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Knights of Columbus Pledges $1.4 Million for Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles

The Knights of Columbus announced a $1.4 million donation to cover the costs of athletes from the United States and Canada during their time in Los Angeles as they participate in the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles.

Press Release

Los Angeles, California — The Knights of Columbus announced that the $1.4 million donation will cover the costs of food, transportation and entertainment for every athlete from the two countries during their time in Los Angeles.

The announcement was made by Supreme Knight Carl Anderson at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and he was joined by 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 asked the leadership of the Knights of Columbus 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."

The Knights were named as a "Founding Champion of the World Games."        

Also at that event, Archbishop José H. Gomez spoke and 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, local Knights of Columbus 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 people with intellectual disabilities.

In addition, the Knights of Columbus helped more than two dozen Special Olympics athletes take part in a football clinic arranged for them with the help of the Indianapolis Colts organization at one of the Colts' training facilities during the NFL's annual Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

Founded by the Venerable Father Michael J. McGivney in 1882, the Knights of Columbus is the world's largest Catholic fraternal organization, with more than 1.8 million members worldwide. Last year, Knights set new records for giving, with more than $170 million and 70 million hours of service donated to charitable causes.


Steven Vanderpool
LA2015, Vice President, Communications
Office: 213-892-6069
Mobile: 626-375-9208

About the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games

With 7,000 athletes and 3,000 coaches representing 177 countries, along with 30,000 volunteers and an anticipated 500,000 spectators, the 2015 Special Olympics World Games - being staged in Los Angeles July 25 - August 2, 2015 - will be the largest sports-and-humanitarian event anywhere in the world in 2015, and the single biggest event in Los Angeles since the 1984 Olympic Games. The 2015 Special Olympics World Games, with the unparalleled spirit, enthusiasm, teamwork, joy and displays of courage and skill that are hallmarks of all Special Olympics events, will feature 25 Olympic-style sports in venues throughout the Los Angeles region. The Opening Ceremony, to be held July 25, 2015 in the historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, site of the 1932 and 1984 Olympic Games, is expected to attract 80,000 spectators. On April 30, 2014, LA2015 and ESPN announced a global programming deal that will see ESPN bring coverage of World Games to millions of fans around the world. Honorary Chairs of the Games are President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and California Governor Jerry Brown serving as Honorary Hosts. Current Founding Champions and sponsors include The Coca-Cola Company, Mattel, Deloitte, Toyota, Kaiser Permanente, Davis Elen Advertising, AEG, David Geffen, Steven Spielberg and his wife Kate Capshaw, The Walt Disney Company, Knights of Columbus and Bank of America. LA2015, the Games Organizing Committee, is a recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. For more information on the 2015 Special Olympics World Games, including volunteer and sponsorship opportunities, visit www.LA2015.org

About Special Olympics

Special Olympics is a global movement that unleashes the human spirit through the transformative power and joy of sports, every day around the world. We empower people with intellectual disabilities to become accepted and valued members of their communities, which leads to a more respectful and inclusive society for all.  Using sports as the catalyst and programming around health and education, Special Olympics is fighting inactivity, injustice and intolerance.  Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown to more than 4.4 million athletes in 170 countries.  With the support of more than 1.3 million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics delivers 33 Olympic-type sports and more than 81,000 games and competitions throughout the year.  Special Olympics is supported by individuals, foundations and partners, including the Christmas Records Trust, the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics®, The Coca-Cola Company, Lions Clubs International, Mattel, P&G, Bank of America, Essilor Vision Foundation, the B. Thomas Golisano Foundation, Finish Line, The Safeway Foundation, and Safilo Group. Visit Special Olympics at www.specialolympics.org.  Engage with us on: twitter@specialolympicsfb.com/specialolympicsyoutube.com/specialolympicshq, instagram.com/specialolympics and specialolympicsblog.wordpress.com.