Since Lions clubs were established,
Lions have been dedicated to giving back to their communities. Lions clubs provide community parks, playgrounds, senior citizen
programs and medical care for those in need.
Lions remain committed to improving
the lives of those less fortunate—around the world and right at home.
Lions Club History
The International Association of Lions Clubs began as the dream of Chicago businessman Melvin Jones.
He believed that local business clubs should expand their horizons from purely professional concerns to the betterment of
their communities and the world at large.
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 code of ethics were approved.
Among the objects adopted in those early years was one that read, "No club shall hold out the financial
betterment of its members as its object." This call for unselfish service to others remains one of the association's main
Just three years after its formation, the association became international when the first club in Canada
was established in 1920. Major international expansion continued as clubs were established, particularly throughout Europe,
Asia and Africa during the 1950s and '60s.
In 1925, Helen Keller addressed the Lions international convention in Cedar Point, Ohio, USA. She challenged
Lions to become "knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness." From this time, Lions clubs have been actively involved
in service to the blind and visually impaired.
Broadening its international role, Lions Clubs International helped the United Nations form the Non-Governmental
Organizations sections in 1945 and continues to hold consultative status with the U.N.
In 1990, Lions launched its most aggressive sight preservation effort, SightFirst. The US$202 million
program strives to rid the world of preventable and reversible blindness by supporting desperately needed health care services.
In addition to sight programs, Lions Clubs International is committed to providing services for youth.
Lions clubs also work to improve the environment, build homes for the disabled, support diabetes education, conduct hearing
programs and, through their foundation, provide disaster relief around the world.
Lions Clubs International has grown to include 1.3 million men and women in approximately 45,000 clubs
located in 202 countries and geographic areas.
View a multimedia presentation on The History of Lions Clubs International, learn about the history of the association name and symbol or visit the Lions Learning Center to view more presentations.
Becoming a Member
Lions club members are men and women who strive to make a difference in their local community
as well as in communities worldwide. Their volunteer efforts go beyond the support of vision care, to addressing
unmet health and education needs worldwide.
Why should I become a Lion?
make a difference everyday in your community
a Lions club member, you can:
provide support locally or reach out internationally
grow personally and professionally by participating in our programs, community service
projects and events
have an impact on local and international humanitarian issues
develop relationships with both local and international community and business leaders
have access to membership discounts and services.
Interested in becoming a member?
Membership in a Lions club is by invitation from a local club. If you are interested in membership, use
the club locator to contact a local Lions club. Tell the local club you are considering membership and want to attend a meeting to learn more.
Then, ask a member for a membership application.
Can't find a club near you?
Fill out the Prospective Member Form. Lions Clubs International will forward your contact information to a club in your area.
Find out more about what Lions do. Read the publications, I am a Lion (ME37) and Lions Make a Difference (ME40). Find out how families fit into Lions clubs. View our full list of member discounts and services.
For additional questions, e-mail the Membership Operations Department or call 630-571-5466, ext. 340.