Lions Clubs International (LCI) is an international non-political service organization established originally in 1917 in Chicago, Illinois, by Melvin Jones. It is now headquartered in Oak Brook, Illinois. As of April 2015, it had over 46,000 local clubs and more than 1.7 million members (Lions & LEO) in 190 countries around the world.
|Lions Clubs International|
|Formation||October 10, 1917|
|Headquarters||Oak Brook, Illinois, U.S.|
Lions Clubs International, a service membership organization of over 1.7 million members worldwide (as of June 2018), was founded in Evansville, Indiana on 24 October 1916 by Dr. William Perry Woods and subsequently evolved as an international service organization under the guidance and supervision of its Secretary, Melvin Jones.
In 1917, Melvin Jones, was a 38-year-old Chicago business leader who told members of his local business club they should reach beyond business issues and address the betterment of their communities and the world. 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, US. The Business Circle subsequently joined one of the invited groups, the "International Association of Lions Clubs" and at a national convention held in Dallas, Texas, later that year, those who were assembled: (1) adopted a Constitution, By-Laws, Code of Ethics and an Emblem; (2) established as a main tenet "unselfish service to others", (3) unanimously elected Dr. William Perry Woods as its first President effectively securing his leadership for the first two years of the existence of the International Association of Lions, and (4) selected Melvin Jones to serve as the Organization's Secretary-Treasurer.
The Lions motto is "We Serve". Local Lions Club programs include sight conservation, hearing and speech conservation, diabetes awareness, youth outreach, international relations, environmental issues, and many other programs. The discussion of politics and religion is forbidden. The LIONS acronym also stands for Liberty, Intelligence, Our Nations' Safety.
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 and Ireland 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 and the 2013 Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) where Lions and LCIF provided disaster relief locally and from around the world, with donations and commitments surpassing US$1 million. 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 take on all sorts of various fundraisers to fund these projects. For example, the Dublin, Virginia Lions Club host two flea markets a year, and sell their famous Lion Dog, a fresh prepared variation of a corn dog.
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. Ian Frazer's initial 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 expensive 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:
Upon endorsing the biggest ever collaborative disease eradication programme called the London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases launched on 30 January 2012 in London, the organization has implemented SightFirst program by which it aims to eradicate blindness due to trachoma, one of the neglected tropical diseases. It has allocated over US$11 million in 10 countries for eye surgeries, medical training, distribution of Zithromax and tetracycline, and sanitary services. It has also announced US$6.9 million funding to support the Government of China for the same cause.
Membership in the Lions Club is by "invitation only" as mandated by its constitution and by-laws. All member applicants need a sponsor who is an active member and of good standing in the club they intend to join. While sponsorship may be obtained by an applicant in order to become a legitimate member, sponsorship is no guarantee of membership. Acceptance of membership is still subject to the approval of the majority of the club's board of directors. Several clubs are even difficult for applicants to join in. A Lions Club chooses its members diligently as it requires time and financial commitments. Prospective applicants must be a person of good moral character in his or her community. Attendance at meetings is encouraged 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 1987 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. Despite this setback the club has managed to rebuild and now has 19 members, 7 of whom are women. Women's membership numbers continue to grow throughout the association.
Among the famous and noteworthy members of Lions International are former U.S. President, Jimmy Carter; Her Royal Highness Sophie, Countess of Wessex, a member of the Wokingham Lions Club and Royal Patron of the Lions Clubs of the British Isles and Ireland; Murray M. Silver, Jr, an American rock music writer, photographer and author, who belongs to Savannah Lions Club in Georgia; Amelia Earhart, pioneer U. S. aviator, author, and advocate for women's rights; Richard E. Byrd, deputy admiral of the United States Navy, aviator, pioneer and polar explorer; and Helen Keller, American writer, lecturer and social activist.
Lions Clubs International gives various awards for outstanding merits.
The Medal of Merit (MM) is the highest award from Lions Clubs International to non-members for outstanding contributions to Lions Clubs International and its goals.
The District Governor Award (DGA) is one of the highest awards from Lions Clubs International to its members having done exceptional services.
The President's Appreciation Award (PAA) is the highest award that can be awarded to an outstanding club.
The Melvin Jones Fellowship (MJF) Award is the highest recognition from the Lions Clubs International Foundation being given to members who have rendered outstanding community services.
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 and have a current membership roster of 1.4 million members worldwide.
In addition to adult Lions Clubs, the Lions family includes Lioness Clubs, Leo Clubs, Campus Lions Clubs and Lion Cubs. These divisions are parts of Lions Clubs International.
Lioness Club Membership is generally for 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 Satara United Dist 323D-1 forming and sponsoring a Lioness Club Satara United District 323D-1. In many areas, particularly the United States, Lioness clubs have disbanded and merged into their parent clubs to make a more effective club as a whole.
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 and 18 from the same school, these are commonly referred to as Alpha Leo Clubs. Community based clubs also exist, these generally cater for 18- to 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 250,000 Leo club members in over 150 countries.
Many Leos join a Campus Lions Club if they attend a university or college after high school graduation. There are more than 600 Campus Lions clubs in the world including nearly 13,000 members on college and university campuses in Australia, Brazil, Canada, 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, Legon Lions Club in University of Ghana, KNUST Campus Lions and the University of KwaZulu-Natal Campus Lions Club which is the only active Campus Lions Club currently operating in the Republic of South Africa.
Lion Cubs is a youth service organization for the elementary aged students (ages eight to twelve). The first club was chartered in the Owen J. Roberts School District in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, United States. It was developed for students in 4th through 6th grade, and therefore too young to be a Leo Club member. The clubs (one club in each of five elementary schools) started their meetings and activities in September 2008 and were officially chartered March 24, 2009. The club is sponsored by the Coventry Lions Club of District 14P. The Lion Cubs first year (2008–09) had 179 charter members.
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.
Indonesian Islamic hardliners have called for a ban on the Lions Club, saying it is part of a Zionist conspiracy. The club has been called an "infidel" front for Freemasonry and the world Zionist movement and threatened Islam in the world's most populous Muslim country.
Given that many Freemasons are members of Lions Clubs, and its founder, Melvin Jones, was also a Freemason, modern conspiracy theories have claimed that the Lions are connected to and act cohesively with Freemasonry. One example is found on Martha F. Lee's Conspiracy Rising: Conspiracy Thinking and American Public Life. It says that the "Freemasons are apparently in cahoots with the Lions Clubs and involved in plots ranging from the distribution of aspartame to control the human mind, to the death of John Paul I, to an apparent plot to spread Zionism."
This perception, according to a Freemasonry website, can be traced to John Robison and the Abbé Barruel's unfounded writings on the causes of the French Revolution, Léo Taxil's late 19th-century hoax and the debunked Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
While there is no direct link between the Lions and the Masons, they are compatible and may have overlapping membership, as evidenced by a speech delivered in 2004 to a Lions Club by a Mason named James F. Kirk-White. The topic of the talk was "Sharing Freemasonry Within Your Community". Their compatibility, moreover, is evidenced by the Masons in Albion, New York offering space for the Lions at a Masonic Lodge. Others also believe that the Lions Clubs actually are a "secret society" that has a great deal of secret ritual within its structure. According to them the Lions are one of those social groups belonging to a secret society that demand an oath of allegiance to join.
Controversial German Author, Jan Udo Holey, often known by his penname Jan van Helsing, wrote in his 1995 book Geheimgesellschaften und ihre Macht im 20. Jahrhundert (Secret Societies and Their Power in the 20th Century) that the Lions was founded by the B'nai B'rith in Chicago in 1917 and that, like the Freemasons and other secret societies, 90% of its members are used by the elites and have no inkling of what happens in the upper echelons. Holey explained that in the lower degrees of the hierarchy these organizations are much into social work and present really good programs.
Belmont Mound State Park is a state park of Wisconsin, United States, containing Belmont Mound, a 400-foot (120 m) hill topped by a 64-foot (20 m) observation tower. The park is managed by the Belmont Lions Club rather than the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Belmont Mound is an outlier of the Niagara Escarpment, one of several in this part of the unglaciated Driftless Area. "Belmont" is an anglicisation of the French name Belle Monte, meaning "beautiful mountain." A portion of the park received further protection in 1981 when Belmont Mound Woods State Natural Area was added to the Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program. The park is for day-use only; there are picnic facilities but no campground. The observation tower was recently closed by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The First Capitol Historic Site, where the first session of the Wisconsin Territory Legislature met beginning on October 25, 1836, is located just west of the park entrance.Bojan Šober
Bojan Šober (born 1957 in Rijeka, Croatia) is a bass-baritone opera singer and manager. He has also served as a director of the Lions Clubs International.CFCH-FM
CFCH-FM was a Canadian community radio station, broadcasting at 103.5 FM in Chase, British Columbia. It was last owned by the Chase and District Community Radio Society.Camel Cup
The Camel Cup is an annual camel racing festival held in Australia. The race usually takes place at Blatherskite Park in the town Alice Springs, Northern Territory. The event is organised by the Apex Club of Central Australia.Farnham Beer Exhibition
Farnham Beer Exhibition, usually but informally known as Farnham Beerex (or just Beerex), is the longest established beer festival in the United Kingdom to be held annually on the same premises. Held in Farnham, Surrey, the first Beerex took place in 1977, and serves as a charity fundraiser for the Lions Club of Farnham.Faroe Islands Super Cup
The Faroe Islands Super Cup (in Faroese: Stórsteypadystur) is a football competition contested between the Faroe Islands Premier League champions and the winners of the Faroe Islands Cup from the previous season.Faroese Women's Super Cup
The Faroese Women's Super Cup is a football competition contested between the 1. deild kvinnur champions and the winners of the Faroese Women's Cup from the previous season.Kidston Island
Kidston Island is an uninhabited island in the Bras d'Or Lakes in Baddeck, Nova Scotia. The island is owned by the Village of Baddeck which leases it to the local Lions Club, which operates the beach on the island and the ferry to the island.Leo clubs
Leo Clubs are a youth organization of Lions Clubs International. The word "LEO" stands for Leadership, Experience, Opportunity.
LEO clubs encourage youths to develop leadership qualities by participating in social service activities. They are dependent on a Lions club to sponsor and initiate a Leo club. Leo Club members are addressed as "Leos." They conduct various projects in the fields of health care, elders, children, disabled people, literacy and education, and self-development. LEOs can raise funds by conducting fund-raising projects. They can conduct projects with another Leo club, sponsoring Lions club, or with an outside organization. Leo clubs are sponsored by Lions clubs and comprise an official program of Lions Clubs International.Lion's Head (Kennon Road)
The Lions Head is a statue along Kennon Road, a major highway in Luzon, Philippines that leads to the city of Baguio. Located in Camp 6, the Lion's Head measures 40 ft (12 m) in height. It was conceptualized by the Lions Club members of Baguio, during the term of Luis Lardizabal as mayor of Baguio from 1969 to 1970 and as the club's president, to become the club's symbol or imprint in the area. Prior to the artistic sculpting, the limestone was prepared by a group of engineers and miners, then the "actual artistic carving of the façade" was rendered by Anselmo Bayang Day-ag, an Ifugao and Isinay artist and woodcarver from the Cordillera Administrative Region. The construction project began in 1968 but was interrupted. The project was continued in 1971 by another Lions Club president, Robert Webber, and was unveiled in 1972.Lions Drag Strip
Lions Drag Strip was a US raceway in the Wilmington district of Los Angeles, California adjacent to Long Beach that existed from 1955 to 1972. The track was named after its sponsors Lions Clubs International and featured many races that were sanctioned by the American Hot Rod Association (AHRA).
As the area surrounding the track increased in population, complaints regarding noise were made to government officials. Subsequently, efforts were made to deny the operators of track continued use of the facility. The track was opened with a 30 notice clause that could be enforced at any time and on November 2, 1972 that notice was given. After the last races took place on December 2, 1972, the track was torn down through the efforts of the Los Angeles Harbor Department to make space for overseas shipping cargo containers which exists to this day at 223rd Street & Alameda Street in Wilmington, CA.
The abandoned track location remained for over 10 years until it was developed into the mega container facility by the L.A. Harbor Commission. The 1971/72 noise issue was/is seen as a political ruse to close the track by many local fans, though this cannot be substantiated. This same scenario has been repeated across the country as residential areas develop around older racing facilitiesLions Eye Bank
Lions Eye Bank is the name of the various eye banks operated by the Lions Save Sight Foundation (LSSF), a not-for-profit foundation within the Lions Clubs International service organisation. The Banks store and prepare donated corneas for transplantation. Corneas may be stored for up to seven days before being given to the ophthalmic surgeon for transplantation.
There are over 60 Lions Eye Banks around the world, supported as ongoing projects by Lions service clubs.Lions Eye Institute
The Lions Eye Institute (LEI) is an Australian medical research institute affiliated with the University of Western Australia. It was established in 1983 with support of the Lions Club of Australia and headquartered in the Perth suburb of Nedlands, Western Australia. The LEI is a not-for-profit centre of excellence that combines an ophthalmic clinic with scientific discovery developing techniques for the prevention of blindness and the reduction of pain from blinding eye conditions.Melvin Jones (Lions Club)
Melvin Jones (January 13, 1879 – June 1, 1961) was Secretary-treasurer of Lions Clubs International.
He was born in Fort Thomas, Arizona (at that time the Arizona Territory). His father was a captain in the United States Army. In 1886 or '87, the family moved east when his father was transferred. Melvin Jones settled in Chicago, where he studied at the Union Business and Chaddock colleges of Quincy, Illinois. At age 33 he was the sole owner of his own insurance agency in Chicago and became a member of the local business circle, and was elected secretary shortly thereafter. Melvin Jones was also a Freemason.
After two years, prompted by his personal code – "You can't get very far until you start doing something for somebody else" – Jones proposed that the talents of the circle's members could be better utilized in other areas of community life, He invited representative from other men's clubs in and around Chicago to a meeting to devise a suitable organization and from that meeting, Jones subsequently integrated his club into an existing initiative that further led to his selection as Secretary of the "International Association of Lions Clubs" later to be named "Lions Clubs International". Jones eventually gave up his insurance agency to work full-time at Lions International Headquarters which he later relocated from Evansville, Indiana to Chicago.
In 1945, Jones represented Lions Clubs International as a consultant at the United Nations Conference on International Organization in San Francisco. In 1950, Jones had a child named Theresa Fassbender.Norma Paulus
Norma Jean Paulus (née Petersen; March 13, 1933 – February 28, 2019) was an American lawyer and politician in the state of Oregon. A native of Nebraska, she was raised in Eastern Oregon before becoming a lawyer. A Republican, she first held political office as a representative in the Oregon House of Representatives, and then became the first woman elected to statewide public office in Oregon when she became Oregon Secretary of State in 1977. Paulus later served as Oregon Superintendent of Public Instruction for nine years. She made unsuccessful bids to become Governor of Oregon and United States Senator. Prior to her death on February 28, 2019, Paulus lived in Portland, where she was involved with several non-profit groups and sponsored a ballot measure to create open primaries in Oregon's statewide elections.Oak Brook, Illinois
Oak Brook is a village in DuPage County with a small portion in Cook County in Illinois. The population was 7,883 at the 2010 census. A suburb of Chicago, Oak Brook serves as home to the headquarters of several notable companies and organizations including McDonald's (now moved to Chicago), Ace Hardware, Blistex, Ferrara Candy (also moved to Chicago), Federal Signal, CenterPoint Properties, Sanford L.P., TreeHouse Foods, and Lions Clubs International.Port Lions, Alaska
Port Lions (Masiqsirraq in Alutiiq) is a city located on Kodiak Island in the Kodiak Island Borough of the U.S. state of Alaska. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 194, down from 256 in 2000.
Port Lions was built to house the inhabitants of Ag'waneq from the neighboring island of Afognak and Port Wakefield from Raspberry Island, after their villages were destroyed by the Good Friday earthquake in 1964. Port Lions was built with help from the United States government and the Lions Club. It was named in honor of the club.Toronto Lions
The Toronto Lions were a junior ice hockey team in the Ontario Hockey Association from 1931 to 1939. They played at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto and were coached by Eddie Livingstone. The team was previously known as the Victorias, and changed their name in 1931 when they became affiliated with the Lions Club.
Lions centre Jimmy Good won the OHA scoring title in 1934-35, playing with future Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Gordie Drillon on his wing. Three alumni of the Toronto Lions graduated to play in the National Hockey League: Drillon, Charlie Phillips, and Lefty Wilson.World Championship Snowmobile Derby
The World Championship Snowmobile Derby is the World championship snowmobile race. It is held at the World Championship Derby Complex ,formerly known as the Eagle River Derby Track, along U.S. Route 45 in Eagle River, Wisconsin on the third weekend in January. Eagle River is known as the "Snowmobile Capital of the World" because it hosts the Derby. Eagle River is located in the same county as Sayner, Wisconsin, the place that Carl Eliason invented one of the first modern snowmobiles.