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 Objects of Kiwanis are:
- To give primacy to the human and spiritual rather than to the material values of life.
- To encourage the daily living of the Golden Rule in all human relationships.
- To promote the adoption and the application of higher social, business, and professional standards.
- To develop, by precept and example, a more intelligent, aggressive, and serviceable citizenship.
- To provide, through Kiwanis clubs, a practical means to form enduring friendships, to render altruistic service, and to build better communities.
- To cooperate in creating and maintaining that sound public opinion and high idealism which make possible the increase of righteousness, justice, patriotism, and goodwill.
Community Kiwanis clubs usually meet weekly; the typical member commits to help with service projects with the club on a monthly basis. Child and family projects are paramount: child nutrition, health, safety, and education. Kiwanis maintains an extensive network of affiliate clubs for young people: K-Kids Clubs for elementary school children; Builders Clubs for middle schoolers, Key Clubs for high schools, and Circle K Clubs for college students.
On an international basis, Kiwanis has stated its goal to eliminate Iodine Deficiency Disorder (IDD), a major cause of mental retardation in impoverished communities around the world. Kiwanis headquarters are presently in Indianapolis, Indiana.