The LAMB Foundation of NC, Inc. was officially incorporated in 1999 to accommodate the growth of a statewide program, Operation LAMB, conducted by the North Carolina Knights of Columbus State Council. LAMB is an acronym derived from the Biblical phrase from Matthew: “to serve the Least Among My Brethren”.
Operation LAMB began in 1960 by Past State Deputy William Scott of the Knights of Columbus. Bill and his wife Maureen had two children with intellectual disabilities. The Scotts saw firsthand the extra funds desperately needed by the facilities that care for, educate and help these citizens.
In 1974, Bill with the assistance of other state officers at the time presented a program to all of the local Knights of Columbus councils in North Carolina. The program outlined was simple: If each council collected funds on an entirely volunteer basis on behalf of citizens with intellectual disabilities, all of the money collected would go directly to the institutions caring for them. The local councils across the state voted unanimously and the program of handing out Tootsie Rolls to raise money was born.
Since that time, each council in the state (there are now 124 councils with more than 15,000 members) sets aside a period of time each year to perform street-side donation collections. Tootsie Rolls are offered to all passers-by. The only associated costs pay for Tootsie Rolls and the yellow vests worn by the volunteers. Each local council retains 85% of the total collections, minus the above costs, for donation to local organizations in their immediate area. The remaining 15% is controlled by the Foundation's Board of Directors and given to organizations that serve people with intellectual disabilities from all over the state, or organizations that may not have a local Knights of Columbus council and have a need for a donation.
Over the past several years, the LAMB Foundation of NC, Inc. has achieved Gold Sponsor status with the Special Olympics North Carolina, an accomplishment of which we, the Board of Directors and the members of the Foundation, are very proud. Since the LAMB Foundation of NC's inception, we've raised more than $20 million. Our donations in the state of North Carolina annually have totaled more than $900,000 for the past several years. This money is collected primarily by volunteers who are Knights of Columbus members, their families, friends and, in some cases, teachers and students from LAMB Foundation-sponsored special-education classes.
The Foundation is totally volunteer, with 93% of all of the funds raised going directly to assisting those with intellectual disabilities.