Our 46,000 clubs and 1.4+ 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.
In over 200 countries, in hospitals and senior centers, in regions battered by natural disaster, in schools and eyeglass recycling centers, Lions are doing community volunteer work, helping, leading, planning and supporting. Because we're local, we can serve the unique needs of the communities we live in. And because we're global, we can address challenges that go beyond borders.
To empower volunteers to serve their communities, meet humanitarian needs, encourage peace and promote international understanding through Lions clubs.
To be the global leader in community and humanitarian service.
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. 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.
The name was not selected at random, neither was it a coined name. From time immemorial, the lion has been the symbol of all that was good, and because of the symbolism that name was chosen. Four outstanding qualities – Courage, Strength, Activity and Fidelity – had largely to do with the adoption of the name. The last mentioned of these qualities, Fidelity, has a deep and peculiar significance for all Lions. The lion symbol has been a symbol of Fidelity through the ages and among all nations, ancient and modern. It stands for loyalty to a friend, loyalty to a principle, loyalty to a duty, loyalty to a trust.
Melvin Jones was born on January 13, 1879 in Fort Thomas, Arizona, the son of a United States Army captain who commanded a troop of scouts. As a young man, Melvin Jones made his home in Chicago, Illinois, became associated with an insurance firm and in 1913 formed his own agency. He soon joined the Business Circle, a businessmen's luncheon group, and was shortly elected secretary. This group was one of many at that time devoted solely to promoting the financial interests of their membership. "What if these men," Melvin Jones asked, "who are successful because of their drive, intelligence and ambition, were to put their talents to work improving their communities?" Thus, at his invitation, delegates from men's clubs met in Chicago to lay the groundwork for such an organization and on June 7, 1917, Lions Clubs International was born.
Born in Tuscumbia, Alabama, USA, in 1880, Helen Keller developed a fever at 18 months of age that left her blind and deaf. With the help of an exceptional teacher, Anne Mansfield Sullivan of the Perkins School for the Blind, Helen Keller learned sign language and braille. A few years later, she learned to speak. As an adult she became a tireless advocate for people with disabilities. And in 1925, she attended the Lions Clubs International Convention and challenged Lions to become "knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness." The Lions accepted her challenge and our work ever since has included sight programs aimed at preventable blindness.
When it comes to meeting challenges, our response is simple: we serve. As a Lions Club member, you’ll join a local group of service-minded men and women who volunteer to support your community every day. 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.