Kiwanis - Serving the Children of the World
Nashville
Serving the Children of the World
A Brief History of the Kiwanis Club of Nashville

Our club was founded October 25, 1916, a year after Kiwanis became a reality. The late Wilbur Creighton (member) proudly told us three members of his family, R. T. Creighton and R. M. Dudley (grandfathers) and W. F. Creighton (father), were charter members and our club met first at the Commercial Club on Union Street way back then.

Kiwanis was founded on January 21, 1915 in Detroit, Michigan. The first Kiwanian was a merchant tailor named Joseph Prance. The original name was "The Benevolent Order of Brothers," and its purpose was the mutual exchange of preferred treatment in professional and business dealings.

Within a year, the name had been changed to "Kiwanis," taken from an Indian term "Nun Keewanis," which roughly means 'self expression.' It had also become obvious that the original purpose lacked the power to attract and retain members. The purpose of the organization thus became 'community service,' a concept from which Kiwanis has never deviated. A little later, Kiwanis 'bought itself' from organizer Allen Browne, 'incorporated itself,' and began following a steady growth pattern which continues today.

In 1916, Kiwanis entered Canada (Hamilton, Ontario), thus becoming international. Kiwanis moved into Mexico in 1962, breaking its long-standing tradition of serving only in the U.S. and Canada. International extension has continued since then, and today Kiwanis serves the needs of over 90 countries around the world via 8,900 clubs and over 260,000 members with another 300,000 in the Kiwanis family's Service Leadership Program clubs (K-Kids Clubs in elementary schools, Builders Clubs in middle schools, Key Clubs in high schools, Circle K in colleges and universities, and AKtion Clubs serving the developmentally disadvantaged.

Our club is the largest in our Kentucky-Tennessee district and is one of 16 clubs sporting the Kiwanis emblem in Middle Tennessee.