Basically, if you are interested in service, you can be a Lion---even if you happen to be famous. Celebrity Lions include Edmund Hillary of the Remuera Lions Club in New Zealand; Amelia Earhart, an honorary member of the New York City Lions Club; Admiral Richard Byrd of Washington D.C. Lions Club; Jimmy Carter of the Plains Lions Club in Georgia; Gerald Ford of the Grand Rapids Lions Club in Michigan; honorary member Helen Keller; Larry Bird of the French Lick West Baden Lions Club in Indiana; Roberto Clemente of Carolina Country Club Lions Club in Puerto Rico; Johnny Rutherford of the River Oaks Lions Club in Texas; and Chester Gould of the Woodstock Lions Club in Illinois.
Lions Clubs International is the world's largest service club organization. We have 1.35 million members in more than 46,000 clubs worldwide.
Lions have a dynamic history. Founded in 1917, we are best known for fighting blindness –it's part of our history as well as our work today. But we also perform volunteer work for many different kinds of community projects – including caring for the environment, feeding the hungry and aiding seniors and the disabled.
Lions are active.Our motto is "We Serve." Lions are part of a global service network, doing whatever is necessary to help our local communities.
Lions give sight. By conducting vision screenings, equipping hospitals and clinics, distributing medicine and raising awareness of eye disease, Lions work toward their mission of providing vision for all. We have extended our commitment to sight conservation through countless local community projects and through our international SightFirst Program, which works to eradicate blindness.
Lions serve youth. Our community projects often support local children and schools through scholarships, recreation and mentoring. Internationally, we offer many programs, including the Peace Poster Contest, Youth Camps and Exchange and Lions Quest. And our Leo Program provides personal development through youth volunteer opportunities. There are approximately 144,000 Leos and 5,700 Leo clubs in more than 140 countries worldwide.
Lions award grants.Since 1968, the Lions Clubs International Foundation has awarded more than US$700 million in grants to support Lions humanitarian community projects around the world. Together, our Foundation and Lions are helping communities followingnatural disasters by providing for immediate needs such as food, water, clothing and medical supplies – and aiding in long-term reconstruction.
For nearly 100 years, our members have worked on projects designed to prevent blindness, restore eyesight and improve eye health and eye care for hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Lions volunteer to take part in sight projects that have:
Since 1990, Lions have raised US$415 million through two SightFirst fundraising campaigns to help provide vision for all.
51 YEARS AGO
U.S. President John F. Kennedy privately met with Lions President Per Stahl of Sweden at the White House. Kennedy accepted an honorary membership as a Lion, the first honorary membership he had ever accepted from a civic or fraternal group. Stahl also gave the president the Lions' Head of State medal, an onyx desk set with the Lions emblem and a rare Swedish plate coin from 1726. Kennedy expressed a "keen interest" in Lions' youth exchange program.