All of the following information was pulled from Kiwanis.org and is for your informational purposes about Kiwanis International. If you should need more information on Kiwanis please reach out to our club or visit the Kiwanis International website.
Kids At Heart
Kiwanis International brings the world together — one community at a time. Today, we stand with more than 600,000 members in more than 80 countries from Kiwanis to Key Club to Circle K and beyond. Each community has different needs, and Kiwanis empowers members to pursue creative ways to serve the needs of children through local service projects and fundraising.
Kiwanis hosts nearly 150,000 service projects each year.
Kiwanis International was founded in 1915 by a group of businessmen in Detroit, Michigan, USA. The organization was originally called the Supreme Lodge Benevolent Order of Brothers, but changed its name to Kiwanis a year later.
The name “Kiwanis” was coined from an expression in an American Indian language of the Detroit area, “Nunc Kee-wanis,” which means, “we trade.” In 1920, the motto of Kiwanis became “We Build.” It remained the motto until 2005, when members voted to change it to “serving the children of the world.” In the early years, members focused on business networking but in 1919, the organization changed its focus to service—specifically service to children.
Kiwanis became an international organization with the founding of the Kiwanis Club of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, in 1916. Kiwanis clubs formed in communities across the United States and Canada until the 1960s when worldwide expansion was approved. Today, Kiwanis clubs are helping children thrive, prosper and grow in nearly 80 nations and geographic locations.
All people are welcome to participate in the Kiwanis movement of improving communities for children. In 1987, women were invited to join. In 2008, delegates approved a resolution that calls for Kiwanis clubs to celebrate and foster inclusiveness.
- Kiwanis: Beginning to present
- The first Kiwanis convention
- Kiwanis becomes an international organization
- Kiwanis becomes a co-ed organization
- The longest-serving Kiwanis clubs
- The original 29 districts of Kiwanis
- Past Kiwanis International presidents
The Objects of Kiwanis guide our organization. They are our values. Our beliefs. Our core. Delegates approved the six permanent Objects of Kiwanis at the 1924 Kiwanis International Convention in Denver, Colorado. They have remained unchanged through the decades. Learn how the Objects of Kiwanis came to be.
Object 1- To give primacy to the human and spiritual rather than to the material values of life.
Object 2- To encourage the daily living of the Golden Rule in all human relationships.
Object 3- To promote the adoption and the application of higher social, business and professional standards.
Object 4- To develop, by precept and example, a more intelligent, aggressive and serviceable citizenship.
Object 5- To provide, through Kiwanis clubs, a practical means to form enduring friendships, to render altruistic service and to build better communities.
Object 6- To cooperate in creating and maintaining that sound public opinion and high idealism which make possible the increase of righteousness, justice, patriotism and good will.
Service is at the heart of every Kiwanis International club, no matter where in the world it’s located. Kiwanis members stage more than 150,000 service projects, devote more than 6 million hours of service and raise nearly US$100 million every year for communities, families and projects. Key Club members pitch in 12 million hours of service each year, and CKI members add another 500,000 hours. Aktion Club members donate another 92,000 hours of service every year to communities. Add it all up and that’s more than 18 million hours of service every year!
Kiwanis clubs have built all-access playgrounds, restocked libraries, created food pantries, bought medical equipment, hosted diversity fairs, stuffed back packs with school supplies and much, much more. Local projects are based on the needs of the community.
Kiwanis programs for youth and young adults help to create the next generation of community leaders. For instance, Key Club, the world’s oldest and largest service organization for high school students, encourages leadership development through service to others. Aktion Club, the only service club for adults with disabilities, helps members find purpose and self-worth through park clean ups, food drives and other projects. And programs like Bring Up Grades and Terrific Kids empower children to be accountable for themselves so they succeed in life.
- Club Level-It all starts with members in a club. Every club has a few things in common. For example, clubs have a president, vice president(s), secretary and treasurer. Clubs may also have other leadership positions, such as committee chairs.
- Division Level-Each club is clustered together with clubs in the area to form a division. Divisions are overseen by a lieutenant governor, who is a representative of the district board (see “District” category below). The number of divisions and lieutenant governors varies by district.
- District Level- A district is made up of several divisions. There are currently 49 districts and provisional districts within Kiwanis International. Some include only one state (Kansas District) or country (Malaysia District), while others are made up of multiple states (Minnesota-Dakotas District) or counties (Switzerland-Liechtenstein). The rest are made up of geographical regions (Pacific Northwest District). Each district is led by a district governor who is elected with the rest of the executive board at the district’s annual convention. The district’s executive board includes a governor, secretary and treasurer (or combined secretary-treasurer). Other board positions include the lieutenant governors and district chairs.
- International Level-All 49 districts and provisional districts, as well as Kiwanis nations that don’t fit into any district, make up Kiwanis International. How international are we? Currently, there are Kiwanis clubs in 79 countries and geographic territories. Each year, delegates at the Kiwanis International convention elect members and officers of the Kiwanis International Board, which includes a president, president-elect, vice president, past president and 15 trustees. The trustees oversee districts, similar to how lieutenant governors oversee divisions.