A History of Excellence
Kiwanis' defining statement is that, "Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world, one child and one community at a time." The purpose of Kiwanis is to improve fellowship through service world wide.
In 1914 in Detroit, Michigan, Allen Simpson Browne conceived the idea of a new type of club , an organization compatible with what he believed to be a growing desire in the business community for a club of men interested in business and professional relationships. On December 7, 1914 he took his ideas into the merchant tailor shop of Joseph G. Prance who accepted Allen's offer to become the first member of what would become Kiwanis.
The original name of Kiwanis was the Supreme Lodge of Benevolent Order Brothers, but was later changed to Nun-kee-wanis, a term with a variety of interpretations such as: "We have a good time." "We make noise." "We trade." "We advertise." With Kiwanis as its name, the first club, Detroit, Michigan registered sixty signatures on January 7, 1915.
Kiwanis originally was viewed and advertised as as a method of contacting other business and professional people in the hope of expanding business. Most members joined for this expressed purpose, never expecting the club to grow to a much larger calling.
The 1924 Kiwanis International Convention in Denver, Colorado, became known as the "Constitutional Convention." In the process of finalizing a complete International Constitution and Bylaws, Kiwanis officially adopted the name Kiwanis International and its six permanent objects.
Until 1962, Kiwanis Clubs were located within the United States and Canada. But, after 40 years of debate, delegates to the 1961 International Convention in Toronto, Ontario approved the expansion of Kiwanis to the rest of the world.
On December 13, 1962 the Kiwanis Club of Nassau was formed becoming the first club outside the continental Americas and Canada. The Nassau Club was sponsored by the Kiwanis Clubs of Ontario and East York, in Canada. The Charter President for the Kiwanis Club of Nassau was Sir Asa H. Pritchard.
The Kiwanis Club of Nassau as the other Kiwanis Clubs within the Bahamas are apart of the Eastern Canada and Caribbean District (E.C. & C District of Kiwanis International). E.C. & C. District is 1 of 48 Districts within Kiwanis International. Our Division is one of 29 Divisions within E.C. & C. District; and the Bahamas is referred to as the Sunshine Division or Division 22.
Currently there are ten (10) Kiwanis clubs within the Bahamas, they include: Nassau, Ft. Montagu, Over-the-Hill, Cable Beach, Nassau A.M., New Providence, Freeport, Eight Mile Rock, Exuma (Satellite Club) and Great Harbour Cay (Berry Islands)
Kiwanis' motto is "Serving the Children of the World." This was changed from "We Build" during the Kiwanis International Convention held in Hawaii in 2005.
Prior to 1987 Kiwanis, the international organization, was an all male organization. It was not until the 1987 Kiwanis International Convention that clubs approved the admission of female membership. Since then the Kiwanis Club of Nassau inducted its first female member, and its first Board Member in the persons of Phillippa Ferguson-Wilson and Sylvia Sealy-Godet, respectively in 2004. The club elected its first female President in the person of Monique Pratt in 2007.
On December 13, 2012, the Kiwanis Club of Nassau celebrated 50 years of service to the Bahamian community.