Kiwanis     International   

 

                                                                           

 Rosemead                                                  

 

                               History

    

       

   

        

          Serving the Children of the World

   

 

 

 

Kiwanis started in 1914 and is now a worldwide movement of several affiliated groups.  Central to these are the local independent Kiwanis and associated Kiwanis family of clubs, of which Rosemead Kiwanis is but one.

 

The International headquarters of Kiwanis are located in Indianapolis, Indiana, which has its own website, located at http://www.kiwanis.org/

 

OBJECTS OF KIWANIS

 

(Note: further down on this page, following the "Objects of Kiwanis," is a detailed history of the development of Kiwanis through the end of the 20th century)

 

The following six "Objects of Kiwanis International" were adopted at the Kiwanis International convention in 1924, held in Denver, CO, and have remained the guiding principles of all Kiwanis Family clubs ever since:

 

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 good will.

KIWANIS HISTORY

The following history of Kiwanis was found on the Internet. 

Its author is unknown but appears to have been compiled in preparation for the year 2000 International Convention. Slight modifications from the original have been made for clarity. 

Summary

1914-1927  The Formative Years

1928-1941  Depression to WW2

1942-1953  Emphasis on Patriotism

1954-1967  Modernization and International Expansion

1968-1981  KEY Clubs and Women's Rights

1982-1999  Dealing with Social Problems

Annual Synopsis:

[1914-1927] The Formative Years

[ 1914 ]
Allen S. Browne, a professional organizer for fraternal groups, has an idea for a new kind of club and begins recruiting business and professional men in Detroit, Michigan. Joe Prance, a merchant tailor, is the first to sign up and becomes "the first Kiwanian." Browne's proposed name for the group, the Benevolent Order of  Brothers, is rejected, however. As one member commented, "Who wants to belong to an organization called BOB?" A committee consults with a local historian, who tells them about a phrase in the local American Indian language: Nunc Kee-wanis, which means, approximately, "We get together" or "We trade." The club adopts an abbreviated version of this phrase, Kiwanis.

[ 1915 ]
January 21 becomes the official birthday of Kiwanis when the Detroit group receives a corporate charter from the State of Michigan. Membership in the Detroit #1 club quickly grows to more than 200. A second club is organized in Cleveland. Both the Detroit and Cleveland Kiwanians sponsor projects to benefit disadvantaged children -- a service slant that will become an enduring theme of Kiwanis.

[ 1916 ]
Thanks to Allen Browne's energetic organizing and member contacts in other cities, Kiwanis grows to 32 clubs -- including the Kiwanis Club of Hamilton, Ontario, "the club that made Kiwanis international." The      Cleveland club calls a convention. A basic constitution is adopted and George F. Hixson, of Rochester, New York, is elected as the first International President.

[ 1917 ]
Many more clubs are organized. The second annual convention is held in Detroit, and George Hixson is elected to a second term -- the only International President to serve more than one year. A "K" with the words "Kiwanis Club" enclosed in a double circle becomes the official symbol. The first rumblings of discord are heard from two contending groups: those who support Allen Browne's concept of an organization that primarily provides mutual business benefits for members, and those who believe that Kiwanis' long-term success depends on a higher primary ideal: community service.
 

[ 1918 ]
Membership reaches 10,000. The first Kiwanis headquarters, a two-room office, is opened in Chicago, Illinois, with O. Sam Cummings serving as the first International Secretary. The convention is held in Providence, Rhode Island. Perry S. Patterson of Chicago is elected President.

[ 1919 ]
The debate over the organization's primary purpose, personal business advantage or community service, reaches a climax at the convention in Birmingham, Alabama. As a professional organizer, Browne owns rights in the organization. The anti-Browne majority offers to buy him out and Browne names his price: $17,500. Members and clubs quickly subscribe the sum on the convention floor. Kiwanis "buys itself" and service triumphs over mutual back-scratching. Henry J. Elliott, Montreal, Quebec, is the first Canadian President.

[ 1920 ]
A record year for growth ends with 265 clubs and 28,500 members. The Kiwanis Motto, "We Build," is proposed by Kiwanis Magazine editor Roe Fulkerson and adopted. Portland, Oregon, hosts the International Convention. J. Mercer Barnett, Birmingham, Alabama, is elected President.

[ 1921 ]
Kiwanis officially adopts policies that emphasize community service in the areas of urban-rural cooperation, public affairs, and underprivileged children. O. Sam Cummings is succeeded by Fred C. W. Parker as      International Secretary. The convention is in Cleveland, Ohio. Harry E. Karr, Baltimore, Maryland, is elected President.

[ 1922 ]
Administrative policies are adopted to guide clubs in their activities. In later years, these will evolve into annual Themes and Objectives. Kiwanis observes US-Canada Day for the first time, which will later become Canada-US Goodwill Week, the oldest continuing Kiwanis observance, held as he first full week in April. The first Kiwanis districts are formed. The convention is held in Toronto, and George H. Ross, Toronto, Ontario, is elected President.

[ 1923 ]
Kiwanians donate $44,500 to finance a memorial to US President Warren G. Harding, who was a charter member of the Marion, Ohio, club. The convention is in Atlanta, Georgia. Edmund F. Arras, Columbus, Ohio, is elected President.

[ 1924 ]
A constitutional convention is held in Denver, Colorado. A more detailed constitution is adopted, which creates the International Council (composed of the International Board members and District Governors) and defines the functions of major committees. The six "Permanent Objects of Kiwanis" are adopted, Kiwanis International becomes the official name. Victor M. Johnson, Rockford, Illinois, is elected President.

[ 1925 ]
The Kiwanis Club of Sacramento sponsors a club for "KEY boys" in the local high school. This first KEY Club will eventually grow into the world's largest service club for high school students, but for the next decade the KEY Club idea will spread slowly, at first in California and then other states (see 1939, 1946). The International Council meets for the first time and the new District Governors jointly plan their Kiwanis year. The Harding International Goodwill Memorial is dedicated in Vancouver, British Columbia. The convention is held in St. Paul, Minnesota. John H. Moss, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is elected President.

[ 1926 ]
Membership nears 100,000. The Montreal convention is the largest to date, with 5,248 members from 1,546 clubs. Ralph A. Amerman, Scranton, Pennsylvania, is elected President.

[ 1927 ]
Kiwanis service achievements become increasingly important, with youth work, public affairs, and rural-urban cooperation stressed. US Kiwanians join with Canadian members in celebrating the Dominion of Canada's Diamond Jubilee. The International Board authorizes field service contacts to assess the problems and opportunities faced by local clubs. The convention is held in Memphis, Tennessee. Henry C. Heinz, Atlanta, Georgia, is elected President.

[1928 - 1941] Depression to WW2

[ 1928 ]
The present leadership training system is established, with District Governors trained by Kiwanis International, Lieutenant Governors trained by the Governors, and club presidents trained by Lieutenant Governors. The convention is held in Seattle, Washington. Past International Secretary O. Sam Cummings, Dallas, Texas, is elected President, the only Kiwanian to serve in both of the top leadership and staff positions on a regular basis (see 1986).

[ 1929 ]
A survey reveals that 95 percent of all clubs are sponsoring projects to serve underprivileged children. The stock market collapse of October, 1928, begins to affect business conditions. Milwaukee, Wisconsin, hosts the convention. Horace W. McDavid, Decatur, Illinois, is elected President.

[ 1930 ]
The worldwide depression creates hard times for Kiwanis. Total membership declines for the first time, by 1,000 to 102,811. In response, Kiwanis cuts costs, strengthens leadership and service programs. The convention is held in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Raymond M. Crossman, Omaha, Nebraska, is elected President.

[ 1931 ]
Membership declines by a further 5,000, reducing the total below the 100,000-mark. But only one club is lost. Youth work is expanded beyond the "underprivileged" category with a new and broader objective emphasizing "Boys and Girls Work." Miami, Florida, hosts the convention. William O. Harris, Los Angeles, California, is elected President.

[ 1932 ]
Kiwanis adopts an active service program to combat the depression. Programs include morale building, support for schools, employment stabilization, economy in government, and the promotion of good citizenship. The convention is held in Detroit. Carl E. Endicott, Huntington, Indiana, is elected President.

[ 1933 ]
The Kiwanis-originated "I am an American Day" is recognized by the US President and Congress.  Membership reaches a low of 79,589 -- 25,000 less than the pre-depression high. The convention is held in Los Angeles, California. Joshua L. Johns, Appleton, Wisconsin, is elected President.

[ 1934 ]
Membership begins to increase again. At the end of the year, there are 4,000 more Kiwanians than at the beginning. The convention returns to Toronto. William J. Carrington, MD, Atlantic City, New Jersey, is elected President.

[ 1935 ]
The 20th anniversary is celebrated with the placement of the first Kiwanis Peace Marker on the US-Canada border. A new program is adopted for "Support of Churches in their Spiritual Aims." There are 1,858 clubs and 86,000 members. The convention is held in San Antonio, Texas. Harper Gatton, Madisonville, Kentucky, is elected President.

[ 1936 ]
US President Franklin Roosevelt invites delegates at the International Convention in Washington, DC, to the White House Rose Garden and lauds Kiwanis for its active role in fighting the depression. The Kiwanis Club of Pullman, Washington, sponsors "Circle K House" at Washington State University, a kind of housing scholarship program for students that will eventually lead to the creation of Circle K International (see 1947). A. Copeland Callen, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, is elected President.

[ 1937 ]
The Theme, "Kiwanis Builds Better Communities," is exemplified by 30,000 individual club projects during the year. The present method of tabulating club activities is begun. The convention is held in Indianapolis,      Indiana. F. Trafford Taylor, KC, St. Boniface, Manitoba, is elected President, and proposes the creation of a Kiwanis International Foundation.

[ 1938 ]
Club service activities increase 17 percent. The 2,000th Kiwanis club is organized. The convention is held in San Francisco, California. H. G. Hatfield, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, is elected President.

[ 1939 ]
Canada enters World War II as a British ally. Kiwanis begins observing US-Canada Goodwill Week annually instead of biennially. The Kiwanis International Foundation is legally incorporated. Eight KEY Clubs in Florida meet and organize the Florida Association of KEY Clubs, the seed of the first KEY Club district. The convention is held in Boston, Massachusetts. Bennett O. Knudson, Albert Lea, Minnesota, is elected President.

[ 1940 ]
Kiwanis marks its 25th anniversary with a birthday party in Detroit. Twenty-five silver dollars decorating the cake are auctioned for $625, the first funds of the new International Foundation. A wreath is placed on the grave of Joe Prance, the first Kiwanian, and a plaque is erected at Detroit's Griswold Hotel, site of the first club's meetings. Canadian clubs provide entertainment, food, and other services for Canadians in uniform. Minneapolis, Minnesota, hosts the convention. Mark A. Smith, Thomaston, Georgia, is elected President.

[ 1941 ]
International Secretary Fred Parker retires after twenty years and is succeeded by O. E. Peterson, a YMCA executive. The convention is held in Atlanta, Georgia. In December the United States enters the war. International President Charles S. Donley, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, mobilizes Kiwanis clubs via a nationwide radio broadcast, then calls a meeting of leaders from all the major service clubs to organize a combined war effort.

[1942 - 1953] Emphasis on Patriotism

[ 1942 ]
The last full convention during the war, in Cleveland, Ohio, adopts the Theme, "Morale Building for the War Effort." Kiwanis clubs collect scrap rubber and metal, organize blood drives, sponsor victory gardens, entertain troops, and watch over dependents of servicemen overseas. Fred G. McAlister, QC, London, Ontario, is elected President.

[ 1943 ]
Kiwanis begins publishing a newsy monthly bulletin called "Contact" to keep in touch with the 15,000 Kiwanians in military service. A Wartime Conference is held in Chicago in place of a full International Convention, and participants pledge Kiwanis to "Victory! By United Effort -- By Individual Service." Donald B. Rice, Oakland, California, is elected President.

[ 1944 ]
Membership reaches a new high of 132,000 and Kiwanians work for a common goal: "All Out for Victory!" Kiwanis is represented by official observers at the United Nations Conference. A second Wartime Conference is held in Chicago. Ben Dean, Grand Rapids, Michigan, is elected President.

[ 1945 ]
Wartime service totals show that Kiwanians sold more than $2 billion worth of war bonds and stamps, collected more than 3 million tons of scrap, contacted more than 6 million members of the armed forces by      letter and other means. The Legion of Honor is established for Kiwanians who have been members for 25 years or more. The last Wartime Conference is held in Chicago. Hamilton Holt, Macon, Georgia, is elected President.

[ 1946 ]
Membership increases by 15,000 in the first year of peace. Clubs are organized in Alaska and the Yukon Territory. KEY Club International becomes a fully recognized part of the Kiwanis program with official      structure and a staff administrator at Kiwanis International headquarters. Atlantic City, New Jersey, hosts the first postwar International Convention. Jay N. Emerson, Pullman, Washington, is elected President.

[ 1947 ]
A boom year for Kiwanis with more than 200 new clubs organized, including three in Hawaii. The organization is saddened, however, when International President Jay Emerson dies on the eve of a big Chicago convention. A "Circle K Club" is organized at Carthage College by the Kiwanis Club of Carthage, Illinois (see 1954). Charles W. Armstrong, MD, Salisbury, North Carolina, is elected President.

[ 1948 ]
In the postwar era, Kiwanis places increasing stress on promoting democratic values and political freedoms. A pamphlet series is published, "It's Fun to Live in America" and "It's Great to be a Canadian," and more than 16 million copies are distributed by clubs. Los Angeles, California, hosts the convention. J. Belmont Mosser, Saint Marys, Pennsylvania, is elected President.

[ 1949 ]
The Freedoms Foundation cites the Kiwanis pamphlet series. Kiwanis sponsors its first Congressional Dinner in Washington, DC, honoring members who are serving in high positions of the US government. The first Kids Day is conducted with 1,239 clubs participating. The 3,000th club is organized. Atlantic City again hosts the convention. J. Hugh Jackson, Palo Alto, California, is elected President.

[ 1950 ]
Both US and Canadian clubs respond to the flood disaster in the Red River Valley. Newfoundland joins the Dominion of Canada, and a Kiwanis club is organized in the new province. The International Board sets a 40th anniversary goal of 4,000 clubs and 250,000 members. The convention is held in Miami. Don H. Murdoch, Winnipeg, Manitoba, is elected President.

[ 1951 ]
The Korean conflict finds Kiwanians responding again to the war effort. Many club projects reflect the growing concern over communism and the threat to democratic freedoms. The convention is held in St. Louis, Missouri. Claude B. Hellmann, Baltimore City, Maryland, is elected President.

[ 1952 ]
US clubs work alone or with other organizations in a Ballot Battalion campaign to stimulate public awareness of basic issues and get out the vote for the national elections. Seattle, Washington, hosts the convention. Walter J. L. Ray, Detroit, Michigan, is elected President.

[ 1953 ]
The largest International Convention to date attracts 11,532 delegates to Madison Square Garden in New York City. Circle K is expanding, and hundreds of Kiwanis clubs join in support of Radio Free Europe.  Donald T. Forsythe, Carthage, Illinois, is elected President.

[1954 - 1967] Modernization and International Expansion

[ 1954 ]
More new clubs are built than in any previous year since 1922, and membership nears the quarter-million mark. A second series of pamphlets intended to strengthen the national heritage reaches a circulation of 6 million. 2,000 clubs sponsor Kids Day programs. 1,400 radio stations are using Kiwanis religious radio recordings. In September, 114 members of 35 Circle K clubs meet at Carthage College, Illinois; officers are elected and recognition sought by Kiwanis International. The convention is held in Miami. Don E. Engdahl, Spokane, Washington, is elected President.

[ 1955 ]
With the Theme "Forward In Kiwanis," a record 265 new clubs are organized, including Number 4,000. Giving new life to an old service theme, Kiwanis sponsors the first Farm-City Week to promote understanding between the rural and urban sectors of society. Circle K International is granted official recognition by the Kiwanis International Board as a sponsored-youth affiliate. After almost 40 years of renting ever-expanding office space, plans are made for Kiwanis to own its own headquarters. Cleveland, Ohio, hosts the convention. J. A. Raney, Indianapolis, Indiana, is elected President.

[ 1956 ]
Membership surpasses the quarter-million mark. Kiwanis Kids Day events throughout the US and Canada attract more than 1.3 million youngsters. A site at 101 E. Erie Street in Chicago is purchased for the planned Kiwanis building. The convention is held in San Francisco. Reed C. Culp, Salt Lake City, Utah, is elected President.

[ 1957 ]
To equip youngsters with the skills and knowledge needed for living in the Air Age, Kiwanis embarks on the "Living in the Air Age Program" with the Civil Air Patrol and the Air Force. US Vice President Richard Nixon is the main speaker at the International Convention in Atlantic City. The Kiwanis International Foundation has languished since its founding in 1939, but a startling announcement is made at the convention: [Former radio personality] Jimmie Fidler's International Foundation for Underprivileged Children is being dissolved, and the KIF will receive the remaining corpus of $120,000 to support the continued observance of Kids Day. Architects for the new Kiwanis General Office Building are engaged and drawings approved. H. Park Arnold, Glendale, California, is elected President.

[ 1958 ]
The 44th International Convention is held in Chicago to witness the laying of the cornerstone for the new General Office. KEY Club membership reaches 41,000 in 1,800 high schools. Convention delegates establish the office of International President-Elect to provide a year of planning and preparation before each President assumes office and to share the current President's growing burden of duties. Kenneth B. Loheed, Toronto, Ontario, is elected President.

[ 1959 ]
The General Office staff moves into the new Kiwanis International Building, which wins architectural honors for design. The American Cancer Society, the National Safety Council, and the US Air Force also honor Kiwanis for service programs. A new "Citizenship Quotient" program is designed to inculcate good citizenship in Americans and Canadians. The convention is held in Dallas, Texas. Albert J. Tully, Mobile, Alabama, is elected President.

[ 1960 ]
Membership climbs to 260,000 in Kiwanis' 45th year. The Citizenship Quotient program asks Americans and Canadians to rate their "CQ" with almost a million leaflets and 15,000 posters. KEY Clubs have 49,000 members, and Circle K counts 5,500 collegiate members. Miami Beach, Florida, hosts the convention. J. O. Tally Jr., Fayetteville, North Carolina, is elected President.

[ 1961 ]
The convention in Toronto is the largest in history with almost 14,000 registrants. In a historic action, convention delegates approve Kiwanis extension outside the United States and Canada. With the cooperation of the National Recreation Association and a grant from Life Magazine, Kiwanis conducts a 1,000-club survey to determine the national purpose. I. R. Witthuhn, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is elected President.

[ 1962 ]
New club building records two firsts: the 5,000th club is chartered and the first clubs outside the two Founding Nations is organized in Mexico and the Bahamas. To increase the efficiency of handling membership records, magazine subscriptions, and other data-processing tasks, the International Board approves the installation of a substantial IBM computer system. The convention is held in Denver. Merle H. Tucker, Albuquerque, New Mexico, is elected President.

[ 1963 ]
The international extension program brings Kiwanis to Austria, Belgium, Germany, and Switzerland. An ambitious program, "You and the Law," soon results in the distribution of more than a million booklets to high school students. Atlantic City hosts the convention. Charles A. Swain, Cape May, New Jersey, is elected President.

[ 1964 ]
Kiwanis distributes a radio forum titled "Inquiry" in three 13-week segments. Kiwanis' first membership film, "The Man Who Wears the K," is produced. The Freedom Leadership Program is developed. Japan, Norway, Iceland, Jamaica, the Philippines, and the Netherlands Antilles join the Kiwanis family of nations. Los Angeles, California, hosts the convention. Edward B. Moylan Jr., Miami, Florida, is elected President.

[ 1965 ]
The Golden Anniversary year of Kiwanis is marked by a birthday party on January 21, with 4,000 Kiwanians and guests at Detroit's Cobo Hall. Many newspapers and broadcasting stations report on Kiwanis during the year, and the observance wins public relations awards for its plan and success. The Kiwanis International Foundation establishes the Tablet of Honor. The first Kiwanis clubs are built in Puerto Rico, France, and the Netherlands. The convention is held in New York City. Edward C. Keefe, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, is elected President.

[ 1966 ]
In November, Kiwanis' Canadian Golden Anniversary is celebrated with a banquet in Hamilton, Ontario. Kiwanis initiates the "We Care" program to honor American servicemen called to duty in Viet Nam. In October O. E. Peterson retires after 25 years as International Secretary. He is succeeded by R. P. Merridew, a broadcasting executive who has served as president of both the Detroit #1 and Cleveland #2 clubs. The convention is held in Portland, Oregon. Dr. R. Glenn Reed Jr., Marietta, Georgia, is elected President.

[ 1967 ]
A net loss of 250 members -- the first net decline since 1934 -- raises concern and produces the "Let's Match" program to match Kiwanis manpower to community needs. The first Robert P. Connelly Medal for Heroism is presented at the Houston convention to Kiwanian Connelly's widow. The Farm-City Week observance wins honors as one of the outstanding public affairs programs of the year. First clubs are built in Sweden, New Zealand, Colombia, Australia, Italy, Panama, Korea, and the Republic of China (Taiwan). James M. Moler, Charles Town, West Virginia, is elected President.

[1968 - 1981] KEY Clubs and Women's Rights

[ 1968 ]
The "Let's Match" program is complemented with "Operation Prevention and Retention" to keep current members while adding new ones. Modest annual growth resumes, but the late 1960s and early 1970s will be marked by sluggish growth in the 1% to 2% range. Convention delegates in Toronto adopt an Administrative Year plan that will result in club, district, and international leadership assuming office at the same time, October 1st each year. In partnership with the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge, Kiwanis sponsors the first annual observance of Family Reunion Day. The Kiwanis International Foundation conducts its first Birthday Gift Campaign, which will soon garner more than $100,000 per year from clubs and individual Kiwanians. First clubs are built in Argentina and Trinidad-Tobago. Harold M. Heimbaugh, Hollywood, California, is elected President.

[ 1969 ]
Kiwanis implements its first Major Emphasis Program, "Operation Drug Alert." Kiwanis International-Europe is organized to provide communication and mutual support among the growing number of European clubs. Provisional districts are established in the Far East. First clubs are built in Costa Rica and Luxembourg. Miami Beach, Florida, hosts the convention. Robert F. Weber, Detroit, Michigan, is elected President.

[ 1970 ]
The Detroit convention brings Kiwanis "Back to the Birthplace" to mark the 55th anniversary and honor the last living founder, Harry Young. Operation Drug Alert receives many awards, and thousands of club-sponsored projects make ODA one of Kiwanis' most successful service programs. First clubs are built in Hong Kong, Ecuador, and New Caledonia. T. R. Johnson, Denver, Colorado, is elected President.

[ 1971 ]
The "Distinguished Governor" program in instituted to recognize leaders whose districts meet tough criteria for programming and administration. Distinguished Club President and Distinguished Lieutenant Governor      honors serve the same purpose at club and division levels. A net loss of 400 members encourages continued emphasis on growth programs. First clubs are built in Guyana, Bermuda, Singapore, and Martinique. The convention is held in San Francisco. Wes H. Bartlett, Algona, Iowa, is elected President.

[ 1972 ]
The Kiwanis International Board approves Circle K's petition to permit women's membership in clubs, a decision that reflects the high enrollment of women on college campuses and the decline of gender-exclusive roles among the collegiate generation. The convention is held in Atlantic City. Lorin J. BadsKEY, North Webster, Indiana, is elected President.

[ 1973 ]
Kiwanis marks its 10th anniversary in Europe, and a delegation of North American Kiwanians visits the first three clubs, in Vienna, Basle, and Brussels. The Montreal convention sets an attendance record. A constitutional amendment is proposed to open Kiwanis to women members, but it receives little support. First clubs are built in Vanuatu and England. William M. Eagles, MD, Richmond, Virginia, is elected President.

[ 1974 ]
Overseas growth continues apace, and delegates to the convention in Denver approve a special 50-cent dues increase to finance the administration of international extension. Delegates again turn down women's membership. Kiwanis International revokes the charters of two clubs in New York and Colorado for admitting women members, and the New York club takes the issue to state court. "The Volunteer and the Nation" is chosen as the theme for Kiwanis involvement in the Bicentennial of the American Revolution.  First clubs are built in Guam, Liechtenstein, Monaco, and Barbados. Roy W. Davis, Chicago, Illinois, is elected President.

[ 1975 ]
More new clubs are built than in any previous year. KEY Club celebrates its 50th year. "Panorama," a 66-unit, 30-minute radio show is carried by 81 stations. An American Revolution Bicentennial radio series, "Sounds of Glory," begins broadcast in the United States. The Builders Club program for junior high school students is created. First clubs are built in the Cayman Islands and Venezuela. The convention is held in Atlanta, Georgia. Ted R. Osborn, Lexington, Kentucky, is elected President, the first former KEY Club member to achieve Kiwanis' highest office.

[ 1976 ]
Many US clubs mark the Bicentennial of the American Revolution under the Kiwanis observance theme, "The Volunteer and the Nation." The radio series, "Sounds of Glory," is broadcast by 55 stations. The number of new clubs again tops the previous record. A European Kiwanian is seated on the International Board for the first time as a specified Trustee for KI-Europe. First clubs are built in Guadeloupe, Malaysia, Nigeria, and Suriname. Stanley E. Schneider, Crestline, Ohio, is elected President.

[ 1977 ]
Another record year in new club building. To comply with rules for US high schools receiving federal funds, KEY Club International becomes a co-ed service organization for students. At the International Convention in Dallas, Texas, 15% of the delegates favor an amendment to open Kiwanis ranks to women. First clubs are built in the Dominican Republic, Brazil, and India. Maurice Gladman, Tustin, California, is elected President.

[ 1978 ]
Another banner year for new clubs. The Kiwanis International Foundation expands its service program overseas with a grant for a medical clinic in the Philippines. Associate Secretary L. A. Hapgood retires and begins a special assignment, writing a new official history of Kiwanis, "The Men Who Wear the K." The highest court in New York State upholds the right of Kiwanis as a private organization to enforce the men-only rule in that state; the US Supreme Court declines to review the case. First clubs are built in Portugal, French Guiana, the Turks and Caicos Islands, Kenya, Ireland, and Cameroon. The convention is held in Miami Beach, Florida. Hilmar L. "Bill" Solberg, Appleton, Wisconsin, is elected President.

[ 1979 ]
The Kiwanis International Foundation's rehabilitation clinic at Manila General Hospital in the Philippines is dedicated. Total Kiwanis membership exceeds 300,000 for the first time. Toronto, Ontario, hosts the convention. Mark A. Smith Jr., North Dekalb, Georgia, is elected President -- the only International President to follow his father (1940) in Kiwanis' highest leadership position.

[ 1980 ]
As the 1980s begin, Kiwanis continues to grow, but at a slow pace. While new club building records have been set in each recent year, the number of annual member deletions about equals the number of new member adds. The American Library Association names Kiwanis Magazine the best in the service-club field. First clubs are built in Tunisia, Spain, and Senegal. The convention is held in Anaheim, California. Merald T. Enstad, Fergus Falls, Minnesota, is elected President.

[ 1981 ]
International Secretary R. P. Merridew retires after 15 years and is succeeded by J. William Kleindorfer, an American Bar Association executive. General Office operations have outgrown the Kiwanis International Building in Chicago. After a survey of future needs and costs, ground is broken for a new International Headquarters building in Indianapolis, Indiana. First clubs are built in Ivory Coast and the Faroe Islands. The convention is held in New Orleans, Louisiana. E. B. "Mac" McKitrick, Edmonton, Alberta, is elected President.

[1982 - 1999] Dealing with social problems

1982
The International Office staff moves into the new headquarters in Indianapolis on September 1, and a cornerstone dedication ceremony is held on October 2 during the International Council meeting. KEY Club International passes the 100,000-member mark. At the Minneapolis convention, 33% of the delegates favor women's membership. Delegates approve a specified International Trustee for the Asia-Pacific Region. First clubs are built in Micronesia and Saint Lucia. John T. Roberts, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is elected President.

1983
Reflecting Kiwanis' 58-year service commitment to young people, "The Underprivileged Child -- A Kiwanis Concern" is adopted as the organization's continuing service emphasis and the basis for future Major Emphasis Programs. The first Kiwanis television documentary, "Volunteers In Action: Kiwanis Today," is produced. A Kiwanian from the Asia-Pacific region is seated on the International Board for the first time as a specified Trustee for that area. International Secretary Kleindorfer resigns and is succeeded by G. H. Zitzelsberger, a Michigan judge and past district governor. First clubs are built in Finland and Andorra. The convention in Vienna, Austria, is the first outside the US and Canada. Aubrey E. Irby, Tyler, Texas, is elected President.

1984
Kiwanis launches a major US public-service campaign on school-age drug abuse. The first Kiwanis/Nancy Reagan billboard is posted. During the summer, 500 radio stations air a 14-week series of 2-minute programs hosted by the First Lady -- the first regular broadcast by a First Lady from the White House. The three television networks begin airing a Kiwanis/Nancy Reagan public-service spot. For the first time, the Kiwanis International Foundation surpasses the $1 million mark in annual income from gifts and endowment. At the Phoenix, Arizona, convention, Mrs. Reagan thanks Kiwanians for their school-age drug abuse efforts. First clubs are built in the Comoros Islands and Sri Lanka. Raymond W. Lansford, Columbia, Missouri, is elected President.

1985
At the convention in Toronto, 27% of the delegates support a women's membership amendment. Kiwanis International begins litigation in the US District Court for New Jersey, seeking to withdraw the license to use the Kiwanis name from a New Jersey club that has admitted a woman member. Annual membership growth hovers in the less-than-1% range in the mid-1980s, sparking continuous emphasis on member retention, recruitment, and new club building. The Kiwanis/Nancy Reagan drug-abuse campaign posts 3,000 billboards, the radio series is repeated by hundreds of additional stations. Donald E. Williams, Berea, Ohio, is elected President. The first Kiwanis World Service Medal is awarded to Dr. Giuseppe Maggi, a Swiss-Italian physician who has devoted forty years to building hospitals and serving the medical needs of the poor in remote regions of the Cameroons, West Africa.

1986
The US District Court rules against Kiwanis International's right to enforce the men-only rule in New Jersey. The decision is appealed, and in December Kiwanis wins a reversal in the US Court of Appeals. In the meantime, 30 additional clubs in 11 states have admitted women. Foreseeing a long and costly legal contest in each state, the International Board endorses women's membership for the first time, and 47% of the Houston convention delegates vote in favor. The Kiwanis/Nancy Reagan anti-drugs program is in full swing -- billboards near the 5,000 mark; the 14-week radio series is broadcast for the third summer season; the three US television networks have aired the 30-second spot almost 500 times. International Secretary Gil Zitzelsberger resigns, and Immediate Past President Don Williams serves as Acting Secretary during the search for a successor. First clubs are built in Papua New Guinea and Fiji. Frank J. DiNoto, Rosemead, California, is elected President. The Kiwanis World Service Medal is awarded to US First Lady Nancy Reagan for her worldwide efforts to fight school-age drug abuse.

1987
Kevin Krepinevich, Executive Vice-President of the US Jaycees, is named International Secretary. Clubs violating the men-only rule total 40 in 15 states by May, when the US Supreme Court rules that service-club membership is not a US Constitutional issue but a matter for state law. The International Board under leadership of Rosemead's Frank DiNoto,  again urges adoption of a women's membership amendment, and delegates to the Washington, DC, convention approve the historic change overwhelmingly. The delegates also adopt an International Board plan that allows for greater worldwide representation when a region of the world increases it share of total Kiwanis membership. US President Ronald Reagan addresses the convention and honors the Kiwanis school-age drug abuse campaign with a Presidential Citation for Private Sector Initiatives, the nation's top award for community outreach programs. KEY Club membership surpasses 125,000. The first club is built in Denmark. Anton J. "Tony" Kaiser, Farmingdale, New York, is elected President. The Kiwanis World Service Medal is awarded to Church of England envoy Terry Waite for his courageous efforts to negotiate the release of hostages in Iran, Libya, and Lebanon. (By the time the award is announced, Waite has been taken hostage during a mission in Lebanon.)

1988
Kiwanis enjoys its best membership-growth year in a decade. The first club is built in Tahiti. Kiwanis International organizes a tribute dinner in Washington, DC, for US First Lady Nancy Reagan as she prepares to leave the White House; representatives from 80 organizations join with Kiwanis to salute Mrs. Reagan for her continuing efforts to combat school-age drug abuse. Gene R. Overholt, Plymouth, Michigan, is elected President at the International Convention in Seattle. The Kiwanis World Service Medal is awarded to Canadian Kiwanian Murray Dryden for creating the Sleeping Children Around the World program.

1989
Kiwanis enjoys another brisk growth year with the second-best new club record in its history. More than 1,000 Kiwanis clubs participate in the Children's Miracle Network Telethon and for the first time surpass $1 million in donations for children's hospitals in the US, Canada, and several other Kiwanis nations. Noris A. Lusche, Denver, Colorado, is elected President at the International Convention in Seattle. The Kiwanis World Service Medal is awarded to Harriet Van Meter of Lexington, Kentucky, creator of the International Book Project. Kiwanians prepare to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Kiwanis and the 50th anniversary of the Kiwanis International Foundation!

1990
The year begins on January 1 with a colorful Kiwanis 75th anniversary float in the Tournament of Roses Parade, televised worldwide. On January 19-21, 2,000 Kiwanians and guests meet in Detroit to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the first Kiwanis club. On January 21, the actual anniversary date, Kiwanis charters a club in Hungary, the first in Eastern Europe. On January 22, "Project KNOW," a new anti-drug program sponsored as a special anniversary program by the Kiwanis International Foundation, is launched in elementary schools in twelve U.S. cities. By the end of the 75th anniversary year, Project KNOW programs have been conducted in 1,075 schools with 415,000 students. W. J. Blechman, M.D., Miami, Florida, is elected International President at the convention in St. Louis, Missouri. The Kiwanis World Service Medal is awarded to William V. Dolan, M.D., for his humanitarian medical work with the Esperanca organization, aiding the poor of Brazil and other medically underserved nations. The International Board adopts a multi-year Major Emphasis Program called "Young Children: Priority One," to serve the needs of children from prenatal development to age 5.

1991
Women's membership tops 30,000 in November. More than 1,000 clubs are involved in projects under the MEP banner of Young Children: Priority One. The International Convention is held in Anaheim, California, and John D. Morton Sr., Berlin, New Hampshire, is elected President. The Kiwanis World Service Medal is awarded jointly to Yvonne Fedderson and Sara O'Meara Sigholtz, founders of Childhelp, a program to shelter and treat severely abused children.

1992
After five years as a hostage in Beirut, Lebanon, Church of England envoy Terry Waite is freed and is able to personally accept the 1987 Kiwanis World Service Medal. A new 13-part Young Children: Priority One public-service radio series is distributed to stations throughout North America. A new billboard and poster program, featuring the slogan "All Their Shots, While They're Tots," urging immunization of children by age 2, is another new part of the continuing Young Children: Priority One initiative. The International Convention is held in Indianapolis, Indiana, and thousands of Kiwanians have a chance to visit the International Office. Williams L. Lieber, Gary, Indiana, is elected president, and the Kiwanis World Service Medal is awarded to Jaime Jaramillo of Bogota, Colombia, who has rescued hundreds of abandoned children living in the sewers and streets.

1993
U.S. President Bill Clinton joins the "All Their Shots, While They're Tots" team in a 30-second TV/radio spot, plus a billboard and print ads. The first steps are taken to launch Kiwanis International's first Worldwide Service Project on iodine deficiency disorders, with pilot development programs in five districts. Year-end membership totals for the 1992-93 year show a 1.5 percent decline, most of the loss occurring in North America. The second International Convention in Europe is held in Nice, France. Arthur D. Swanberg is elected President, and the Kiwanis World Service Medal is awarded posthumously to Audrey Hepburn for her work for children as UNICEF's Goodwill Ambassador.

1994
The Worldwide Service Project is officially launched at the International Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana. Twenty-five districts activate district IDD campaign committees, with the remaining 20 districts scheduled to come "on-line" in 1995. Ian Perdriau, a member of the Kiwanis Club of Melbourne, Australia, is elected as the first International President from outside the founding nations of the United States and Canada at the International Convention in New Orleans. The Kiwanis World Service Medal is awarded to Ron Post, founder and president of Northwest Medical Teams International, a volunteer disaster relief program. International Secretary Kevin Krepinevich resigns, and A. G. Terry Shaffer is appointed as the eighth Kiwanis International Secretary. Total membership for the 1993-94 Kiwanis year again shows a small decline.

1995
The Worldwide Service Project collects more than $4.5 million by year's end. The first salt iodization programs are funded in Bolivia, Ghana, the Philippines, Ukraine, and Vietnam. Kiwanis and UNICEF declare October 21 as the first Global Iodine Deficiency Disorders Day. Eyjolfur "Eddie" Sigurdsson of Reykjavik, Iceland, is elected as the first Kiwanis International President from the European Federation at the International Convention in Las Vegas. The Kiwanis World Service Medal is awarded to Rosalynn Carter and Betty Bumpers, founders of the "Every Child By Two" immunization campaign. The slow decline in total membership continues for a third consecutive year.

1996
The Worldwide Service Project reaches $16 million in contributions and pledges by the end of the year. Kiwanis-raised funds support IDD programs in 37 nations, and UNICEF estimates that the Kiwanis campaign has already saved 1.1 million children from mental retardation. Gerald P. Christiano of Leicester, New York, is elected International President at the International Convention in Salt Lake City. Immediate Past President Eddie Sigurdsson speaks on behalf of Kiwanis to the UN General Assembly during a special meeting to celebrate UNICEF’s 50th anniversary. The Kiwanis World Service Medal is presented to Mother Teresa of Calcutta for her lifetime of service to the poorest of the world’s poor. Kiwanis International expands into cyberspace with a homepage on the World Wide Web. The year ends with another small decrease in total Kiwanis membership.

1997
The Worldwide Service Project reaches $25 million in contributions and pledges by year-end. UNICEF estimates that Kiwanis-funded IDD programs in 40 nations are now saving more than 3 million children from mental retardation each year. At the International Convention in Nashville, Walter G. Sellers of Wilberforce, Ohio, is elected as the first African-American to serve as Kiwanis International President The Kiwanis World Service Medal was presented to Lewis G. Zirkle Jr., MD, an orthopedic surgeon who has devoted much of his time to volunteer treatment and teaching his fellow surgeons in South America and Southeast Asia. Total Kiwanis membership continues to decline due to losses in North America, but Europe, Latin America, and the Asia-Pacific region continue to grow.

1998
The membership of KEY Club International surpasses 200,000 for the first time. The Worldwide Service Project reaches $33 million in donations and pledges. Kiwanis-funded IDD programs are underway in 65 nations, and UNICEF estimates that these programs are now helping to save at least 8 million children from mental retardation each year. Glen M. Bagnell of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, is elected International President at the convention in Montreal. He is the eighth Canadian to serve in Kiwanis’ highest office. The Kiwanis World Service Medal is awarded to Louise Brissette, a French-Canadian woman who has legally adopted 25 mentally and physically handicapped children.

1999
The organization celebrates the 75th anniversary of the adoption of the Objects of Kiwanis International. Nettles Brown of Natchitoches, Louisiana, is elected International President at the International Convention in Denver, where the original "constitutional convention" of 1924 was also held. Plastic surgeon William P. Magee, MD, and his wife, Kathy, receive the 1999 Kiwanis World Service Medal as founders of Operation Smile, which has performed reconstructive surgery on the faces of more than 40,000 children around the world. The Worldwide Service Project reaches $46 million in cash donations and pledges, and IDD projects are funded in 76 nations.