The History of
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' group, the Business Circle of Chicago, agreed. After
contacting similar groups around the United States, an
organizational meeting was held on June 7, 1917 in Chicago,
Illinois, USA. The new group took the name of one of the
invited groups, the "Association of Lions Clubs," and a national
convention was held in Dallas, Texas, USA in October of that year.
A constitution, by-laws, objects and code of ethics were approved.
the objects adopted in those early years was one that read, "No club
shall hold out the financial betterment of its members as its
object." This call for unselfish service to others remains one of
the association's main tenets.
three years after its formation, the association 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
1925, Helen Keller addressed the Lions international convention in
Cedar Point, Ohio, USA. She challenged Lions to become "knights of
the blind in the crusade against darkness." From this time, Lions
clubs have been actively involved in service to the blind and
Broadening its international role, Lions Clubs International helped
the United Nations form the Non-Governmental Organizations sections
in 1945 and continues to hold consultative status with the U.N.
1990, Lions launched its most aggressive sight preservation effort,
Sight First. The US$143.5 million program strives to rid the world of
preventable and reversible blindness by supporting desperately
needed health care services.
addition to sight programs, Lions Clubs International is committed
to providing services for youth. Lions clubs also work to improve
the environment, build homes for the disabled, support diabetes
education, conduct hearing programs and, through their foundation,
provide disaster relief around the world.
Clubs International has grown to include 1.4 million men and women
in 44,600 clubs located in 190 countries and geographic areas.
Mission of Lions International and all Lions
create and foster a spirit of understanding among all people for
humanitarian needs by providing voluntary services through community
involvement and international cooperation.