Dr. Wil Blechman Fellowship unveiled

Erin Chandler | Jun 09, 2022

Dr. Wil Blechman had a profound impact on Kiwanis International and on the lives of young children around the world. At the opening session of the 2022 Kiwanis International Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S., the organization unveiled the Dr. Wil Blechman Fellowship in honor of the 1990-91 president, who died in September 2021.

Dr. Wil Blechman Fellowships will be awarded to donors who make an unrestricted gift of US$2,500 to the Kiwanis Children’s Fund. This new fellowship is a way to recognize Kiwanians’ generosity while remembering Dr. Wil’s passion for childhood development. In fact, gifts support the Kiwanis causes:

  • Health and nutrition.
  • Education and literacy.
  • Youth leadership development. 

Clubs and individuals may also make a donation for a Dr. Wil Fellowship to honor a special Kiwanian whose values and service emulate Dr. Wil’s work.  

Blechman plaque for web “There is no more fitting honor for a dedicated Kiwanian than one bearing Dr. Wil Blechman’s name,” said Pam Norman, chief philanthropy officer at Kiwanis International. “As a global leader, Dr. Wil inspired members worldwide to take action on behalf of young children, and Kiwanis International is a better organization due to his visionary thinking.”

Following his term as president of Kiwanis International in 1990-91, Wil Blechman retired from his medical practice to advocate tirelessly on behalf of the world’s children. He researched and developed many projects for the Young Children: Priority One program (projects that are still popular with Kiwanis clubs today), and he spoke publicly about how to support early childhood development.

The inaugural recipient of the Dr. Wil Blechman Fellowship was Blechman’s widow, Rachel Blechman. Mrs. Blechman’s study of child development at Cornell University made her a vital advisor for Dr. Wil in his work, and she advocated alongside him for children’s health and well-being.  

At Thursday’s opening session, Mrs. Blechman said, “When the idea of a Dr. Wil Blechman Fellowship was presented to Wil and me last summer, we were honored, surprised and delighted to lend his name. Our family shares Wil’s belief in the importance of the earliest years, and we are happy to provide a lead gift in support of the Kiwanis Children’s Fund to carry on his values and vision.” 

More information about the Dr. Wil Blechman Fellowship, including recognition options and the donation form, is available at



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