An organization does not reach the 100-year mark by chance. It does so by staying relevant in an ever-changing society. I believe with all my heart that Kiwanis is just as relevant today as it was when it was created in January 1915. This fragmented, fast-paced world needs us.
Kiwanis started as an organization in Detroit, Michigan, committed to self-interest but soon, through arguments and debates, evolved into an organization dedicated to helping others, which we are still doing today. Our clubs perform 150,000 service projects a year. We build better lives and communities. Whatever the cause, Kiwanians of all ages and abilities devote 6 million hours a year to service.
In 2015, we will celebrate those 100 years of Kiwanis service with great celebrations around the world. We will start the festivities on New Year’s Day with an even bigger float at the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California. We will also celebrate this milestone in Detroit, the city of our birth, with a service project that will impact families for generations to come. The party will continue in a dozen others cities across the globe. You’ll also see the anniversary theme involved with the projects we do for Kiwanis One Day and the other great service projects we work on. The celebration will peak with a birthday party during our annual convention in Indianapolis, Indiana. Great things are planned.
We are reaching our 100th anniversary thanks to members like you—because you are continuing the legacy. It’s a legacy we can be proud of. And, it’s a legacy we can build on as we travel the way ahead to our next 100 years. There is still so much more for us to do.
John Button, 2014–15 Kiwanis International president