Lions Clubs International

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Lions Clubs International
Lions Clubs International logo.svg
Motto"We Serve"
FormationOctober 10, 1917 (1917-10-10)
Founder Melvin Jones
Type Service club
Headquarters Oak Brook, Illinois, U.S.
Membership
1,700,000
President
Gudrun Yngvadottir
Website Official website

Lions Clubs International (LCI) is an international non-political service organization established originally in 1917 in Chicago, Illinois, by Melvin Jones. [1] It is now headquartered in Oak Brook, Illinois. As of April 2015, it had over 46,000 local clubs and more than 1.7 million members (Lions & LEO) in 190 countries around the world.[ citation needed ]

Melvin Jones (Lions Club) American businessman

Melvin Jones was the Secretary-treasurer of Lions Clubs International.

Oak Brook, Illinois Village in Illinois, United States

Oak Brook is a village in DuPage County with a small portion in Cook County in Illinois. The population was 7,883 at the 2010 census. A suburb of Chicago, Oak Brook serves as home to the headquarters of several notable companies and organizations including McDonald's, Ace Hardware, Blistex, Ferrara Candy, Federal Signal, CenterPoint Properties, Sanford L.P., TreeHouse Foods, and Lions Clubs International.

Contents

Introduction

Bust of Melvin Jones in Madrid, Spain Monumento a Melvin Jones (Madrid) 02.jpg
Bust of Melvin Jones in Madrid, Spain
A 2018 stamp of India dedicated to the 100th anniversary of Lions Clubs International Lions Clubs International 2018 stamp of India.jpg
A 2018 stamp of India dedicated to the 100th anniversary of Lions Clubs International

Lions Clubs International, a service membership organization of over 1.7 million members worldwide (as of June 2018), was founded in Evansville, Indiana on 24 October 1916 by Dr. William Perry Woods and subsequently evolved as an international service organization under the guidance and supervision of its Secretary, Melvin Jones.

In 1917, Melvin Jones, was a 38-year-old Chicago business leader who 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, US. The Business Circle subsequently joined one of the invited groups, the "International Association of Lions Clubs" and at a national convention held in Dallas, Texas, later that year, those who were assembled: (1) adopted a Constitution, By-Laws, Code of Ethics and an Emblem; (2) established as a main tenet "unselfish service to others", (3) unanimously elected Dr. William Perry Woods as its first President effectively securing his leadership for the first two years of the existence of the International Association of Lions, and (4) selected Melvin Jones to serve as the Organization's Secretary-Treasurer. [2]

The Lions motto is "We Serve". Local Lions Club programs include sight conservation, hearing and speech conservation, diabetes awareness, youth outreach, international relations, environmental issues, and many other programs. [3] The discussion of politics and religion is forbidden. The LIONS acronym also stands for Liberty, Intelligence, Our Nations' Safety. [4]

Aims

The stated purposes of Lions Clubs International are:

Sectarianism form of bigotry, discrimination, or hatred

Sectarianism is a form of bigotry, discrimination, or hatred arising from attaching relations of inferiority and superiority to differences between subdivisions within a group. Common examples are denominations of a religion, ethnic identity, class, or region for citizens of a state and factions of a political movement.

Focus of Lions

Much of the focus of Lions Clubs International work as a service club organization is to raise money for worthy causes. All funds raised by Lions Clubs from the general public are used for charitable purposes, and administrative costs are kept strictly separate and paid for by members. Some of the money raised for a club’s charity account goes toward projects that benefit the local community of an individual club.

Service projects

Lions Clubs plan and participate in a wide variety of service projects that meet the international goals of Lions Clubs International as well as the needs of their local communities. Examples include donations to hospices, [5] or community campaigns such as Message in a bottle, a United Kingdom and Ireland initiative which places a plastic bottle with critical medical information inside the refrigerators of vulnerable people. [6] Money is also raised for international purposes. Some of this is donated in reaction to events such as the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and the 2013 Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) where Lions and LCIF provided disaster relief locally and from around the world, with donations and commitments surpassing US$1 million. [7] Other money is used to support international campaigns, coordinated by the Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF), such as Sight First and Lions World Sight Day, which was launched in 1998 to draw world media attention to the plight of sight loss in the third world. [8] Lions take on all sorts of various fundraisers to fund these projects. For example, the Dublin, Virginia Lions Club host two flea markets a year, and sell their famous Lion Dog, a fresh prepared variation of a corn dog. [9]

Palliative care is an interdisciplinary approach to specialized medical and nursing care for people with life-limiting illnesses. It focuses on providing relief from the symptoms, pain, physical stress, and mental stress at any stage of illness. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the person and their family. Evidence as of 2016 supports palliative care's efficacy in the improvement of a patient's quality of life.

Typhoon Haiyan West pacific category 5 in 2013

Typhoon Haiyan, known as Super Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines, was one of the most powerful tropical cyclones ever recorded. On making landfall, Haiyan devastated portions of Southeast Asia, particularly the Philippines. It is the deadliest Philippine typhoon on record, killing at least 6,300 people in that country alone. In terms of JTWC-estimated 1-minute sustained winds, Haiyan is tied with Meranti for being the strongest landfalling tropical cyclone on record. In January 2014, bodies were still being found.

Dublin, Virginia Town in Virginia, United States

Dublin is a town in Pulaski County, Virginia, United States. The population was 2,534 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Blacksburg–Christiansburg–Radford Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is the site of the Volvo Group Trucks Operations New River Valley Cab and Vehicle Assembly plant.

Lions focus on work for the blind and visually impaired began when Helen Keller addressed the international convention at Cedar Point, Ohio, on 30 June 1925 and charged Lions to be Knights of the Blind.

Helen Keller American author and political activist and first deaf-blind person to earn a bachelor of arts degree

Helen Adams Keller was an American author, political activist, and lecturer. She was the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. The story of Keller and her teacher, Anne Sullivan, was made famous by Keller's autobiography, The Story of My Life, and its adaptations for film and stage, The Miracle Worker. Her birthplace in West Tuscumbia, Alabama, is now a museum and sponsors an annual "Helen Keller Day". Her June 27 birthday is commemorated as Helen Keller Day in Pennsylvania and, in the centenary year of her birth, was recognized by a presidential proclamation from Jimmy Carter.

Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio, United States

Cedar Point is a 364-acre (147 ha) amusement park located on a Lake Erie peninsula in Sandusky, Ohio. Opened in 1870, it is the second-oldest operating amusement park in the United States behind Lake Compounce. Cedar Point is owned and operated by Cedar Fair and is considered the flagship of the amusement park chain. Known as "America's Roller Coast", the park features a world-record 72 rides, including 17 roller coasters – the second-most in the world behind Six Flags Magic Mountain. Its newest roller coaster, Steel Vengeance, opened to the public on May 5, 2018.

Ohio State of the United States of America

Ohio is a Midwestern state in the Great Lakes region of the United States. Of the fifty states, it is the 34th largest by area, the seventh most populous, and the tenth most densely populated. The state's capital and largest city is Columbus.

Lions also have a strong commitment to community hearing- and cancer-screening projects. In Perth, Western Australia, they have conducted hearing screening for over 30 years and provided seed funding for the Lions Ear and Hearing Institute established September 9, 2001, a center of excellence in the diagnosis, management, and research of ear and hearing disorders. [10] In Perth, Lions have also been instrumental in the establishment of the Lions Eye Institute. In Brisbane, Queensland, the Lions Medical Research Foundation provides funding to a number of researchers. Ian Frazer's initial work, leading to the development of a HPV vaccine for the human papillomavirus which could lead to cervical cancer, was funded by the Lions Medical Research Foundation.

Lions Clubs International has supported the work of the United Nations since that organization's inception in 1945, when it was one of the non-governmental organizations invited to assist in the drafting of the United Nations Charter in San Francisco, California.

Lions Club Bridge, a symbol for International Friendship and Cooperation (location: Aachen-Lichtenbusch, German-Belgian Border checkpoint) Lions Club Bridge.jpg
Lions Club Bridge, a symbol for International Friendship and Cooperation (location: Aachen-Lichtenbusch, German-Belgian Border checkpoint)

Lions Clubs International Foundation

Lions Clubs International Foundation is "Lions helping Lions serve the world". [11] Donations provide funding in the form of grants to financially assist Lions districts with large-scale humanitarian projects that are too expensive and costly for Lions to finance on their own. [12] The Foundation aids Lions in making a greater impact in their local communities, as well as around the world. Through LCIF, Lions ease pain and suffering and bring healing and hope to people worldwide. Major initiatives of the foundation include the following:

SightFirst

Upon endorsing the biggest ever collaborative disease eradication programme called the London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases launched on 30 January 2012 in London, the organization has implemented SightFirst program by which it aims to eradicate blindness due to trachoma, one of the neglected tropical diseases. It has allocated over US$11 million in 10 countries for eye surgeries, medical training, distribution of Zithromax and tetracycline, and sanitary services. It has also announced US$6.9 million funding to support the Government of China for the same cause. [14] [15]

Membership

Membership in the Lions Club is by "invitation only" as mandated by its constitution and by-laws. All member applicants need a sponsor who is an active member and of good standing in the club they intend to join. While sponsorship may be obtained by an applicant in order to become a legitimate member, sponsorship is no guarantee of membership. Acceptance of membership is still subject to the approval of the majority of the club's board of directors. Several clubs are even difficult for applicants to join in. A Lions Club chooses its members diligently as it requires time and financial commitments. Prospective applicants must be a person of good moral character in his or her community. Attendance at meetings is encouraged on a monthly or fortnightly basis. Due to the hierarchical nature of Lions Clubs International, members have the opportunity to advance from a local club to an office at the zone, district, multiple district, and international levels.

In 1987 the constitution of Lions Clubs International was amended to allow for women to become members. [16] Since then many clubs have admitted women, but some all-male clubs still exist. In 2003, 8 out of 17 members at the Lions Club in Worcester, England, resigned when a woman joined the club. [17] Despite this setback the club has managed to rebuild and now has 19 members, 7 of whom are women. Women's membership numbers continue to grow throughout the association.

Among the famous and noteworthy members of Lions International are former U.S. President, Jimmy Carter; [18] Her Royal Highness Sophie, Countess of Wessex, a member of the Wokingham Lions Club and Royal Patron of the Lions Clubs of the British Isles and Ireland; [19] Murray M. Silver, Jr, an American rock music writer, photographer and author, who belongs to Savannah Lions Club in Georgia; Amelia Earhart, [20] pioneer U. S. aviator, author, and advocate for women's rights; Richard E. Byrd, [21] deputy admiral of the United States Navy, aviator, pioneer and polar explorer; and Helen Keller, American writer, lecturer and social activist. [22]

Awards

Lions Clubs International gives various awards for outstanding merits. [23]

Medal of Merit

The Medal of Merit (MM) is the highest award from Lions Clubs International to non-members for outstanding contributions to Lions Clubs International and its goals.

District Governor Award

The District Governor Award (DGA) is one of the highest awards from Lions Clubs International to its members having done exceptional services.

President's Appreciation Award

The President's Appreciation Award (PAA) is the highest award that can be awarded to an outstanding club.

Melvin Jones Fellowship

The Melvin Jones Fellowship (MJF) Award is the highest recognition from the Lions Clubs International Foundation being given to members who have rendered outstanding community services.

Spread of Lions

International Lions Club Hong Kong HK Lion International at the Peak of HK island.jpg
International Lions Club Hong Kong

Lions Clubs around the world

Map showing Lions Clubs involvement around the globe. Lions Club Involvement Map.svg
Map showing Lions Clubs involvement around the globe.

The organization became international on 12 March 1920, when the first club in Canada was established in Windsor, Ontario. Lions Clubs have since spread across the globe and have a current membership roster of 1.4 million members worldwide. [24]

Extensions of the Lions family

In addition to adult Lions Clubs, the Lions family includes Lioness Clubs, Leo Clubs, Campus Lions Clubs and Lion Cubs. These divisions are parts of Lions Clubs International.

Lioness Clubs

Lioness Club Membership is generally for women, with exceptions of men also becoming Lioness members nowadays.[ citation needed ] They are formed under a parent Lions Club. The Lions Club thus becomes the Parent Club for the Lioness Club. Naming of the Club is also like that of the Lions Club—e.g., Lions Club of Satara United Dist 323D-1 forming and sponsoring a Lioness Club Satara United District 323D-1. In many areas, particularly the United States, Lioness clubs have disbanded and merged into their parent clubs to make a more effective club as a whole.[ citation needed ]

Leo Clubs

Leo Clubs are an extension of the Lions service organization which aims to encourage community service and involvement from a young age. Leo Clubs much like Lioness Clubs are sponsored by a parent Lions Club. Leo Clubs are a common school-based organization with members between the ages of 12 and 18 from the same school, these are commonly referred to as Alpha Leo Clubs. Community based clubs also exist, these generally cater for 18- to 30-year-olds and are referred to as Omega Leo Clubs. Leo Clubs are required to have a Leo Club Advisor, a member of the sponsoring Lions Club who attends meetings and provides general advice to the club. Lions International includes more than 250,000 Leo club members in over 150 countries. [25]

Campus Lions Clubs

Many Leos join a Campus Lions Club if they attend a university or college after high school graduation. There are more than 600 Campus Lions clubs in the world including nearly 13,000 members on college and university campuses in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, England, Ethiopia, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Mongolia, Nepal, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Uganda, United States, Venezuela, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Legon Lions Club in University of Ghana, KNUST Campus Lions and the University of KwaZulu-Natal Campus Lions Club which is the only active Campus Lions Club currently operating in the Republic of South Africa. [26]

Lion Cubs

Lion Cubs is a youth service organization for the elementary aged students (ages eight to twelve). [27] The first club was chartered in the Owen J. Roberts School District in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, United States. It was developed for students in 4th through 6th grade, and therefore too young to be a Leo Club member. The clubs (one club in each of five elementary schools) started their meetings and activities in September 2008 and were officially chartered March 24, 2009. The club is sponsored by the Coventry Lions Club of District 14P. The Lion Cubs first year (2008–09) had 179 charter members. [28]

International convention

An international convention is held annually in cities across the globe for members to meet other Lions, elect the coming year's officers, and partake in the many activities planned. At the convention, Lions can participate in elections and parades, display and discuss fundraisers and service projects, and trade pins and other souvenirs. The first convention was held in 1917, the first year of the club's existence, in Dallas, Texas. The 2006 convention was due to be held in New Orleans, but damage sustained during Hurricane Katrina meant that the convention had to be relocated to Boston. [29]

Conspiracy theories

Indonesian Islamic hardliners have called for a ban on the Lions Club, saying it is part of a Zionist conspiracy. The club has been called an "infidel" front for Freemasonry and the world Zionist movement and threatened Islam in the world's most populous Muslim country. [30]

Given that many Freemasons are members of Lions Clubs, and its founder, Melvin Jones, was also a Freemason, [31] modern conspiracy theories have claimed that the Lions are connected to and act cohesively with Freemasonry. One example is found on Martha F. Lee's Conspiracy Rising: Conspiracy Thinking and American Public Life. It says that the "Freemasons are apparently in cahoots with the Lions Clubs and involved in plots ranging from the distribution of aspartame to control the human mind, to the death of John Paul I, to an apparent plot to spread Zionism." [32]

This perception, according to a Freemasonry website, can be traced to John Robison and the Abbé Barruel's unfounded writings on the causes of the French Revolution, Léo Taxil's late 19th-century hoax and the debunked Protocols of the Elders of Zion .

While there is no direct link between the Lions and the Masons, they are compatible and may have overlapping membership, as evidenced by a speech delivered in 2004 to a Lions Club by a Mason named James F. Kirk-White. [33] The topic of the talk was "Sharing Freemasonry Within Your Community". Their compatibility, moreover, is evidenced by the Masons in Albion, New York offering space for the Lions at a Masonic Lodge. [34] Others also believe that the Lions Clubs actually are a "secret society" that has a great deal of secret ritual within its structure. [35] According to them the Lions are one of those social groups belonging to a secret society that demand an oath of allegiance to join. [36]

Controversial German Author, Jan Udo Holey, often known by his penname Jan van Helsing, wrote in his 1995 book Geheimgesellschaften und ihre Macht im 20. Jahrhundert (Secret Societies and Their Power in the 20th Century) that the Lions was founded by the B'nai B'rith in Chicago in 1917 and that, like the Freemasons and other secret societies, 90% of its members are used by the elites and have no inkling of what happens in the upper echelons. Holey explained that in the lower degrees of the hierarchy these organizations are much into social work and present really good programs. [37]

Related Research Articles

Freemasonry group of fraternal organizations

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Secret society club or organization whose activities and inner functioning are concealed from non-members

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Rotary International international service organization

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Civitan International

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Kiwanis International is an international service club founded in 1915 in Detroit, Michigan. It is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, United States, and is found in more than 80 nations and geographic areas. Since 1987, the organization also accepts women as members. Membership in Kiwanis and its family of clubs is more than 600,000 members. Each year, Kiwanis clubs raise more than US$100 million and report more than 18.5 million volunteer hours to strengthen communities and serve children.

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The Catholic Church first prohibited Catholics from membership in Masonic organizations and other secret societies in 1738. Since then, at least eleven popes have made pronouncements about the incompatibility of Catholic doctrines and Freemasonry. From 1738 until 1983, Catholics who publicly associated with, or publicly supported, Masonic organizations were censured with automatic excommunication. Since 1983, the prohibition on membership exists in a different form. Although there was some confusion about membership following the 1965 Second Vatican Council, the Church continues to prohibit membership in Freemasonry because it concluded that Masonic principles and rituals are irreconcilable with Catholic doctrines. The current norm, the 1983 Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's (CDF) Declaration on Masonic associations, states that "faithful who enroll in Masonic associations are in a state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion" and membership in Masonic associations is prohibited. The most recent CDF document about the "incompatibility of Freemasonry with the Catholic faith" was issued in 1985.

Phi Beta Sigma historically Black fraternity

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The Lions Eye Institute (LEI) is an Australian medical research institute affiliated with the University of Western Australia. It was established in 1983 with support of the Lions Club of Australia and headquartered in the Perth suburb of Nedlands, Western Australia. The LEI is a not-for-profit centre of excellence that combines an ophthalmic clinic with scientific discovery developing techniques for the prevention of blindness and the reduction of pain from blinding eye conditions.

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While many Christian denominations take no stance on or openly acknowledge and allow Freemasonry, some are outwardly opposed to it, and either discourage or outright prohibit their members from joining the fraternity.

There are many collegiate secret societies in North America. They vary greatly in their levels of secrecy and independence from their universities. As the term is used in this article, a secret society is a collegiate society where significant effort is made to keep affairs, membership rolls, signs of recognition, initiation, or other aspects secret from the public.

Safari Club International organization

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Leo clubs Service Club in the network of Lions Clubs International

Leo Clubs are a youth organization of Lions Clubs International. The word "LEO" stands for Leadership, Experience, Opportunity.

Fraternity brotherhood

A fraternity, or fraternal organization is an organization, society, club or fraternal order traditionally of men associated together for various religious or secular aims. Fraternity in the Western concept developed in the Christian context, notably with the religious orders in the Catholic Church during the Middle Ages. The concept was eventually further extended with medieval confraternities and guilds. In the early modern era, these were followed by fraternal orders such as freemasons and odd fellows, along with gentlemen's clubs, student fraternities, and fraternal service organizations. Members are occasionally referred to as a brother or – usually in religious context – Frater or Friar.

Giridharilal Kedia Indian social entrepreneur

Giridharilal Kedia was an Indian well known social entrepreneur. He served the Kala Vikash Kendra, Cuttack for 12 years as the Working President and Trustee. Kedia was also the founder and chairman of Image Institute of Technology & Management. He was awarded the Samaj Gaurav award for his service. He was also awarded the Theater Movement Award by Global Peace Organization. Kedia was a District Governor of Lions Club International for the years 1981-1982 for the undivided district 322C.

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