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Kiwanis International
Founded 1915
Founders Joseph C. Prance and Allen S. Browne
Type Service
Origins Detroit, Michigan, United States
Area served
Method Community service
US$20,723,000 (2006)[1]
Endowment US$6,000,000 (2006)[2]
Slogan "Serving the Children of the World"

Kiwanis International ( ) is an international, [4]

Kiwanis International is a volunteer-led organization headed by a Board of Trustees consisting of 19 members: 15 trustees, four elected officers, and an executive director. The trustees serve three-year terms, with five trustees elected each year. As set out in the Bylaws, nine trustees are elected from the United States and Pacific Canada Region, one trustee is elected from the Canada & Caribbean Region, two trustees are elected from the European Region, two trustees are elected from the Asia-Pacific Region, and one trustee is elected "at large" from any region other than the United States and Pacific Canada. The elected officers included (in order of progression): vice president, president-elect, president and immediate past president. These officers, along with the United States and Pacific Canada Region trustees, are elected at the annual convention of Kiwanis International. All trustees and officers are unpaid volunteers. The executive director is a full-time employee who is responsible for the organization's paid staff and serves as a non-voting member of the Board.

There are seven regions in Kiwanis: Africa; Asia-Pacific; Canada and Caribbean; Europe; Latin America; Middle East; and United States and Pacific Canada. The United States and Pacific Canada Region incorporates the 50 states of the United States as well as British Columbia and the Yukon Territory of Canada.

There are fifty-three administrative areas called districts. District boards typically consist of a governor-elect, governor, and immediate-past governor, secretary, treasurer, and several trustees or lt. governors. Districts are further divided into service areas called divisions, comprising 5 to 20 clubs and headed by a lieutenant governor. Clubs have boards consisting of a vice president (and/or president elect), president, immediate past president, secretary, treasurer, and typically about five directors. At both the district and club level, secretary/treasurer may be combined by one person and may be a volunteer or a paid employee; all other positions are unpaid.[5]


  • Etymology 1
  • Ideals 2
    • Defining statement 2.1
    • Motto 2.2
    • Objects 2.3
  • History 3
  • Service 4
  • Kiwanis family 5
    • Key Club 5.1
    • Circle K 5.2
    • K-Kids, Builders Club, Aktion Club, Kiwanis Junior 5.3
    • Kiwaniannes 5.4
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8
    • Organizations 8.1


The name “Kiwanis” was coined from the [9] Members of the club are called Kiwanians.


Defining statement

"Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to improving the world, one child and one community at a time."[10]


Kiwanis' motto is "Serving the Children of the World." The original motto was "We Trade". A new motto of "We Build" was adopted during the 1920 International Convention and represented Kiwanis for more than 80 years.[11]


The six permanent Objects of Kiwanis International were approved by Kiwanis club delegates at the 1924 Convention in Denver, Colorado.[12]

  • To give primacy to the human and spiritual rather than to the material values of life.
  • To encourage the daily living of the Golden Rule in all human relationships.
  • To promote the adoption and the application of higher social, business, and professional standards.
  • To develop, by precept and example, a more intelligent, aggressive, and serviceable citizenship.
  • To provide, through Kiwanis clubs, a practical means to form enduring friendships, to render altruistic service, and to build better communities.
  • To cooperate in creating and maintaining that sound public opinion and high idealism which make possible the increase of righteousness, justice, patriotism, and goodwill.[13]


The organization originated in August 1914 in

  • Kiwanis International
  • History of Kiwanis
  • Kiwanis Family
  • Kiwanis International Foundation
  • Circle K International
  • Key Club International
  • Kiwanis Key Leader
  • Aktion Club
  • Builders Club
  • K-Kids Club
  • Kiwanis Junior


  • Kiwanis Worldwide Service Project: The Eliminate Project
  • Kiwanis International European Federation
  • Kiwanis Club Acireale
  • Kiwanis International Distretto Italia San Marino
  • Kiwanis Goals Article
  • Kiwanis Organization Logistics - A Pilot Project in District Norden
  • Kiwanis Romania
  • Kiwanis Junior Clubs The Netherlands

External links

  1. ^ "Kiwanis International Financial Statement" (PDF). Kiwanis International. April 2007. Retrieved May 2, 2007. 
  2. ^ "Campaign aims to grown endowment". Kiwanis Connected e-zine. July 2006. Retrieved May 2, 2007. 
  3. ^ "Indy Life". Kiwanis International. Retrieved May 2, 2007. 
  4. ^ a b http:/
  5. ^ The information in this section is laid out in
  6. ^ Rhodes, Richard. 1993. "giiwnizid" in Eastern Ojibwa-Chippewa-Ottawa Dictionary. ISBN 3-11-013749-6
  7. ^ Baraga, Frederic 1878 (reprint 1992). "Kiwanis" in A Dictionary of the Otchipwe Language (reprint as A Dictionary of the Ojibway Language). ISBN 0-87351-281-2
  8. ^ "Kiwanis" in The Random House Dictionary of the English Language. ISBN 0-39450-050-4
  9. ^ "History Bulletin on Kiwanis". Kiwanis International. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  10. ^ the word "changing" was changed to "improving" in January 2014
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Objects of Kiwanis". Kiwanis International. Retrieved February 15, 2010. 
  13. ^ http:/
  14. ^ Jonak, Chuck (December 2004). The Kiwanis Legacy. Indianapolis, Indiana: Kiwanis International. pp. 13–16. 
  15. ^ Reading Eagle, June 7, 1927
  16. ^
  17. ^ WHO
  18. ^
  19. ^ Milwaukee Journal, July 8, 1987
  20. ^
  21. ^ paediatric trauma
  22. ^ children's cancer
  23. ^ "What is a Kiwanian?". Kiwanis International. Retrieved 2007-09-07. 
  24. ^ The Eliminate Project
  25. ^ [2]
  26. ^ "Kiwanis International Foundation: Assisting Kiwanis International to serve the children of the world". Retrieved 2008-05-09. 
  27. ^ Key Club International website
  28. ^ Circle K International website
  29. ^ Kiwanis Junior
  30. ^ Kiwanis Junior Distretto Italia


See also

Before 1987, women's auxiliary clubs known as Kiwaniannes also existed, made up of wives of members of the men-only Kiwanis clubs. With the changes that made it possible for women to join Kiwanis clubs, official sponsorship of the Kiwaniannes clubs ended. Some Kiwaniannes clubs merged with their affiliated Kiwanis club, while others converted into independent Kiwanis clubs.


K-Kids is intended for grades 4-5 in elementary school, and has a membership is 33,000 in 1,100 clubs in 8 nations. Builders Club (middle school) has 42,000 members in 1,400 clubs in 12 nations. Aktion Club (for people who have disabilities) has 8,400 members in 400 clubs in 7 nations. These programs are all led by adult advisors (Kiwanians or faculty members), whereas Key Club and Circle K elect their own club, district, and International officers each year to lead the organization. Kiwanis Junior is part of the European Service Leadership Program, with clubs in Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and Italy, and is typically for people ages 18–35.[29][30]

K-Kids, Builders Club, Aktion Club, Kiwanis Junior

[28] The collegiate version of Kiwanis, which maintains some autonomy from Kiwanis, is

Circle K

Kiwanis founded and supports Key Club International. Started in Sacramento, California in 1925, Key Club is the oldest and largest service program for high school students in the world. As of 2010, Key Club has 250,000 members in 5,000 clubs in 30 nations,[27] primarily in the United States and Canada, but with clubs also in Central and South America, Caribbean nations, Asia, and Australia. KIWIN'S (pronounced "kee-wins"), a high school program exclusive to the California-Nevada-Hawaii district, operates under the umbrella of Key Club but elects its own officers.

Key Club

Kiwanis provides leadership and service opportunities for youth through its Service Leadership Programs. Key Club, Circle K, Builders Clubs and K-Kids are part of Kiwanis Service Leadership Programs. They are sponsored by a local Kiwanis club and receive funding and professional guidance from Kiwanis.

Kiwanis family

In 2007, the charitable financial arm, Kiwanis International Foundation, was awarded the top rating by an independent evaluator.[26]

As a global project in coordination with UNICEF, members and clubs contributed more than $80 million toward the global elimination of iodine deficiency disorders (IDD), the leading preventable cause of intellectual disability. Beginning in 2010 Kiwanis International once again joined with UNICEF to launch a new worldwide health initiative,[24] dedicated to wiping out maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT), which kills more than 50,000 babies and a significant number of women each year.[25]

Service may be provided directly (e.g. reading to children at the library or taking therapy dogs into seniors' facilities) or through raising funds in the community to meet a community need (such as building a playground). Common fund-raising events include breakfast such as pancakes, peanut sales, or food concessions. Areas of service may include assistance to those living in poverty, projects that benefit children and youth, and services for the sick or elderly.[23]

Kiwanis clubs decide for themselves what projects to do in their community, based on their own community's needs and their members' interests. Service to children is a primary focus in Kiwanis. Clubs are encouraged to conduct a community survey each year to determine what unmet needs exist in their community. In some cases, clubs in a geographic region (a "Division" or "District") may take on a project of shared interest, such as paediatric trauma,[21] or children's cancer.[22]

Kiwanis is organized to serve children and youth using two approaches. One aspect is to improve the quality of life directly through activities promoting health, education, etc. The other encourages leadership and service among youth. In pursuit of the latter goal, Kiwanis sponsors about 7,000 youth service clubs with nearly 320,000 youth members.


Until 1987 the organization accepted only men as members. By action of the International Convention in 1987, the rules were changed to admit women as well.[19] Women constitute about 26% of total members.[4] At the 2013 International Convention, Sue Petrisin was elected as the organization's first female international vice president. Petrisin was installed as Kiwanis International President in 2015, the year of the organization's 100th anniversary.[20] She is the first female to lead any major member service organization.

Each year, clubs sponsor nearly 150,000 service projects, complete more than 18.5 million hours in volunteer service and raise more than $100 million. As a global project in coordination with UNICEF, members and clubs contributed more than $80 million toward the global elimination of iodine deficiency disorders (IDD), the leading preventable cause of mental retardation. Beginning in 2010 Kiwanis International joined with UNICEF to launch a new worldwide health initiative, The Eliminate Project, dedicated to wiping out maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT), which kills more than 100,000 babies worldwide each year.[17][18]

The original purpose of Kiwanis was to exchange business between members and to serve the poor. The debate as to whether to focus on networking or service was resolved in 1919, when Kiwanis adopted a service-focused mission. In 1924, the Objects of Kiwanis were adopted (see above) and remain unchanged today.

Kiwanis became international with the organization of the Kiwanis club of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, in 1916. Kiwanis limited its membership to the United States and Canada until 1962, when worldwide expansion was approved. Since then, Kiwanis has spread to all inhabited continents of the globe.[16]


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