Lions Clubs – Ready to Help, Worldwide
Whenever a Lions club gets together, problems get smaller. And communities get better. That’s because we help where help is needed – in our own communities and around the world – with unmatched integrity and energy.
The World’s Largest Service Club Organization
Our 46,000 clubs and 1.35 million members make us the world’s largest service club organization. We’re also one of the most effective. Our members do whatever is needed to help their local communities. Everywhere we work, we make friends. With children who need eyeglasses, with seniors who don’t have enough to eat and with people we may never meet.
Learn More About Lions Clubs
- Join your local Lions club or find a Lions club near you.
- Access member resources, including logos, forms and publications.
- Learn about our dedicated volunteer leaders from around the world.
- Contact staff at our International Headquarters in Oak Brook, Illinois, USA.
Fast Facts About the Lions Club
Lions Clubs International is the world’s largest service club organization. We have 1.35 million members in more than 46,000 clubs worldwide.
Lions are everywhere. We’re men and women who are active in community projects in more than 208 countries and geographic areas.
Lions have a dynamic history. Founded in 1917, we are best known for fighting blindness – it’s part of our history as well as our work today. But we also perform volunteer work for many different kinds of community projects – including caring for the environment, feeding the hungry and aiding seniors and the disabled.
Local Community Projects
Lions are active. Our motto is “We Serve.” Lions are part of a global service network, doing whatever is necessary to help our local communities.
Lions give sight. By conducting vision screenings, equipping hospitals and clinics, distributing medicine and raising awareness of eye disease, Lions work toward their mission of providing vision for all. We have extended our commitment to sight conservation through countless local community projects and through our international SightFirst Program, which works to eradicate blindness.
Lions serve youth. Our community projects often support local children and schools through scholarships, recreation and mentoring. Internationally, we offer many programs, including the Peace Poster Contest, Youth Camps and Exchange and Lions Quest. And our Leo Program provides personal development through youth volunteer opportunities. There are approximately 144,000 Leos and 5,700 Leo clubs in more than 140 countries worldwide.
Lions award grants. Since 1968, the Lions Clubs International Foundation has awarded more than US$700 million in grants to support Lions humanitarian community projects around the world. Together, our Foundation and Lions are helping communities following natural disasters by providing for immediate needs such as food, water, clothing and medical supplies – and aiding in long-term reconstruction.
Mission and History
In 1917, Melvin Jones, a 38-year-old Chicago business leader, 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, USA. 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, Texas, USA in October of that year. A constitution, by-laws, objects and a code of ethics were approved.
Within three years, Lions became an international organization. Since then, we’ve earned high marks for both integrity and transparency. We’re a well-run organization with a steady vision, a clear mission, and a long – and proud – history.
Purpose and Ethics
Lions International Purposes
- To Organize, charter and supervise service clubs to be known as Lions clubs.
- To Coordinate the activities and standardize the administration of Lions clubs.
- To Create and foster a spirit of understanding among the peoples of the world.
- To Promote the principles of good government and good citizenship.
- To Take an active interest in the civic, cultural, social and moral welfare of the community.
- To Unite the clubs in the bonds of friendship, good fellowship and mutual understanding.
- To Provide a forum for the open discussion of all matters of public interest; provided, however, that partisan politics and sectarian religion shall not be debated by club members.
- To Encourage service-minded people to serve their community without personal financial reward, and to encourage efficiency and promote high ethical standards in commerce, industry, professions, public works and private endeavors.
Lions Code of Ethics
- To Show my faith in the worthiness of my vocation by industrious application to the end that I may merit a reputation for quality of service.
- To Seek success and to demand all fair remuneration or profit as my just due, but to accept no profit or success at the price of my own self-respect lost because of unfair advantage taken or because of questionable acts on my part.
- To Remember that in building up my business it is not necessary to tear down another’s; to be loyal to my clients or customers and true to myself.
- Whenever a doubt arises as to the right or ethics of my position or action towards others, to resolve such doubt against myself.
- To Hold friendship as an end and not a means. To hold that true friendship exists not on account of the service performed by one to another, but that true friendship demands nothing but accepts service in the spirit in which it is given.
- Always to bear in mind my obligations as a citizen to my nation, my state, and my community, and to give them my unswerving loyalty in word, act, and deed. To give them freely of my time, labor and means.
- To Aid others by giving my sympathy to those in distress, my aid to the weak, and my substance to the needy.
- To Be Careful with my criticism and liberal with my praise; to build up and not destroy.
History of Lions Timeline
Beginning in 1917
Melvin Jones, a 38-year-old Chicago business leader, asked a simple and world-changing question – what if people put their talents to work improving their communities? Almost 100 years later, Lions Clubs International is the world’s largest service club organization, with 1.35 million members in more than 46,000 clubs and countless stories of Lions acting on the same simple idea: let’s improve our communities.
1920: Going International
Just three years after our founding, Lions became international when we established the first club in Canada. Mexico followed in 1927. In the 1950s and 1960s international growth accelerated, with new clubs in Europe, Asia and Africa.
1925: Eradicating Blindness
Helen Keller addressed the Lions Clubs International Convention in Cedar Point, Ohio, USA, and challenged Lions to become “knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness.” Since then, we have worked tirelessly to aid the blind and visually impaired.
1945: Uniting Nations
The ideal of an international organization is exemplified by our enduring relationship with the United Nations. We were one of the first nongovernmental organizations invited to assist in the drafting of the United Nations Charter and have supported the work of the UN ever since.
1957: Organizing Youth Programs
In the late 1950s, we created the Leo Program to provide the youth of the world with an opportunity for personal development through volunteering. There are approximately 144,000 Leos and 5,700 Leo clubs in more than 140 countries worldwide.
1968: Establishing Our Foundation
Lions Clubs International Foundation assists Lions with global and large-scale local humanitarian projects. Through our Foundation, Lions meet the needs of their local and global communities.
1990: Launching SightFirst
Through SightFirst, Lions are restoring sight and preventing blindness on a global scale. Launched in 1990, Lions have raised more than $346 million for this initiative. SightFirst targets the major causes of blindness: cataract, trachoma, river blindness, childhood blindness, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma.
Today: Extending Our Reach
Lions Clubs International extends our mission of service every day – in local communities, in all corners of the globe. The needs are great and our services broad, including sight, health, youth, elderly, the environment and disaster relief. Our international network has grown to include more than 207 countries and geographic areas.
Become a Member of the Lions Club
Community Volunteer Work that Makes a Difference
If you’re interested in volunteering, leading projects, networking and having fun – you can do all of this and more as a Lions club member. As a Lion, you’ll perform local volunteer work to improve your community – and communities around the world.
You can join a local club that meets in person. A cyber club that meets online. Or a special interest club based on your profession, a hobby or anything you care about. You can plan a local project to protect the environment. Recycle eyeglasses to help the working poor. Or bring clean water to a remote village. Whatever you choose, you’ll be sharing, caring and making a difference.
Join an International Network of Volunteers and Friends
As a Lions club member, you’ll join a local group of service-minded men and women who are doing local volunteer work to support your community – right now. You’ll also become a member of Lions Clubs International, a respected international organization,a leader in your local community and a friend to people in need.
There are many reasons to become a member. As a Lion, you will:
- Help your community and gain valuable skills
- Make an impact on people’s lives – locally and internationally
- Learn to be a leader – and lead a respected organization
- Network with business people in your community and around the world
- Energize your life and have fun
You’ll grow personally and professionally. And you’ll know that the community volunteer work you perform is worthwhile and appreciated.
Local Volunteer Opportunities
We’re pleased that you’re interested in Lions. If you want to join an existing Lions club:
- Look for a club near you.
- Contact the club and express your interest.
- Ask if you can attend a meeting to learn more about the club and its service projects.
- At the meeting, ask about becoming a member.