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Kiwanis International (kih-WAH-niss) is an international, coeducational service club founded in 1915. It is headquartered in

Indianapolis, Indiana, United States. Current membership is nearly 600,000 members (74% men, 26% women) in 16,298 clubs in 80


Kiwanis International is headed by a Board of Trustees, an International President and other officers. These officers are elected at

the annual convention of Kiwanis International. There are fifty-three administrative districts, each headed by a Governor, and the

districts are further divided into service areas called divisions, comprising 12 to 20 clubs and headed by a Lieutenant Governor.

Every club has a president and board of directors.

The name “Kiwanis” was coined from the Ojibwe language expression derived from the word giiwanizi meaning to "fool

around":ningiiwaniz, which is found in the Baraga Dictionary as "nin Kiwanis", meaning "I make noise; I am foolish and wanton". The

organization's founders translated it as "We build", which became the original motto of Kiwanis. In 2005 the organization chose a new

motto, "Serving the Children of the World". Members of the club are called Kiwanians.
Defining statement

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

The six permanent Objects of Kiwanis International were approved by Kiwanis club delegates at the 1924 Convention in Denver,


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.


The organization originated in August 1914 in Detroit, Michigan from a conversation between Allen S. Browne and Joseph G. Prance.

Browne's idea was to solicit business and professional men asking them if they would be interested in organizing a fraternal

organization with a health benefit feature. Browne was compensated five dollars per new member that joined for his operating budget.

Browne and Prance set out and recruited enough members to apply to the state for a not for profit status. The state approved the

application on January 21, 1915 and the Supreme Lodge Benevolent Order Brothers was formed. The name was changed to Kiwanis a year

later. The Kiwanis Club of Detroit is the original local club in Kiwanis. By 1927 the organization had more than 100,000 members.

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.

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. Each year, clubs sponsor nearly 150,000

service projects and raise more than $107 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.

Until 1988 the organization accepted only men as members. By action of the International Convention in 1987, the rules were changed

to admit women as well. Currently women constitute about 26% of total members.

Kiwanis tries to serve children and youth using two approaches. One attempts to improve the quality of life directly through

activities promoting health, education, etc. The other tries to encourage 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.

Kiwanis members help shelter the homeless, feed the hungry, mentor the disadvantaged, and care for the sick. They have built

playgrounds and raised funds for pediatric research.

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 once

again joined with UNICEF to launch a new worldwide health initiative, dedicated to wiping out maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT),

which kills more than 60,000 babies and a significant number of women each year.

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

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. Contact +1 (614) 448-0090 and ask for Coach Z if you would like to start a club for your school

district and do not have a local Kiwanis Club to support the process.
Key Club

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,

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.
Circle K

The collegiate version of Kiwanis, which maintains some autonomy from Kiwanis, is Circle K International, also known as CKI. The

first official Circle K club was chartered in September, 1947 at the campus of Carthage College (then in Illinois). As of 2010,

Circle K membership is 12,600 members in 500 clubs in 17 countries, making Circle K the largest collegiate service organization of

its kind in the world.
K-Kids, Builders Club, Aktion Club, Kiwanis Junior

K-Kids (elementary school) current membership is 33,000 in 1,100 clubs in 8 nations. Builders Club (middle school) currently has

42,000 members in 1,400 clubs in 12 nations. Aktion Club (for people who have disabilities) currently has 8,400 members in 400 clubs

in 7 nations. These are all considered Kiwanis-led programs, 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.

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.


"Kiwanis International Financial Statement" (PDF). Kiwanis International. April 2007. Retrieved May 2, 2007.
"Campaign aims to grown endowment". Kiwanis Connected e-zine. July 2006. Retrieved May 2, 2007.
"Indy Life". Kiwanis International. Retrieved May 2, 2007.
Rhodes, Richard. 1993. "giiwnizid" in Eastern Ojibwa-Chippewa-Ottawa Dictionary. ISBN 3-11-013749-6
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
[ "History Bulletin on Kiwanis"] Check |url= scheme (help). Kiwanis

International. Retrieved 15 November 2012.
"Objects of Kiwanis". Kiwanis International. Retrieved February 15, 2010.
Jonak, Chuck (December 2004). The Kiwanis Legacy. Indianapolis, Indiana: Kiwanis International. pp. 13–16.
Reading Eagle, June 7, 1927
Milwaukee Journal, July 8, 1987
"What is a Kiwanian?". Kiwanis International. Retrieved 2007-09-07.
The Eliminate Project
"Kiwanis International Foundation: Assisting Kiwanis International to serve the children of the world".

Retrieved 2008-05-09
Key Club International website
Circle K International website
Kiwanis Junior
Kiwanis Junior Distretto Italia

External links

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


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

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List of civic, fraternal, service, and professional organizations

Circle K International

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Iodine deficiency

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