Lions Clubs International
The world’s largest service club association, Lions Clubs International has 1.4 million members in more that 44,500 clubs in approximately 185 countries and geographical areas. Lions are men and women who volunteer their time to humanitarian causes. Founded in 1917, the association’s motto is “We Serve”.
Mission of Lions Clubs International
Lions Clubs International is dedicated to helping those less fortunate in their communities and around the world. Cutting across all national, racial and cultural boundaries, activities have included sight conservation and work with the visually impaired, youth programs, diabetes detection and research and work for international cooperation and understanding.
History of Lions Clubs International
The International Association of lions Clubs began as the dream of Chicago businessman Melvin Jones. He believed that local business clubs should expand their horizons from purely professional concerns to the betterment of their communities and the world at large. Jones’ own group, the Business Circle of Chicago, agreed. After contacting similar groups around the country, an organizational meeting was held on June 7, 1917, at the LaSalle Hotel in Chicago. The new group took the name of one of the groups invited, the ‘Association of Lions Clubs”, and a national convention was held in Dallas in October of that year. A constitution, by-laws, objects and code of ethics were approved.
Just three years after the formation, the organization became international when the first club in Canada was established in 1920. Major international expansion continued as clubs were established, particularly throughout Europe, Asia and Africa during the 1950s and 60s. Perhaps the single event having the greatest impact on the association’s service commitment occurred in 1925 when Helen Keller addressed the Lions at their international convention in Cedar Point, Ohio, USA. It was there that she challenged Lions to become “knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness”. They responded and Lions are now best known for their sight-related programs, including, Sight First, the world’s largest blindness prevention program.
In 1990, Lions established Sight First, a US $140 million global initiative to rid the world of preventable and reversible blindness. The unprecedented program joins leading blindness and prevention experts, blindness prevention organizations, governments and Lion’s volunteers in an effort to establish long-term solutions in eliminating preventable and reversible blindness.
Second only to the Lions’ commitment to aiding the blind and visually impaired is a strong dedication to serving young people. The Lions Youth Outreach programs challenges young people to learn, to achieve and to serve. By focusing on volunteerism, it steers young people away from harmful behaviors such as gang involvement, violence and substance abuse. The Leo Clubs Program, International youth Exchange, International Young Camps and the Lions International Peace Poster Contest are all youth activities sponsored by Lions Clubs International that promote International cooperation and understanding.
Lions Clubs International Foundation
Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) is the charitable arm of Lions Clubs International (LCI). The foundation mission is to support the efforts of Lions clubs around the world in serving their local and global communities by funding humanitarian service projects.
Lions Clubs International,
300 22ND Street
Oak Brook, Illinois 60523-8842
Eberhard J. Wirfs
Kelkheim am Taunus, Hessen, Germany