Our Club History

"You ask why I value Kiwanis. I value the fellowship that comes from working in common purpose with friends. I value what I learn from the very good speakers we have. I also value what I learn from my fellow Kiwanians."
Ted Crichton, Brigadier General, Retired
US Air Force

Since 1919, the Kiwanis Club of Greensboro has been an active contributor to the Greensboro community as it has provided fun, fellowship and outstanding speakers to its members and countless volunteer hours and dollars in service to children.

The club was chartered on October 23,1919, just four years after the founding of Kiwanis in Detroit in 1915. The third club chartered in North Carolina after Asheville and Charlotte, the Greensboro club quickly grew to more than 100 members. Today, 90 years later, we are one of the largest clubs in the world.

Our meeting places have been the O’Henry Hotel (the original), the King Cotton Hotel, several YMCA locations, and beginning in 2003, the Downtown Marriott Hotel. Our speaker’s podium came from the old O’Henry Hotel, and the stand for the check-off list was built by Jan Hensley when his father served as assistant secretary for attendance.

Only seven secretaries have served the club, with Dr. Joseph M. Garrison holding the longest record, serving from 1967 to 1993.

Women have been members since 1987, but it was not until 2005 that the first female president was elected, Jane R. Whichard.

The Greensboro Kiwanis Foundation was created in 1958 under the leadership of President Floyd Hendley. The foundation represented a change away from the annual fund-raising projects of selling a quota of dates or nuts. Our annual foundation campaigns support service to children up to age 18 in accord with the Kiwanis International mission of serving the children of the world.

Over the years a number of diverse programs have been funded through the foundation, including the early “Sight Saving Class” to aid children of low or impaired vision; a bus equipped for transporting students at Gateway Education Center; playground equipment; a child-care room at the YWCA; a mobile arts program van; and the Kiwanis Sea Kove hands-on exhibit at the Natural Science Center.

Smaller projects serving children from birth to age five are allocated funds by the Priority One Committee. Our Hands-On programs involve members in a variety of community outreach, including the distribution of shoes, belts and dictionaries to local schoolchildren; bell-ringing for the Salvation Army; and volunteer assistance at the Fourth of July, and Christmas parades, zoo programs and the local pro golf tournament.

Our giving extends far beyond the borders of Guilford County as our club members have contributed more than $100,000 to the Hixson Awards fund to support the Kiwanis International Foundation’s work with UNICEF to eliminate Iodine Deficiency Disorder in Third World countries.

Each year, we also contribute to both the Carolinas District Foundation and to the Kiwanis International Foundation.

Our club newsletter, the Kiwanis Kannon, was named for the Winchester Starter cannon donated in 1936 by Will Preyer. Firing of the cannon signals the annual installation of a new club president. Archives of the club are stored in the Kiwanis Room at Greensboro College.

Adapted from “A Brief History,”
by Nollie Neill, '56 Kiwanis