Mission & History

Mission Statement

To empower volunteers to serve their communities, meet humanitarian needs,  encourage peace and promote international understanding through Lions clubs.

Vision Statement

To be the global leader in community and humanitarian service.


1917 – Begining:    In 1917, Melvin Jones, a 38-year-old Chicago business leader, told members of his local business club they should reach beyond business issues and address the betterment of their communities and the world. Jones’ group, the Business Circle of Chicago was formed.

After contacting similar groups around the United States, an organisational meeting was held on June 7, 1917, in Chicago, Illinois  USA. This new group took the name of one of the invited groups, the “Association of Lions Clubs” . Their first national convention was held in Dallas, Texas, USA in October of 1917. A constitution, by-laws, objects and a code of ethics were approved.  Within three years, Lions became an international organisation with the inclusion of Canada. Since then, Lions have earned high marks for both integrity and transparency. We’re an organisation with a steady vision, a clear mission, and a long and proud history.

Melvin Jones asked a simple and world-changing question – what if people put their talents to work improving their communities? Over 100 years later, Lions Clubs International is the world’s largest service club organisation. 1.35 million members in more than 46,000 clubs and countless stories of Lions acting on the same simple idea: let’s improve our communities.

1920  Going International:   Just three years after our founding, Lions became international when we established the first club in Canada. Mexico followed in 1927. In the 1950s and 1960s international growth accelerated, with new clubs in Europe, Asia and Africa. 

1925   Eradicating Blindness:    Helen Keller addressed the Lions Clubs International Convention in Cedar Point, Ohio, USA. Helen challenged Lions to become “knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness.” Since then we have worked tirelessly to aid the blind and visually impaired.

1945  Uniting Nations:     The ideal of an international organisation is exemplified by our enduring relationship with the United Nations. We were one of the first nongovernmental organisations invited to assist in the drafting of the United Nations Charter and have supported the work of the UN ever since.

1947  Firtst Lions Club in Australia:     The Lions Club of Lismore was chartered.

1957   Organizing Youth Programs:     In the late 1950s, we created the Leo Program to provide the youth of the world with an opportunity for personal development through volunteering. There are approximately 195,737 Leos in more than 140 countries worldwide.

1968  Establishing our Foundation:     Lions Clubs International Foundation assists Lions with global and large-scale local humanitarian projects. Through our Foundation, Lions meet the needs of their local and global communities.

1987  Ladies:     The introduction of women as a Lions member.

1990   Launching SightFirst:        Through SightFirst, Lions are restoring sight and preventing blindness on a global scale. Launched in 1990, Lions have raised more than $346 million for this initiative. SightFirst targets the major causes of blindness: cataract, trachoma, river blindness, childhood blindness, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma.  This program continues on today.

Today   Extending our reach:     Lions Clubs International extends our mission of service every day – in local communities, in all corners of the globe. The needs are great and our services broad, including sight, health, youth, elderly, the environment and disaster relief. Our international network has grown to include over 205 countries and geographic areas, why don’t you help us to do more – get involved and make a difference.