The Objects of Kiwanis

The six permanent Objects of Kiwanis International were approved by Kiwanis club delegates at the 1924 Convention in Denver, Colorado. Through the succeeding decades, they have remained unchanged.

  • Object 1 - To give primacy to the human and spiritual rather than to the material values of life. 
  • Object 2 - To encourage the daily living of the Golden Rule in all human relationships. 
  • Object 3 - To promote the adoption and the application of higher social, business, and professional standards. 
  • Object 4 - To develop, by precept and example, a more intelligent, aggressive, and serviceable citizenship. 
  • Object 5 - To provide, through Kiwanis clubs, a practical means to form enduring friendships, to render altruistic service, and to build better communities. 
  • Object 6 - To cooperate in creating and maintaining that sound public opinion and high idealism which make possible the increase of righteousness, justice, patriotism, and goodwill.


Founding Members : 
Allen S. Browne, a lawyer by education but a professional organizer for the Loyal Order of Moose.
Joseph G. Prance, a 33 year old merchant tailor.
When & Where : 
January 21,1915
Detroit, Michigan
Browne wanted to create a trade organization with health insurance benefits for members so he approached Prance in August 1914, who became the first member of Supreme Lodge Benevolent Order Brothers (BOB in short, the first name of Kiwanis) which was then issued a private charter.
With the help of an official historian, the name "Nun-Kee-wan-is" was later adopted which meant "we make noise". With 200 members in the organization, during a meeting in January, 1915, "Kiwanis" was approved as the final name. The corporate charter was returned by the state of Michigan, dated January 21, 1915, which became the recognized birthday of Kiwanis ever since.
The First President: 
Donald A. Johnson 

The First Motto :
"We Trade". 
The Motive of the organization was the reciprocal buying of goods and services, and was exemplified by their motto.
The First Major Service Project : 
The adoption of a young ward who was completely supported by the group. They even changed his name to Henry Kiwanis. Thus, the motives of fellowship, service and youth activities were established within the first year. 

Club members did not like the financial arrangement Kiwanis had with Browne. Community service without thought of personal gain was a sounder motivation. In July 1915, Secretary Ottie Robertson and Allen Browne left to organize another club in Cleveland, Ohio. The club boasted a membership of 135 in ten weeks and the new club also stressed on youth when it started a nursery school for underprivileged children.
The first Kiwanis convention in May, 1916 in Cleveland, had over thirty clubs in attendance. The delegates elected officers and adopted a constitution. 
The club became international when Hamilton, Ontario was founded on November 1, 1916. The event was important enough that the Hamilton Spectator devoted fourteen pages to the new club and the achievements of Kiwanis.
Kiwanis Publications

The first edition of the Kiwanis Hornet was published in February, 1917. Later it became the Kiwanis Torch, and finally the Kiwanis magazine as of today.

Service Focused Mission: 
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 during the May session of the 1919 Convention of Birmingham, Alabama, the delegates voted to buy Browne out and a free and independent organization was established. Unfortunately, that was the last day of the founding member, Browne's membership in Kiwanis.
New Motto:
"We Build", adopted in 1920.
Kiwanis magazine editor, Roe Fulkerson had an inspiration. As he wrote, "I have written for you probably 100,000 words, every one of which has been forgotten save two. God inspired me to write those two: 'We Build.' I am prouder of them than any other accomplishment of my life."
Six Objects of Kiwanis:
At the 1924 Denver Convention, the delegates adopted the name Kiwanis International and the six Objects of Kiwanis were drafted, that remain unchanged to this day.
The First Key Club and CKI :
In 1925, Kiwanis established first Key Club in Sacramento High School, California for service at the high school level and Circle K for college and university students at Washington State College in 1936.
National Kids Day:

Kiwanis created National Kids Day in 1949 which would later become Kiwanis Kids Day.

Global Expansion: 
In April, 1962, the first club in Tejunna, Mexico was chartered after which global expansion of Kiwanis International was unstoppable.
Australia became the twenty-second country in the world to embrace Kiwanis and on 2nd October 1967, the Kiwanis Club of Melbourne was formed.
Kiwanis ASPAC consists of Districts Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand-South Pacific, Philippine Luzon, Philippine South, Taiwan and non-districted nations Hong Kong, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, Singapore and Sri Lanka that work to grow Kiwanis in Asia Pacific. 

On June 9th,1968, Kiwanis International-Europe was formed at the Zurich meeting, and they adopted a constitution, elected officials, and Jean Ladriere became the first KI-E President.

The First Aktion Club :

The first Aktion Club was formed in June, 1987 in Palatka, Florida.

KI and Women: 

Until 1987 the organization accepted only men as members. By action of the International Convention in 1987, the rules were changed to admit women as well. Women constitute about 26% of total members. 

At the 2013 International Convention, Sue Petrisin was elected as the organization's first female international vice president. She will be installed as FIRST WOMAN INTERNATIONAL PRESIDENT in 2015, the year of the organization's 100th anniversary.

Kiwanis Website: 
Kiwanis International launched its first website in 1994 at, which continues to date.

Since 1994, Kiwanis International’s partnership with UNICEF has raised more than US $80 million in the global fight to eliminate Iodine Deficiency Disorders (IDD), the leading preventable cause of mental retardation. 
Beginning in 2010 Kiwanis International again joined hands 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.

Motto Today : 

A new motto was adopted in 2005: "Serving the Children of the World." 


In 2008, Kiwanis International joined in a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Boys and Girls Club of America to foster, nurture and establish a legacy of serving children, a cornerstone mission for both organizations. It urges its members to volunteer at a nearby Boys & Girls Club.

In 2015, Kiwanis International and Junior Chamber International (JCI) has entered into a new partnership that will provide service to more than 80 nations and extend their reach to communities around the world, with the purpose of uniting civil society and engaging global active citizens to create sustainable impact. Read here...

KIWANIS TIMELINE: (click here)