Blue Spruce Kiwanis was founded in 1969 as an outgrowth of Evergreen Kiwanis. In 2015, Evergreen Kiwanis re-merged with Blue Spruce Kiwanis. We are back to a single club: Blue Spruce Kiwanis.
Currently our signature project is the Big Chili Cook-Off, an annual benefit for mountain-area volunteer fire departments. It is held every September on the weekend closest to September 11th. Other events and projects include the downtown Evergreen Halloween Walk, the Christmas Walk, the Wilmot School Pancake Breakfast, the Soles4Souls shoe drive, Geneva Glen Camp clean up, the Evergreen Rodeo Pancake Breakfast, Triple Bypass aid station, Slacker Half Marathon aid station, wooden toy making, Highway 74 clean-up, and others.
Kiwanis International originated in August 1914 in Detroit, Michigan from a conversation between Allen S. Browne and Joseph G. Prance. Browne's idea was to solicit business and professional men asking them if they would be interested in organizing a fraternal organization with a health benefit feature. Browne was compensated five dollars per new member that joined for his operating budget. Browne and Prance set out and recruited enough members to apply to the state for a nonprofit status. The state approved the application on January 21, 1915 and the Supreme Lodge Benevolent Order Brothers was formed. The name was changed to Kiwanis a year later. By 1927 the organization had more than 100,000 members.
Kiwanis became international with the organization of the Kiwanis club of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, in 1916. Kiwanis limited its membership to the United States and Canada until 1962, when worldwide expansion was approved. Since then, Kiwanis has spread to all inhabited continents of the globe.
The original purpose of Kiwanis was to exchange business between members and to serve the poor. The debate as to whether to focus on networking or service was resolved in 1919, when Kiwanis adopted a service-focused mission. In 1924, the Objects of Kiwanis were adopted and remain unchanged today.
Each year, clubs sponsor nearly 150,000 service projects, complete more than 18.5 million hours in volunteer service and raise more than $100 million. As a global project in coordination with UNICEF, members and clubs contributed more than $80 million toward the global elimination of iodine deficiency disorders (IDD), the leading preventable cause of mental retardation.
Beginning in 2010 Kiwanis International joined with UNICEF to launch a new worldwide health initiative, The Eliminate Project, dedicated to wiping out maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT), which kills more than 100,000 babies worldwide each year.
Until 1987 the organization accepted only men as members. By action of the International Convention in 1987, the rules were changed to admit women as well. Women constitute about 26% of total members. At the 2013 International Convention, Sue Petrisin was elected as the organization's first female international vice president. Petrisin was installed as Kiwanis International President in 2015, the year of the organization's 100th anniversary. She is the first female to lead any major member service organization.