special Olympics events. K of C councils also donated an additional $13.5 million to a number of other projects assisting those with intellectual disabilities.