Lions Clubs International.

In 1917, 12 years after Rotary began, another Chicago business leader told members of his local business club they should reach beyond business and address the betterment of their communities and the world. His group, the Business Circle of Chicago, agreed.

After contacting similar groups around the U.S., they met in 1917 in Chicago. 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 later that year.

Within three years, Lions became an international organization. Since then, they have earned high marks for both integrity and transparency. They are a well-run organization with a steady vision, a clear mission, and a long – and proud – history. One that I am about to become a part of.

In 1925, Helen Keller spoke to the Lions convention on the “Crusade Against Darkness.” The Lions bought into it and began their historic cause, eradicating blindness. Since then, they have worked tirelessly to fulfill her charge to aid the world’s blind and visually impaired.

In the late 1950’s, Lions Clubs created the “Leo Program” to provide the youth of the world an opportunity for personal development and contribution. There are now more than 5,500 Leo clubs in more than 130 countries, with more than 140,000 Leos worldwide.

In 1990, they launched their most aggressive sight preservation effort, SightFirst. This US$215 million program aims to rid the world of preventable and reversible blindness by supporting desperately needed health care services.

In 2008, Lions completed Campaign SightFirst II, which raised more than US$200 million to expand the program.

Lions Clubs International grows stronger and extends its mission of service every day – in local communities, in all corners of the globe.

In 2002, they were the first international service club to be granted permission to organize and operate clubs in mainland China. And in 2007, a Lions club was formed in Iraq.

These clubs join an international network that has grown to include 45,000 clubs located in more than 200 countries across the globe.
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