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Kiwanis Ann Arbor Celebrates 100 Years! 1921 - 2021

Bob Wagner  | Published on 2/3/2021

WELCOME 100 YEARS! 1921-2021

Welcome to our Centennial Year Celebration!

Kiwanis Club of Ann Arbor – Chartered on June 13, 1921

“A 100-year Legacy of Serving the Children of the World and at Home.”


We feel our informative, contemporary web site features a unique comprehensive look at our Century of Service – consistent, uninterrupted, and active – in the Ann Arbor community. Our members – men and women of all ages from diverse nationalities and back grounds-offer their personal reflections, verbal and written, about their service in the club. Another highlight are the informative and interesting video programs and photographs of our humanitarian service to the community.

In 1921, 71 diverse businessmen, educators, and retired working men of the community decided to form a Kiwanis Club. The Ypsilanti Kiwanis Club had debuted earlier in the year and served as Ann Arbor’s sponsor.  The newly organized Ann Arbor Kiwanis Club was Chartered on June 13, 1921.

The name “Kiwanis” was coined from an American Indian expression, “Nunc Kee-wanis” which means, “We Trade.”  In 1920, the motto of Kiwanis became “We Build.” It remained the motto until 2005, when its members voted to adopt, “Serving the Children of the World.”  It remains our motto today.

In 2021, the Kiwanis Club of Ann Arbor Centennial observes the legacy of growth and service through the Club and the Foundation activities that is bolstered by a diverse leadership, a dedicated board of directors and 22 working committees. In 2002, the 1,000th member of the club was installed.  Currently, the club’s 160 members remain focused and flourishes despite the COVID-19 virus and challenging world and local events: the Depression, World War II, the Vietnam and the Afghanistan wars and the national issues facing the country through 100 years of 17 presidential and congressional administrations.

Web site menu contents:

  • ~ A review of the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital Project of member service and support:
  • ~ Early club revenue projects of newspaper sales and card parties;
  • ~ The renowned Kiwanis Thrift Sale (continuous since 1927);
  • ~ Sponsorship of other Kiwanis Clubs;
  • ~ Ann Arbor Kiwanis and the Bleinheim, Ontario InterClubs (40 years);
  • ~ Purchase and activity at the Kiwanis Activity Center (1966-2016);
  • ~ Salvation Army Bell Ringing during the holiday season;
  • ~ Women becoming members of Kiwanis (1987);
  • ~ The pride of members’ Perfect Attendance, some exceeding 50 years.
  • ~ Memory Gems – in video and in writing of member recollections of their club membership:
  • ~ Photos of Club Projects and Activities through the century (1921-2021)
Written by: Dale R. Leslie, member Kiwanis Club of Ann Arbor, November 8, 2020