Key Club

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Key Club International
Founded 1925
Type Service
Focus Leadership, Character Building, Caring, and Inclusiveness
Origins Sacramento, California, USA
Area served
Method Community service
270,046 (2015) [1]
Owner Kiwanis International
Key people

William Sims, President
Minyoung Kim, Vice President

Trustees: Nhung Tran, Luke Gilmore, Rohan Mekala, Lindsey Banks, Caleb Neale, Saul Ontiveros, Jack Nannie, Emily Rice, Alisa Nguyen, Audrey Dilgarde, Jared Dutko

Roy Hedeen, Director
US$4,114,151 (2011)[1]
Slogan "Caring- Our Way of Life"

Key Club International, founded in 1925, is the oldest and largest service programs for high school students.[2] Often referred to as simply Key Club, it is a student-led organization whose goal is to encourage leadership through servicing others. Key Club International is a part of the Kiwanis International family of service-leadership programs. Many local Key Clubs are sponsored by a local Kiwanis club.

The organization was started by California State Commissioner of Schools Albert C. Olney, and vocational education teacher Frank C. Vincent, who together worked to establish the first Key Club at Sacramento High School in California, on May 7, 1925. Female students were first admitted in 1977, ten years before women were admitted to the sponsoring organization, Kiwanis International.[3]


Key Club offers a range of services to its members: leadership development, study-abroad opportunities, vocational guidance, college scholarships, a subscription to the Key Club magazine, and liability insurance.

In 2002 Key Club officially adopted "caring, character building, inclusiveness, and leadership" as the core values of the organization.

The organization maintains partnerships with UNICEF, AYUSA Global Youth Exchange, the March of Dimes, and Children's Miracle Network Telethon. Through the partnership with UNICEF, a major initiative was launched in 1994 to address HIV/AIDS education and prevention in Kenya.[4]

Theme of the Major Emphasis[edit]

At Key Club International's first convention in 1946, the organization was given the responsibility of instituting a program that would bring together all Key Club's direct members' efforts and energies into an area that would truly make an International impact. This tradition is still followed through the development of the Major Emphasis and its Theme.

"Children: Their Future, Our Focus" is Key Club International's Major Emphasis theme. Officially, any project conducted by members or clubs that serve needy children locally or globally is considered a project of the Major Emphasis. The three preferred charities of Key Club International are paramount to the organization's success in serving children. These are the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, March of Dimes, and Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Key Clubs contribute to a global organizational total of more than 12 million hours of hands-on service and millions of dollars donated to the aforementioned partners and other programs.

Recently, the Kiwanis International has dedicated itself to eliminating the risk of Maternal/Neonatal Tetanus (MNT) from the face of the earth. The disease plagues mothers and newborns in 40 countries worldwide, and while an effective vaccine has been developed, MNT claims nearly 100,000 lives each year. As part of the Kiwanis International mission to end MNT, Key Club International has pledged all proceeds from its members' Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF projects to the $110 million funding gap the Kiwanis International Foundation is working to correct.

Service Initiative[edit]

The Service Initiative is a program encouraging hands-on service to children aimed towards a common goal. It is changed every two years by the International Board of Trustees.

The 2004–2006 Service Initiative was "Child Safety: Water, Bike and Car Safety", where Key Clubbers participated in different educational events to try to spread safe habits to prevent accidental deaths.

The 2006–2008 Service Initiative was "High Five for Health". It is aimed at reducing childhood obesity and fighting a rising trend that appears to increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease.

The 2008–2010 Service Initiative is "Live 2 Learn". It is focused on 5-to-9-year-old youth, with the main goals of promoting education and building literary skills.

In 2011, the Service Initiative concept was abolished by a vote of the Key Club International Board. It was decided that the freedom of selecting any project in keeping with the theme of "Children: Their Future, Our Focus" would allow for greater success for member clubs and their dedications to service.

Key Club Week[edit]

During the first full week of November, known as Kiwanis Family Month, Key Clubs worldwide celebrate Key Club Week. In seven days, Key Clubs are encouraged to grow and serve through themed days like "Show Your K in Every Way", "Konnect the Ks", "Kudos to the Key Players", and more. The week has been designed to become the organization's primary membership drive worldwide with the belief that more members will translate to more service and even greater results in serving the children of the world.

What Key Club Stands For[edit]

Mission statement[edit]

Key Club is an international student-led organization which provides its members with opportunities to provide service, build character and develop leadership.


We are caring and competent servant leaders transforming communities worldwide.

Core values[edit]

The core values of Key Club International are leadership, character building, caring and inclusiveness.


I pledge, on my honor,
to uphold the Objects of Key Club International;
to build my home, school and community;
to serve my nation and God;
and combat all forces which tend to undermine these institutions.[5]


"Caring... Our way of life."


The official colors are blue, gold and white.   

  • Blue means unwavering character     
  • Gold means service     
  • White means purity     


The Objectives of Key Club are listed below. The sixfold sixth objective of Key Club incorporates the Six Permanent Objects of Kiwanis International as adopted in 1924:

  • To develop initiative and leadership.
  • To provide experience in living and working together.
  • To serve the school and community.
  • To cooperate with the school principal.
  • To prepare for useful citizenship.
  • To accept and promote the following ideals, better known as the Objects of Kiwanis International:
    • To give primacy to the human and spiritual rather than to the material values of life.
    • To encourage the daily living of the Golden Rule in all human relationships.
    • To promote the adoption and application of higher standards in scholarship, sportsmanship, and social contacts.
    • To develop, by precept and example, a more intelligent, aggressive, and serviceable citizenship.
    • To provide a practical means to form enduring friendships, to render unselfish service, and to build better communities.
    • To cooperate in creating and maintaining that sound public opinion and high idealism which make possible the increase of righteousness, justice, patriotism, and good will.


Key Club around the world. Blue denotes fully districted countries, green denotes partially districted countries and/or districts-in-formation, and red denotes countries with non-districted Key Clubs.

The Key Club District organization is patterned after the original Florida District and its parent Kiwanis districts. These organizations hold their own annual conventions for fellowship, to coordinate the efforts of individual clubs, to exchange ideas on Key Clubbing, and to recognize outstanding service of clubs or individuals with appropriate awards.

Key Club exists on more than 5,000 high school campuses, primarily in the United States and Canada. It has grown internationally to the Caribbean nations, Central and South America, and most recently to Asia and Australia. Clubs exist in Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Canada, Cayman Islands, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica, Ecuador, England, Germany, Guadeloupe,Guyana, Hungary, Italy, Jamaica, Malaysia, Martinique, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Panama, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, St. Lucia, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, the United Arab Emirates and the United States of America.[2]

Key Club International is an organization of individual Key Clubs and is funded by nominal dues paid by every member. Its officers are high school leaders elected by the members at district and international conventions.



Key Club International encompasses all clubs within the organization's 33 organized districts and in foreign countries that are not included in any specific district. Key Club International is led by the International Board of Trustees, which is typically composed of the International President, International Vice-President, and 11 International Trustees (Trustees being assigned to three districts and also assigned to serve on various committees within the board). Furthermore, the International Council is composed of the International Board, as well as the District Governor from each of the 33 organized Districts. International Board members are elected at the annual international convention, also known as ICON.


A Key Club district is normally defined by state or nation and tends to match a similar Kiwanis district. Each district is chaired by a Governor, elected by delegates to an annual convention. The district is divided into divisions which tend to, but do not necessarily match Kiwanis divisions.

Each District and District-in-Formation is led by a group of students comprising the District Board of Trustees. The Executive District Board commonly includes the Governor, Secretary, Treasurer (or Secretary-Treasurer), and Editor. Each District Board also includes one Lieutenant Governor per division to serve the geographically smaller areas. Whereas one Governor may oversee the operations of an entire district (often the size of one or more states in the United States or a nation in the Caribbean), Lieutenant Governors oversee areas typically including 4–15 clubs. All officers are elected by the students they serve.

A district convention is held each year in each district. Key Club members, advisers, Kiwanis members, and guests attend. A convention center has been required to host all members for general sessions. Activities often include: forums or workshops, which are facilitated by Lieutenant Governors, district executive officers, and sponsoring adults; an awards ceremony; the Governor's Ball or a less formal district dance; and a keynote speaker. Caucuses are held to elect the new District Executive Officers for the upcoming service year.

Many districts have elected to brand their conventions differently, in order to better reflect the events' goals. For example, district convention is referred to as "District Leadership Conference" in the Missouri-Arkansas District, "District Educational Convention" in the New England District, "District Leadership Training Conference" in the New York District, and "District Convention/Leadership Conference" in the Pennsylvania District.


Districts are divided into multiple smaller geographic regions called divisions. Each division is made up of several clubs and is led by a single Lieutenant Governor.

Lieutenant Governor[edit]

A Lieutenant Governor (also referred to as Lt. Governor or LTG) is elected to lead and represent a single division in a district. The Lt. Governor serves as a liaison between individual high school clubs in his or her division and the district board. In addition to fulfilling the responsibilities of a Key Club member, Lt. Governors must also visit each of the clubs they serve, publish a monthly divisional newsletter, hold regular Division Council Meetings or Officer Council Meetings, collaborate with other Lt. Governors to organize training conferences, and keep in contact their with clubs, district executive board, and Kiwanis counterparts. A Lt. Governor may initiate community service projects to help the members of the division become more involved. A Lt. Governor may choose to create a division leadership team to delegate some of these responsibilities.

The Lt. Governor is responsible for oversight of, on average, 4–15 high school Key Clubs. One of the Lt. Governor's duties is to plan an election to determine his or her successor near the end of his or her term.

The Lt. Governor's role on the District Board is to act as a representative of his or her governing division. Lt. Governors make up the majority composition of the district board, with over sixty members in some larger districts. Changes and adoption of policies are debated by the board and can be approved by a simple majority vote.


All Key Club positions are elected and are held by high school students. Club level positions are elected at different times, Lieutenant Governors are elected at Divisional Election Conferences, District Offices are elected at District Conventions, and International Offices are elected at Internatino Convention.



In California, during the 1920s, adults were concerned with the pernicious side of high school fraternities and sought some means of replacing them with more wholesome activity for youth. In 1924, the local Kiwanis Club decided to attempt to begin a service club at the Sacramento High School, and the school principal eagerly supported the idea and began searching for students willing to start establish the club. In May 1925, a group of boys at Sacramento High School held their first club meeting. Called the "Key Boys", due to their valiant doings, the club eventually became known as Key Club and was associated with Kiwanis International.[6]

Present status[edit]

Key Club International now includes 36 organized districts.[7]As of 2012, Key Club International included 266,592 members, approximately 50% of Kiwanis International Family membership. There were also, 4,988 paid clubs in 2012[8].

Key Club International itself employs three full-time staff members and utilizes the services of the nearly 120 more specialists employed by Kiwanis International. All work at International Headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana[9].

Notable former Key Club members[edit]

Past International Presidents[edit]

  1. Malcolm Lewis 1943–1944 West Palm Beach, Florida, USA
  2. Eddie Richardson 1944–1945 Ft. Lauderdale, Florida USA
  3. Roger Keller 1945–1946 New Orleans, Louisiana USA
  4. T. Hartley Hall 1946-1947, Macon, Georgia USA
  5. James R. Moffat 1947–1948 Frankfurt, Kentucky USA
  6. Thomas C. Starnes 1948-1949, Monroe, Louisiana USA
  7. Kenneth L. Miller 1949–1950 Cape May, New Jersey USA
  8. Jack Stilwell 1950–1951 Charleston, South Carolina USA
  9. William J. Stack Jr 1953–1954 Coral Gables, Florida USA
  10. Lewis Stuckey Jr. 1954–1955 Dallas, Texas USA
  11. Ed Stebbins 1955––1956 Little Rock, Arkansas, USA
  12. William P. Crowell 1957-1958 Dallas, Texas USA
  13. Bill Nelson 1959–1960 Melbourne, Florida, USA[11]
  14. H. Pettus Randall, III 1962–1963 Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA
  15. Brad Anderson 1964–1965 Missoula, Montana, USA
  16. Dan Wesley Richey 1965–1966 Ferriday, Louisiana
  17. Larry Wohlford 1966–1967 Hutchinson, Kansas
  18. Michael D. Waters 1967–1968 Cullman, Alabama, USA
  19. Phillip R Kaplan 1968–1969 Downey, California USA
  20. Reid C. James 1969-1970 Plantation, Florida USA
  21. Stephen F. Kolzak 1970-1971 Collinsville, Connecticut USA
  22. James W Glassen 1972–73 Moberly, Missouri, USA
  23. Fess St. John, IV 1974–75 Cullman, Alabama, USA
  24. Charles Meagher 1975–76 Medicine Hat, Alberta, CAN
  25. Daniel Martich 1976–1977 Weirton, West Virginia, USA
  26. Michael Mills 1977–78 Opelika, Alabama, USA
  27. Billy Songer 1978–1979 Natick, Massachusetts, USA
  28. Wayne Sharp 1979–1980 New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
  29. Jeff Magone 1980–81 Missoula, Montana, USA
  30. Alan J Prince 1981–82 Newnan, Georgia, USA
  31. Joseph B Anderson 1982–83 Shelby, Montana, USA
  32. Matt Perrine 1983–84 Jasper, Alabama, USA
  33. Christopher Likens 1984–85 Florida, USA
  34. John Jordan 1985–86 Frankfort, Kentucky, USA
  35. Tom Smith 1986–87 North Carolina, USA
  36. Doug Madenburg 1987–1988 Huntington, New York, USA
  37. Mark Robertson 1988-1989 Annandale, Virginia
  38. Roger Woods 1989–1990 Los Alamos, New Mexico, USA
  39. Chris Holder 1990–1991 Natchez, Mississippi, USA
  40. Michelle McMillen 1991–1992, USA
  41. Jason Howard 1992–1993 Frankfort, Kentucky, USA
  42. Patrick W. Anderson 1993–1994 South Carolina, USA
  43. Leo J. Wise 1994–1995 Chatham, New Jersey, USA
  44. Matthew T. Driskill 1995–1996 Vestavia Hills, Alabama, USA
  45. Craig Melvin 1996–97 Columbia, South Carolina, USA
  46. Morgan Sack 1997–98, Parsons, Kansas, USA
  47. William Sims 1998–99 Ponchatoula, Louisiana, USA
  48. H. Pettus Randall 1999–2000 Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA
  49. Lauren Kapsky 2000–2001 New Jersey, USA
  50. Teo Nicolais 2001–2002 Rocky Mountain District, USA
  51. Thomas D. Earnest 2002–2003 Cullman, Alabama, USA
  52. Kyle A. LeCroy 2003–2004 Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA
  53. Charles Bentley 2004–2005 Florida, USA
  54. Joseph Lepper 2005–2006 New England, USA
  55. Shivani Radhakrishnan 2006–2007 Mt. Hope, New York, USA
  56. Grant Lin 2007–2008 Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
  57. Kia Albertson-Rogers 2008–2009 New York, USA
  58. Abigail McKamey 2009–2010 Tennessee, USA
  59. Xinlei Wang 2010–2011 Wisconsin, USA
  60. Annie Lewandowski 2011–2012 Oregon, USA
  61. Rebecca Riley 2012-2013 Alabama, USA
  62. Raeford Penny 2013-2014 Virginia, USA
  63. Maria Palazzolo 2014-2015 Springfield, Illinois, USA
  64. Rip Livingston 2015-2016 Birmingham, Alabama, USA
  65. Devin Sun 2016-2017 Bridgewater, New Jersey, USA


  1. ^ a b "Kiwanis International Financial Statement" (PDF). Kiwanis International. 2011. Retrieved July 8, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Key Club - Frequently Asked Questions
  3. ^ "History & Timeline". Retrieved 2012-12-13. 
  4. ^ Key Club Magazine, September 2009
  5. ^ Key Club - What We Stand For
  6. ^ Key Club - Our History
  7. ^ "How Key Club Works". Retrieved 2015-12-04. 
  8. ^ "2012-13 financial statements". Retrieved 2017-06-24. 
  9. ^ "Contact Us". Retrieved 2017-06-24. 
  10. ^ retrieved April 13, 2008
  11. ^ Kiwanis Magazine, December, 2012, p. 14

External links[edit]

District Websites

In Canada[edit]