About Kiwanis International
It all began in Detroit, Michigan, on January 21, 1915 as “The Benevolent Order of Brothers” with the purpose of a mutual exchange of preferred treatment in professional and business dealings. Within a year the name was changed to “Kiwanis” which was borrowed from an Indian term “Nun Keewanis,” which roughly means ‘Self Expression”. Shortly after its founding it became apparent that the original purpose lacked the power to attract and hold members. Thus, the purpose of Kiwanis became one of “community service.”
The change in purpose was beneficial to the growth of Kiwanis. Kiwanis became “international” with expansion into Canada. The establishment of a Hamilton, Ontario, club took place in 1916. In 1962 Kiwanis moved into Mexico. This international expansion has continued until the benefits of Kiwanis are realized In 75 countries.
Kiwanis International sets the policy and tone for all clubs to follow. The International Board of Trustees which is elected by delegates from the individual clubs. The Board appoints an International Secretary who is the managing director of the General Office in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The heart of Kiwanis is the individual clubs. Each club is made up of men and women from a wide variety of occupations representing the active forces in the community members that allows Kiwanis to realize its motto ‘We Build.” As a Kiwanis Club, these men and women “Build what individuals cannot “Build.”