Reed A Fontenot, III, Star Council Awards Director
Star Council Team Members
- Tony Fontanelli - Fraternal Benefits Chairman
- Hector Gutierrez - Safe Environment Chairman
- Don Piwonka - Forms Chairman
- John Schulz - DD Star Council Monitor Chairman
- JD Gutierrez - Committeeman
- Dennis Helgeson - Committeeman
- Scott Scheidt - Committeeman
The Star Council Award is earned by councils for outstanding achievement in the areas of membership, insurance, and service program activities. Within the program directives of ‘Faith in Action’, councils earning the Star Council Award demonstrate and provide faithful and fruitful leadership, inspiration, and meaningful help to Church, families and communities. These recognized councils are indeed fulfilling the vision of Fr. Michael J McGivney to provide families a safe, spiritual, and nurturing fraternal home. All Councils should strive to earn this prestigious Star Council Award every year because by putting our ‘Faith in Action’ we build and renew a Catholic environment that exemplifies and magnifies our principles of Charity, Unity, Fraternity, and Patriotism. With proper planning and leadership, every council has an opportunity to earn this distinction!
To earn the Star Council Award there are several steps each council needs to take over the course of the fraternal year:
- 1. Earn the Father McGivney Award for membership growth by June 30, 2022. The council quota can be found under the Membership tab in Officers Online, which is updated daily. There is no application to complete for the Father McGivney Award, as the Supreme Council automatically determines eligibility. Goals are set at 5% net growth with a minimum of 3 and maximum of 20.
- 2. Earn the Founders’ Award for insurance growth by June 30, 2022. Working with our Insurance Agents, each Council is responsible for scheduling at least two Fraternal Benefits Nights for current and prospective members during the fraternal year. There is no minimum attendance however, the event must be promoted three different ways with documentation. The General Agent is the only person who can submit Form 11077 to Supreme so that your council receives credit for the event. It is recommended that you be proactive in providing this to your General Agent. A Fraternal Benefits event can be combined with other councils and Knights Ladies and Prospects are also be encouraged to attend. The Fraternal Benefits Chairman on the Star Council Team will assist Councils and General Agents with scheduling and will track Council progress throughout the State to ensure all Councils are on track to meet this objective. There is no application to complete for the Founder’s Award, as the Supreme Council automatically determines eligibility.
- 3. Earn the Columbian Award for Faith in Action programs by June 30, 2022.
- Conduct at least four programs in each of the four Faith in Action categories of Faith, Family, Community, and Life. Required programs have been removed. The State Program Director will provide more detailed information.
- 4. Complete and send required forms to Supreme and the Texas State Office.
- Submit the Service Program Personnel Report (form 365) due by August 1, 2021
- Submit the Annual Survey of Fraternal Activity (form 1728) due by January 31, 2021.
- Complete the Columbian Award Application (form SP-7) due by June 30, 2021.
- The most convenient way to update these three forms to Supreme is by going online to the secure Officers Online section of the Knights of Columbus website at www.kofc.org and selecting the Member Management application or go the Forms tab to find the online form to complete.
- Please create a PDF of these three forms and send to the State Office at email@example.com.
- 5. Safe Environment. Be “Compliant” with required training and background checks under Faith in Action guidelines. Men in the following positions are required to complete Safe Environment training modules and may be required to provide authorization for a background check within 30 days of receiving an email from Supreme.
- Grand Knight
- Program Director
- Family Director (background check required)
- Community Director (background check required)
- Columbian Squires Counselors (if applicable) (background check required)
- Once the completed Form 365 is received by Supreme an email will be sent to the men who need to complete the training. Individuals will have 30 days to complete the training and provide background information.
- An email reminder will be sent after 2 weeks if not completed.
- If not completed within 30 days, the director positions are vacated and another individual needs to be assigned.
- Grand Knights who do not complete Safe Environment training may be removed from their role by the District Deputy.
- Completing the online safe environment training modules demonstrates commitment to protecting children and vulnerable members.
- 6. Council must be current with Supreme Assessments two times during the year; October 1, 2021, and April 1, 2022.
Some positions also have access to the Praesidium’s Armatus administration dashboard to view jurisdiction/council compliance status. Once completed, training is good for three years before renewal is required. The Service Program Personal (also known as Form 365) will be recorded as received when the following required roles have been appointed - Program Director, Community Director, Family Director, Membership Director, and Retention Chairman. The Grand Knight can also hold one Director position however there must be two other men each holding a Director’s spot. It is extremely important that accurate emails be reported. Praesidium (the Order’s Safe Environment partner) will use these email addresses to send notifications to those men who are required to complete Safe Environment training and to provide authorization for a background check. There should be no general email specific to council name, position, etc., - the email must be a unique email address to the individual. The email the member will receive from Supreme will include their unique username and password to access the training website. There will be three modules to complete, each taking about an hour. The State Safe Environment Chairman will provide periodic reports on progress to achieve 100% compliance. District Deputies are expected to monitor these reports for Safe Environment Compliance for the councils assigned to them. They should work with the Grand Knights to ensure that each council is 100% compliant. Once training is complete the certification is good for three years. Timelines are as follows:
Safe Environment Requirements can be found at kofc.org/safe. All inquiries regarding the program should be directed to the Office of Youth Protection via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone to 203-752-4554.
These essential steps are covered in multiple locations with multiple resources. Specifically, each council can refer to the yearly Fraternal Planner, the Faith in Action Guidebook, the Safe Environment Program Information Guide, and of course, this Texas State Star Guide.
The Texas State Council provides a checklist in the Star Guide to achieve Star Council. In addition, we are providing a District Deputy Checklist, Form TX21B – 2020, that will be a guide for the performance of each of the District Deputy councils. This form will be available for download on the Texas State Website. Texas goes above and beyond by allowing for two additional awards: The Lone Star Award for Excellence and the Lone Star Award for Excellence with Distinction. Texas just does things bigger and prouder.