Code of Ethics
The International Association of Lions
Clubs is the world's largest and most effective community service
organization, with more than 1.4 million members. There are
more than 44,800 Lions Clubs in approximately 188 countries and
geographical areas. Regardless of what language they speak,
religion they practice or politics they espouse, all Lions are dedicated
to seeking out and helping those in need.
In 1917, a Chicago insurance agent
named Melvin Jones convinced his luncheon club, the Business Circle
of Chicago, that it should ally itself with other independent clubs
to form a national organization that would be dedicted not only
to networking for business and social purposes, but to the improvment
of the community as a whole.
the groups invited was the Association of Lions Clubs, headquartered
in Evansville, Indiana and led by Dr. W. P. Woods. At the
time of the meeting, June 7, there were several Lions clubs already
in existence, some having been organized in 1916.
Business Circle and other clubs agreed to rally under the Lions
name, and a convention was called for October in Dallas, Texas.
Thirty-six delegates representing 22 clubs from nine states
heeded the call, approved the "Lions Clubs" designation,
and elected Woods as the first president. Guiding force and
founder Jones was named acting secretary, thus beginning and association
with Lions that ended only with his death in 1961.
The convention also
began to define what the association was to become. A constitution
and by-laws were adopted, the colors of purple and gold approved,
and a start made on the Lions Clubs Objects and Code of Ethics.
Remarkably, considering the materialism
of the era, both Objects and Ethics encouraged Lions to put service
ahead of profit, and to uphold the highest standards of conduct
in business and the professions.
leaders soon began to organize clubs throughout the United States.
The association became "International" with the
formation of a club in Windsor, Ontario, Canada in 1920. Clubs
were later organized in Mexico, China and Cuba. By 1927, membership
stood at 60,000 in 1,183 clubs.
1935, Panama became home to the first Central America club; the
first club in South America was organized in Colombia the following
year. Sweden, then France, brought Europe into the association
in 1948. Japan had clubs in 1952, and the so-called "Eastern
Bloc" was unblocked in 1989 with the formation of clubs in
Hungary, Poland and Estonia. In 1990, a club was chartered
in Moscow and today over 100 Lions clubs are demonstrating the value
of service in countries once closed to voluntary action.