Kiwanis Club of Gulf Shores Alabama


Kiwanis International was founded in 1915 by a group of businessmen in Detroit, Michigan, United States. The organization was originally called the Supreme Lodge Benevolent Order of Brothers, but during a club meeting, changed its name to Kiwanis. The name "Kiwanis" was coined from an American Indian expression, "Nunc Kee-wanis,"   which translated as, “We trade.” A more thorough check later revealed that a truer meaning is, “We have a good time - we make noise.” The club attracted nearly 200 members in only six months.

In 1920, the motto of Kiwanis became “We Build.” It remained the motto until 2005, when members voted to change it to “Serving the children of the world.” In the early years, members focused on business networking but in 1919, the organization changed its focus to service — specifically service to children.

Kiwanis became an international organization with the founding of the Kiwanis Club of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, in 1916. Kiwanis clubs formed in communities across the United States and Canada until the 1960s, when worldwide expansion was approved. Today, Kiwanis clubs are helping children thrive, prosper and grow in nearly 80 nations and geographic locations.  

All people are welcome to participate in the Kiwanis movement of improving communities for children. In 1987, women were invited to join. In 2008, delegates approved a resolution that calls for Kiwanis clubs to celebrate and foster inclusiveness.

Kiwanis of Gulf Shores began in 1986 with several local business leaders and their first meeting location was the Top of the Port Restaurant which is now a privately owned condominium and office building at 200 East Beach Boulevard. One of the founding members, Leonard Kaiser, is still active in the club that now meets at Villagio Restaurant and Grille at The Wharf in Orange Beach. The membership of the club has surged as high as 100 members in the mid nineties but has always enjoyed a robust roster that has produced hundreds of fundraising events from Casino Nights to Boat Poker Runs and even Sporting Clay Shoots.

It is not a stretch to say that this club has generated and returned well over $200,000 to the children of our community and beyond and had fun doing it.