Charitable Initiative's

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Priory Initiative's

One of primary charitable mission’s of SMOTJʼs American Grand Priory (GPUSA) and our priory is to support Christians at risk, especially in the Holy Land. For over a decade, extremists have targeted the Christian community there for persecution, and worse, in a manner unlike anything seen in the region for about 150 years. Information on this crisis is presented in the “News” section (see tab above). Christians in past decades constituted about 20% of the population in the Holy Land, but today they number less than 2%. Many have been killed, others have been kidnapped. But most of them fled to other lands. The most common reasons: the risks that many Christian families face living in the Holy Land, and the loss of hope that things will improve. 

The needs of Christians in the region are urgent. American Templars are there to help, working to preserve Christianityʼs presence in the place of its birth. Our priory’s Jerusalem Mite program focuses on risks facing Christians in an effort to restore hope and encourage families to rebuild their lives in the Holy Land and the Middle East.

The Jerusalem Mite, with money raised from American Knights, Dames and friends, directs funds to a dozen known, trusted, church-related charitable organizations, based primarily in the Holy Land. These organizations provide essential programs for healthcare, housing, academic education, and vocational training, and they are making a difference for Christian families. In the wake of extremistsʼ recent campaigns to purge the region of Christians, several of our recipient organizations are also providing food, clothing, shelter, and medical care to tens of thousands of Christian refugees who have fled for their lives, especially in northern Iraq. Our priory is in regular contact with our charitable recipients and visits them every year.

While the Orderʼs primary mission is to support Christians at risk in the Middle East, we also seek opportunities to build relationships with the regionʼs other two major Abrahamic faiths – Judaism and Islam – and to maintain free access for all faiths to the local holy sites of each.

Templars are changing lives in the Holy Land and beyond. With your support, we can do much more. Our brothers and sisters in the Middle East are counting on us

Annual giving by Knights, Dames and friends is making a difference in the lives of our Christian brothers and sisters in the Middle East through the organizations that we fund.

Jerusalem Mite

Our priory raises funds for the Christian community in the Middle East from American Knights and Dames largely through our Jerusalem Mite program. The Jerusalem Mite primarily targets local programs to help stabilize the Christian population in the Holy Land and re-build a foundation for its continued survival.

Some of the most critical needs of Christians in the Holy Land are:

  • Healthcare – especially for the dedicated older Christians, because of the critical shortage of doctors and nurses in Christian enclaves outside Israelʼs barrier wall.
  • Housing – especially in Gaza, where hundreds of Christian family homes have been decimated, most recently during Israelʼs 2014 military incursion into Gaza.
  • Education – the long-term key to a better life for the next generation, as unemployment among young people in Palestine currently stands at 34%.
  • Vocational Training – a necessity for the better-paying jobs for Christian families in the region.


Refugee Relief – the food, shelter, clothing and care needed by hundreds of thousands of Christians who now live in refugee camps after fleeing the onslaughts of Islamic State and other extremist groups.

Our priory seeks out trustworthy organizations that have been meeting these needs in the Middle East for many years and assesses their qualifications and transparency. We have found that church leaders of various denominations and church-affiliated programs often are effective in addressing Christian needs, so they receive the majority of our charitable funds at this time.

A few examples of how the Jerusalem Mite is meeting the needs of Christians at risk:

  • Healthcare
    • Hospitals and clinics supported or operated by the Anglican Church, Roman Catholic Church, and Canon Andrew Whiteʼs Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation (FRRME) in Iraq.
    • Burn-treatment facility opened at an Anglican hospital in Gaza
    • Medical aid and supplies provided by the Franciscan Order
  • Housing
    • Restoration of sub-standard homes by the Franciscan Order in Bethlehem
    • Construction of new apartments in Jericho, Nazareth and Bethlehem for Christian families, built and subsidized by the Franciscan Order
  • Education
    • Schools operated by the Anglican Church, the Lutheran Church and the Latin (Roman Catholic) Patriarch
    • Colleges and seminaries operated by the La Salle Brothers, the Anglican Church, the Latin Patriarch, the Armenian Patriarch, and the Coptic Patriarch (Patriarchs are the national heads of their churches).
    • In addition to the Miteʼs funds for schools, Knights and Dames are personally funding scholarships for selected Christian students through our Raymond Davis Foundation, enabling young men and women to complete their high school or college education.
  • Vocational Training
    • The Episcopal Technological and Vocational Training Center (ETVTC) trains high school students in technology and in hotel service and management. 87% of its students have jobs or college acceptances upon graduation.
  • Refugee Relief
    • Clothing, water purification equipment, blankets and food for Syrian Christian refugees in Jordanʼs camps are provided by the Lutherans
    • Funds for construction of, and food and supplies for, Christian refugee camps in Iraq are provided by the FRRME.

Operation Night Flight

Operation Night Flight ~ Recognizing the tremendous value that the Denton Program represents to charities seeking to meet Christian material needs worldwide, we wanted to help get the word out about this great program, but because of the many stipulations and requirements within the program, we decided that our extensive military experience, and 30+ years of familiarity with the program, we would be of better service if we could focus our efforts with facilitating and teaching the process to willing charity organizations. To quote the old adage, “Give a man a fish and he has fish for a day, teach a man to fish and he will have fish for a lifetime.” Operation Knight Flight was thus established by constituent Knight and Dames on a pro-bono basis to help with the collection, transportation, and redistribution of humanitarian materials, in order that Middle East Christians (MEC) and other Christians around the world, could be sustained under the auspices of the U.S. Denton Amendment humanitarian military airlift program. Please take the time to visit our dedicated project website located at: operationknightflight.org

The Denton Amendment

Believe it or not, there is a little known U.S. government program that provides a way for charity and non governmental organizations (NGO) to deliver humanitarian cargo throughout the world aboard U.S. Military aircraft for FREE. It is called the Denton Program  

The Denton Program is an incredibly productive way for charities to deliver important cargo to the needy, but it’s also a detailed program that requires specific expertise. We are Knights Templar and specialize in charitable efforts. Our deep familiarity and ongoing assistance with this program comes at no cost to you.  

Read more about the Denton Program

Jeremiah Denton's Legacy

Jeremiah Denton’s – Sailor, Senator, ServantThe Denton Amendment (named in honor of former Navy pilot, Vietnam prisoner-of-war and Alabama senator) legislatively passed in 1987. The Denton amendment grants the Secretary of Defense the approval to delegate shipments of humanitarian supplies provided by nongovernmental organizations and nonprofit organizations to nations, without any added cost to the nation receiving supplies or the Department of Defense. 

Jeremiah Denton was widely known for enduring almost eight years of grueling conditions as an American prisoner of war (POW) in North Vietnam after the A-6 Intruder he was piloting was shot down in 1965. He was the first of all American POWs held captive and released by Hanoi to step off an American plane during Operation Homecoming in February 1973. As one of the earliest and highest-ranking officers to be taken prisoner in North Vietnam, Denton was forced by his captors to participate in a 1966 televised propaganda interview which was broadcast in the United States. While answering questions and feigning trouble with the blinding television lights, Denton blinked his eyes in Morse code, spelling the word “TORTURE”—and confirming for the first time to U.S. Naval Intelligence that American POWs were being tortured.

In 1980, Denton ran for a U.S. Senate seat from his home state of Alabama. In the primary election, he achieved a surprise victory over the opposing candidate and in doing so, became the first retired Navy admiral elected to the United States Senate. 

The Denton Program

In 1981, he founded and chaired the National Forum Foundation. Through his National Forum Foundation, Denton arranged shipments of donated goods to countries in need of aid.

The Denton Program was enacted in 1985. Acting as an advisor on Latin American affairs during a communist insurgency taking place in South America, Denton noticed how poverty stricken these countries were. He made a proposal to Congress to allow non-government agencies to use available space on military airlifts to ship cargo to these countries. After Sept. 11, 2001, this included Iraq and Afghanistan as well.

Today, the Denton Program provides transportation for approved humanitarian assistance commodities destined for approved countries that are supported by DoD transportation services, and where civil systems, local infrastructure and the supply chain will support immediate onward distribution of the commodities.

Sources: Wikipedia, Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs, and OHASIS Ha-Transportation website