Little Bits of History

Serving the Children

Posted in History by patriciahysell on January 21, 2015


January 21, 1915: The state of Michigan approves an application. Allen S Browne and Joseph G Prance were discussing their future in August 1914. They decided to ask business and professional men in the area of Detroit if they would be interested in organizing a fraternal group with a health benefit feature. The two men went out and solicited locals and each new member gave Browne five dollars for his operating budget. The goal was to accumulate enough memberships to qualify for the state’s non-profit status. When the fraternal order was large enough, they applied to the state’s governance body and on this day, the Supreme Lodge Benevolent Order Brothers was formed. Since that was a bit too long, they changed their name later in the year. They became the Kiwanis Club of Detroit, the original club.

In 1916, the group went international when Kiwanis Club of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada opened and by 1927 there were more than 100,000 members. The club was limited to the US and Canada until 1962 when worldwide expansion was approved. The Kiwanis are now found around the globe. The original purpose was to exchange business between members and to serve the poor. By 1919, with competition between the two goals becoming problematic, Kiwanis adopted a service-focused mission. Each year, clubs sponsor about 150,000 projects and raise more than $107 million. They combine with other service entities to achieve even wider goals.

In 1924 at a meeting in Denver, Colorado, six permanent Objects of Kiwanis International were approved. First, to give primacy to the human and spiritual rather than material values of life. Next, to encourage all to live by the Golden Rule. Also, promote a higher social, business, and profession standard. Fourth, to develop a more intelligent, aggressive, and serviceable citizenship. Next, provide enduring friendships, render altruistic service, and build better communities. And lastly, 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 name Kiwanis may have come from the Ojibwe language or it may have come from the Algonquian with the former meaning “fool around” or “I make noise” or “I play with noise” and the latter meaning “we build” which was the original motto of Kiwanis. They changed their motto in 2005 to “Serving the Children of the World”. Today, their headquarters are located in Indianapolis, Indiana and there are over half a million members. Their 2006 revenue was $20,723,000 with an endowment of $6 million. They have 115 employees and reported over 18 million volunteer hours to strengthen communities and serve children.

The Kiwanis does worldwide community service and our little local club decided to do our share. We started collecting food and clothing and other nonperishables and we took it upon ourselves to find a driver and rent a truck. – David Hopper

Kiwanis International is poised to make history once again. And celebrate its 100th anniversary by helping save or protect more than 61 million lives. – Kiwanis website

Destiny is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for. It is a thing to be achieved. – William Jennings Bryan

Love in action is service to the world. – Lynne Namka

Also on this day: The Evil Weed – In 1908, the Sullivan Ordinance, an early smoking ban, was passed and vetoed.
I Feel … The Need … For Speed – In 1976, the Concorde SST began service.
Miss Sam – In 1960, Little Joe 1B launched successfully and returned to Earth.
No Babies – In 1525, a baptismal ceremony was held in Switzerland.
The Power of Sympathy – In 1789, the book by this title was published.


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