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Policy revisions and new policies

Dec 01, 2013

At its meeting October 5, 2013, the Kiwanis International Board adopted two interpretations of the Kiwanis International bylaws, as well as several new policies.

The new bylaw interpretations provide:
  • Under what circumstances Kiwanis International will accept a criminal history background check from a district for individuals who are required to have a background check by Kiwanis International. (This topic also includes a new policy.); and
  • How guaranteed Trustee representation on the Kiwanis International Board will be provided for the Canada and Caribbean Region while one of its two districts has an officer in line of succession to become President.

Policy changes provide: 
  • The process for Kiwanis International to accept a criminal history background check conducted by a district;
  • Additional best practices for nonprofit organizations, including document retention and destruction, whistle blowers, and disclosure and integrity of information; 
  • Unauthorized use of information contained in the Kiwanis International directory;
  • Regular reporting by districts that receive grants from Kiwanis International; and
  • Basic parameters for handling funds or gifts donated to Kiwanis International (not the foundation).
We have outlined the specific revisions below.

Kiwanis International Board Meeting
October 5, 2013



16 - Criminal History Background Checks

c.    Acceptance of Background Check Results from Districts 

When someone is required to have a clear criminal history background check “conducted and verified by Kiwanis International,” Kiwanis International may accept criminal history background check results provided by a district as “clear” if the following criteria are met and verified in advance:
  • The service provider used by the district must first be approved by Kiwanis International. The district shall contact Kiwanis International’s Risk Management Department for complete details on securing approval. If the district’s provider changes its process or criteria, new approval must be secured.
  • The district must assure Kiwanis International in writing that, when determining the background check to be “clear,” it adhered to the same criteria used by Kiwanis International, as stated in this procedure.
  • Nothing herein prevents Kiwanis International from requesting the current procedures from any provider at any time.
Implementing a background check process brings additional risk and liability to the district due to the need to secure members’ personal information and the possibility that a check will not 'catch' all criminal history.  Districts that conduct their own background checks and therefore assume this risk are strongly encouraged to put proper processes and safeguards in place in advance and to purchase Directors and Officers insurance.

20.  Document Retention and Destruction

The Kiwanis International Board charges Staff to maintain a comprehensive document retention and destruction process for both paper and electronic records relating to Kiwanis International operations in compliance with accepted standards and practices for the subject area the documents or records pertain to (i.e., employment, finance, tax, legal, board actions, etc.). 

Because it is a crime in the U.S. and many other nations to alter, cover up, falsify, or destroy any document or records with the intent of obstructing current or potential legal proceedings, all Kiwanis International Board members, Staff, and volunteers should especially be aware of and comply with applicable laws regarding the preservation and provision of documents in the event of legal proceedings. 

21.  Protection of Whistle Blowers

The Kiwanis International Board charges Staff to maintain a policy that provides an avenue for employees to raise concerns (“whistle blowers”) with the assurance that they will be protected from reprisals or retaliation for raising those concerns in good faith. 


2. Contributions for Charitable Purposes to Kiwanis International

Without the specific approval of the International Board The Executive Director in consultation with the International President is authorized to accept, Kiwanis International shall not accept any contributed funds contributions of funds or gifts (i.e., real estate, stock, art, etc) on behalf of Kiwanis International. designated to be used for charitable, educational, religious, or eleemosynary purposes.  If such contributions are accepted, a plan shall be adopted to assure appropriate handling.  (5/83) 

9. Kiwanis International Directory

Kiwanis International shall maintain and distribute a directory of Kiwanis clubs and districts as a reference tool to facilitate communication between Kiwanis-family leaders and clubs for legitimate purposes related to Kiwanis service, growth, and fellowship. Information contained in the directory is legally protected and may not be used, reproduced, or distributed by any persons or entities for any purposes without authorization of Kiwanis International. Kiwanis uses reasonable and prudent safeguards to protect members’ private information; however, it assumes no responsibility for any unauthorized access to or use of any information contained in the directory. 

10.  Disclosure and Integrity of Information
Kiwanis International shall endeavor to present accurate information that fairly reflects the condition of the organization.


8.  Accountability of District Grant Funds

When grants are awarded to districts by the Kiwanis International Board, the awardee shall report regularly on the programmatic and financial components of the grant. Failure to report as requested can jeopardize the release of further grant funds.



Article IX, Section 3 - states in part: “Where a district requires that an officer, candidate or volunteer working with children submit and have a clear criminal history background check, meeting or exceeding the current Kiwanis International standards, the issuance of a certification of a clear criminal history background check by a district approved screening provider shall be accepted by Kiwanis International as meeting the requirements of this Section. (6/2013)”

Interpretation: When someone is required to have a clear criminal history background check “conducted and verified by Kiwanis International”; and:
(1) When that person has previously had a background check conducted by their district which is verified by the district as “clear”; and 
(2) When Kiwanis International has previously verified that the background check provider used by the district meets the standards established by Kiwanis International for providers; and
(3) When the district has verified that it adheres to the background check criteria used by Kiwanis International when determining whether or not a person’s background check is considered “clear”;
Then the background check run and verified by the district for that person shall be accepted as “clear” by Kiwanis International.


Article XIII, Section 1 - states: “The Canada and Caribbean Region is guaranteed one (1) Trustee, to be selected by that region by a process it recommends and which is approved by the Kiwanis International Board. (6/2010)”; and “No district may have more than one (1) member on the Board of Trustees” and “A district shall not have a member on the Board of Trustees for one (1) administrative year after another person from that district has completed membership on the Board of Trustees, except where necessary to fill a guaranteed seat as provided in these Bylaws.”  Additionally, Article XI, Section 7c states: “Five (5) Trustees shall be elected each administrative year: three (3) from the United States and Pacific Canada Region and two (2) from other regions as provided in these Bylaws.  (6/2010).”

Interpretation: In order to provide guaranteed Trustee representation to the Canada and Caribbean Region while it also has an officer above the level of Trustee on the Kiwanis International Board: 
  • The term of the current Trustee from the region (Colin Reichle-Western Canada) shall be extended by one year, to end September 30, 2016; 
  • Only four (4) Trustees will be elected for the 2015-16 administrative year, which shall not include a new Trustee for the region; and 
  • Six (6) Trustees will be elected for 2016-17, with the new Trustee for the Region to be elected from the Eastern Canada and Caribbean District, to serve a two-year term. 
  • As of 2017-18, the election process will return to electing five (5) Trustees each year, each for a three-year term, in accordance with normal Bylaw provisions.