KIDS AT HEART
Kiwanis International is a global community of clubs, members and partners dedicated to improving the lives of children one community at a time. Today, we stand with more than 550,000 members from K-Kids to Key Club to Kiwanis and many ages in between in 80 countries and geographic areas. Each community has different needs, and Kiwanis empowers members to pursue creative ways to serve the needs of children, such as fighting hunger, improving literacy and offering guidance.
Kiwanis clubs host nearly 150,000 service projects each year.
THE KIWANIS MISSION
Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to improving the world one child and one community at a time.
THE KIWANIS VISION
Kiwanis will be a positive influence in communities worldwide — so that one day, all children will wake up in communities that believe in them, nurture them and provide the support they need to thrive.
Service is at the heart of every Kiwanis club, no matter where in the world it’s located. Members stage approximately 150,000 service projects and raise nearly US$100 million every year for communities, families and projects. By working together, members achieve what one person cannot accomplish alone.
Service is at the heart of every Kiwanis club. Kiwanis members stage more than 150,000 service projects, devote more than six 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 19 million hours of service every year!
Eliminating maternal and neonatal tetanus
Maternal and neonatal tetanus is deadly. And it’s painful – preventing even the comfort of a mother’s touch. There’s an additional tragedy: MNT is preventable. And yet, millions have died from this disease because of poverty and unsafe birthing practices.
Kiwanis International has been fighting maternal and neonatal tetanus since 2010. We have raised money for lifesaving vaccines, health education, safe birth environments and more — all for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable populations. Millions of women can now give birth without fear of their babies dying from this horrible disease.
Kiwanis International is proud of the role we’ve played, but we’re not done. Kiwanis remains committed to raising money and funding efforts to save and protect mothers and babies in the 12 countries where maternal and neonatal tetanus remain a threat.
Iodine Deficiency Disorders
Kiwanis International has raised and leveraged more than US$100 million toward the elimination of Iodine Deficiency Disorders (IDD), the leading preventable cause of mental and developmental disabilities in the world. UNICEF heralded the effort that began in 1994 as one of the most successful health initiatives ever. Kiwanis International continues to advocate for optimal iodine nutrition and to raise money and fund projects that offer children a chance to live healthier, happier and more productive lines.
Kiwanis International was founded in 1915 by a group of businessmen in Detroit, Michigan, United States. 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 American Indian expression, “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.
THE STRUCTURE OF KIWANIS
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.
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.
A district is made up of several divisions. There are currently 49 districts and provisional districts within Kiwanis International. Some include only one state (example: Kansas District) or country (example: Malaysia District), while others are made up of multiple states (example: Minnesota-Dakotas District) or countries (example: Switzerland-Liechtenstein District). The rest are made up of geographical regions (example: Pacific Northwest District).
Each district is led by a 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.
All 49 districts and provisional districts, as well as Kiwanis nations that don’t fit into any district, make up Kiwanis International. Currently, there are Kiwanis clubs in approximately 80 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 work with the districts, similar to how lieutenant governors work with divisions.