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|Lions Clubs International|
Lions Clubs International Logo
|Type||Secular service club|
|Headquarters||Oak Brook, IL|
Lions Clubs International (LCI) is a secular service organization with over 44,500 clubs and more than 1.3 million members in 206 countries around the world. Headquartered in Oak Brook, Illinois, United States, the organization aims to meet the needs of communities on a local and global scale.
Lions Clubs International was founded in the United States in 1917 by Melvin Jones, a Chicago businessman. Jones asked, with regard to his colleagues, "What if these men who are successful because of their drive, intelligence and ambition, were to put their talents to work improving their communities?" Jones' personal code, "You can't get very far until you start doing something for somebody else," reminds many Lions of the importance of community service.
The Lions motto is “We Serve.” Focal Lions Club programs include sight conservation, hearing and speech conservation, diabetes awareness, youth outreach, international relations, environmental issues, and other programs.
The stated purposes of Lions Clubs International are:
Much of the focus of Lions Clubs International work as a service club organization is to raise money for worthy causes. All funds raised by Lions Clubs from the general public are used for charitable purposes, and administrative costs are kept strictly separate and paid for by members. Some of the money raised for a club’s charity account goes toward projects that benefit the local community of an individual club.
Lions Clubs plan and participate in a wide variety of service projects that meet the international goals of Lions Clubs International as well as the needs of their local communities. Examples include donations to hospices, or community campaigns such as Message in a bottle, a United Kingdom initiative which places a plastic bottle with critical medical information inside the refrigerators of vulnerable people. Money is also raised for international purposes. Some of this is donated in reaction to events such as the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. Other money is used to support international campaigns, coordinated by the Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF), such as Sight First and Lions World Sight Day, which was launched in 1998 to draw world media attention to the plight of sight loss in the third world.
Lions focus on work for the blind and visually impaired began when Helen Keller addressed the International Convention at Cedar Point, Ohio on 30 June 1925 and charged Lions to be Knights of the Blind.
Lions also have a strong commitment to community hearing- and cancer-screening projects. In Perth, Western Australia, they have conducted hearing screening for over 30 years and provided seed funding for the Lions Ear and Hearing Institute established September 9, 2001, a center of excellence in the diagnosis, management, and research of ear and hearing disorders. In Perth, Lions have also been instrumental in the establishment of the Lions Eye Institute. In Brisbane, Queensland, the Lions Medical Research Foundation provides funding to a number of researchers. Prof. Ian Frazer'sinitial work, leading to the development of a HPV vaccine for the human papillomavirus which could lead to cervical cancer, was funded by the Lions Medical Research Foundation.
Lions Clubs International has supported the work of the United Nations since that organization's inception in 1945, when it was one of the non-governmental organizations invited to assist in the drafting of the United Nations Charter in San Francisco, California.
Lions Clubs International Foundation is “Lions helping Lions serve the world.” Donations provide funding in the form of grants to financially assist Lions districts with large-scale humanitarian projects that are too expansive and costly for Lions to finance on their own. The Foundation aids Lions in making a greater impact in their local communities, as well as around the world. Through LCIF, Lions ease pain and suffering and bring healing and hope to people worldwide. Major initiatives of the foundation include the following:
Membership is by invitation, though individuals are rarely turned away, and attendance at meetings is expected on a monthly or fortnightly basis. Due to the hierarchical nature of Lions Clubs International, members have the opportunity to advance from a local club to an office at the zone, district, multiple district and international levels.
In 1986 the constitution of Lions Clubs International was amended to allow for women to become members. Since then many clubs have admitted women, but some all-male clubs still exist. In 2003, 8 out of 17 members at the Lions Club in Worcester, England resigned when a woman joined the club.
The organization became international on 12 March 1920, when the first club in Canada was established in Windsor, Ontario. Lions Clubs have since spread across the globe. Listed below are the dates of entry for some countries and regions.
In addition to adult Lions Clubs, the Lions family includes Lioness Clubs, Leo Clubs and Campus Lions Clubs. These divisions are important parts of Lions Clubs International. They allow service-minded individuals the opportunity to build better communities at the high school and college or university level.
Lioness Club Membership is generally for service-minded women, with exceptions of men also becoming Lioness members nowadays. They are formed under a parent Lions Club. The Lions Club thus becomes the Parent Club for the Lioness Club. Naming of the Club is also like that of the Lions Club. E.g. Lions Club of Vadodara (Race Course Circle) Dist 323F-1 forming & sponsoring a Lioness Club of Vadodara (Race Course Circle) Dist 323F-1.
Leo Clubs are an extension of the Lions service organization which aims to encourage community service and involvement from a young age. Leo Clubs much like Lioness Clubs are sponsored by a parent Lions Club. Leo Clubs are a common school-based organization with members between the ages of 12-18 from the same school, these are commonly referred to as Alpha Leo Clubs. Community based clubs also exist, these generally cater for 18-30 year olds and are referred to as Omega Leo Clubs. Leo Clubs are required to have a Leo Club Advisor, a member of the sponsoring Lions Club who attends meetings and provides general advice to the club. Lions International includes more than 144,000 Leo club members in 139 countries.
Many Leos join a Campus Lions Club if they attend a university or college after high school graduation. There are more than 125 Campus Lions clubs in the world including nearly 2,500 members on college and university campuses in Australia, Brazil, China, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, England, Ethiopia, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Mongolia, Nepal, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan,Panama, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Uganda, United States, Venezuela, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Ghana-Lions KNUST. Campus Lions Clubs empower their members to create meaningful change in their communities while developing leadership and professional skills.
An international convention is held annually in cities across the globe for members to meet other Lions, elect the coming year's officers, and partake in the many activities planned. At the convention, Lions can participate in elections and parades, display and discuss fundraisers and service projects, and trade pins and other souvenirs. The first convention was held in 1917, the first year of the club’s existence, in Dallas, Texas. The 2006 convention was due to be held in New Orleans, but damage sustained during Hurricane Katrina meant that the convention had to be relocated to Boston.
Past convention locations include the following: