The Name

Kiwanis” was adapted from the expression “Nunc Kee-wanis” in the Otchipew (Native American) language, meaning “We have a good time,” “We make a noise,” or, under another construction, “We trade or advertise.” Some persons prefer to pronounce the word “ki”; others, “kee.”


“Serving the Children of the world.”

Number of clubs and members

There are more than 6,000 Kiwanis clubs with nearly 250,000 members in more than 80 nations and geographic areas.

Type of membership

Active or retired business and professional men and women.

The “average” Kiwanian

The average Kiwanis member is 55.1 years old, a college graduate, married, and a homeowner. He or she is an owner or manager of a firm in the $25 million or less range.

Kiwanis youth organizations (350,000 youth members)

Kiwanis International sponsors several service clubs for young people: Circle K International  members on 570 university and college campuses; Key Club International members in 4,400 high schools; and Builders Clubs have been organized in 2,000 junior high and middle schools. Other members of the Kiwanis family include K-Kids in elementary schools, young European adults in Kiwanis Junior, and Aktion Club, which involves persons with disabilities in community-service activities.

Kiwanis Service

Each year, Kiwanis clubs sponsor nearly 150,000 service projects. To do so, Kiwanians raised and spent almost $107 million and devote more than 6 million hours of service annually.

Kiwanis’ continuing service emphasis is called “Young Children: Priority One,” which focuses on the special needs of children from prenatal development to 5 years of age.  Projects conducted as part of the “Young Children: Priority One” service emphasis involved $14.3 million and 1.3 million volunteer hours.

In 1994, Kiwanis launched its first Worldwide Service Project, a $75 million campaign in partnership with UNICEF to eliminate iodine deficiency disorders by the year 2000. Iodine deficiency is rare in areas where iodized salt is used, but in other parts of the world, IDD is the leading cause of preventable mental and physical retardation. As many as 1.5 billion people are at risk, especially young children.