Lions Clubs International History

1917: The Beginning of Lions Clubs International

In response to social problems created by World War I and rapid industrialization, a Chicago businessman named Melvin Jones invites business clubs from around the USA to a meeting where the Association of Lions Clubs is formed.

1920: Lions Go International

Just three years after founding, Lions International becomes international when the Border Cities Lions Club in Windsor, Canada is established. At the time, Lions were active in 23 U.S. states with a total of 6,400 members.

1925: Becoming “Knights of the Blind”

Helen Keller addresses Lions at the International Convention in Cedar Point, Ohio, USA. She famously challenges Lions to become “knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness.” This begins a century-long mission—impacting hundreds of millions of lives through vision-related work.

1945: Uniting Nations

Lions and other representatives from 46 nations meet to help establish the NGO section of the United Nations (UN), underscoring Lions International’s commitment to a “certain and lasting peace for the world.” Today, Lions continue to work with the UN at the annual Lions Day with the United Nations and…

1990: Launching SightFirst

Lions launch a campaign to help restore sight and prevent blindness on a global scale. More than 488 million people have been impacted over the last 30 years.