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Toastmasters International

Toastmasters clubs are dedicated to promulgating the art and practice of public speaking and leadership. Dr. Ralph C. Smedley founded the organization in California in 1924; today there are more than 10,000 Toastmasters clubs with over 200,000 members world-wide, the U.S. presence being by far the greatest. Most American cities have Toastmasters; large cities may …

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Rotary International

The first Rotary Club was formed by Chicago businessman Paul Harris in 1905, initially as a way for businessmen to get together and benefit from the network. The organization soon became a service club, dedicated to doing good works around the world; it is the world’s oldest and largest such club, reconfigured in 1922 as …

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Optimist Clubs

Founded in 1919, the Optimist Clubs, active in many American communities, are dedicated to, according to their motto, “Bringing Out The Best In Kids.” Each individual Optimist Club conducts its own activities to help children in its community. Optimist International, supported by the Optimist International Foundation, promulgates several international programs: the Childhood Cancer Campaign (CCC), …

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National Exchange Club

The National Exchange Club, with more than 800 individual clubs and 28,000 members in the United States and Puerto Rico, is an organization dedicated to public service. Charles A. Berkey founded the first club in Detroit, Michigan in 1911, calling it the “Exchange Club” because it was designed to serve as a forum in which …

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Lions Clubs International

Founded by Chicago businessman Melvin Jones in 1917 as a union of independent American business clubs, Lions Clubs now operate throughout the world and in thousands of individual American communities under the simple motto “We Serve.” Local Lions Club chapters engage in a wide variety of activities in their communities; the organization in a larger …

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Kiwanis International

The Kiwanis organization was founded in 1915 in Detroit. The 600,000 members of local Kiwanis clubs around the world support efforts to aid children in various ways. The organizations mission statement is “Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world one child and one community at a time.” The six permanent …

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American Organizations and Charities

The individual pages in this American Organizations and Charities section of Life In The USA describe national organizations. We welcome suggestions for new sections, provided that the organizations are national and are either not-for-profit or community-oriented in nature. Contact us through the Life In The USA Home Page. Public Service Organizations:—Toastmasters Clubs—Rotary Clubs—Kiwanis Clubs—Lions Clubs—Optimist Clubs—National Exchange ClubYouth Organizations:—Girl Scouts …

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Girl Scouts of The USA

Founded in 1912 by in Savannah, Georgia by Juliette Gordon Low, the American Girl Scout movement today counts more than three million young people and adult members. Girl Scouts of the USA, chartered by the United States Congress in 1950, operates as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization out of headquarters in New York City. The 400 …

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The National FFA Organization

The National FFA Organization was organized as the “Future Farmers of America” in 1928 and was granted a federal charter in 1950, “making it an integral, intracurricular part of public agricultural instruction under the National Vocational Education Acts.” Two of three top executives in the organization are United States Department of Education employees. Initially dedicated …

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Boys & Girls Clubs of America

Celebrating its centennial in 2006, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America has as its mission “to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.” Employing 47,000 trained staff members, the clubs serve more than 4.6 million boys and girls at more than …

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