The History of Lionism

A Chicago businessman named Melvin Jones wanted to expand the horizons of local business clubs from pure business to concerns for the community and the world.

His idea was shared by fellow members of his group, the Business Circle of Chicago, and was explored with similar organizations from around the United States of America. At an organizational meeting held at a local hotel on June 7, 1917. The "Association of Lions Clubs" was voted into existence. A national convention was then called in Dallas, Texas, U.S.A. in October 1917.

At the national convention, 36 delegates representing 22 business clubs from 9 States approved the "Lions Clubs" designation. Dr. William P. Woods of Indiana, USA became the first President. The guiding force and founder, Melvin Jones, became the Secretary. The first convention also began to define what Lionism was to become.

Community leaders soon began to organize Clubs throughout USA. The Association became "international" with the formation of a Club in 1920 in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Clubs were then formed in other countries such as Mexico, Cuba, Panama, Columbia, Sweden, Switzerland, and France. By 1952, the first Club in Japan was chartered. Since then, the Association has become fully global.

In 1925, Helen Keller addressed the Lions international convention in Cedar Point, Ohio, USA. She challenged Lions to become "knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness." From this time, Lions clubs have been actively involved in service to the blind and visually impaired.

As of 2011, Lions Clubs International has over 1.35 million members in 46,000 clubs in 207 Countries and their geographical areas.


The Lion Motto & Slogan

The motto of every Lion is simply "WE SERVE".
The slogan of Lionism is "Liberty, Intelligence, Our Nation's Safety."


Lion Official Colors

The official colors are purple and gold. Purple stands for loyalty to friends and to oneself. It also stands for the integrity of mind and heart. Gold symbolizes sincerity of purpose, liberality of judgment, purity in life and generosity in mind, heart, and purse toward one's fellowship.


The Emblem

The emblem consists of a gold letter "L" on a circular gold area with two lion profiles at either side facing away from the center. The word "Lions" appears at the top and "international" at the bottom. Symbolically, the lions face both past & future...proud of the past & confident of the future.


Lions Code of Ethics

To show my faith in the worthiness of my vocation by industrious application to the end that I may merit a reputation for quality of service.

To seek success and to demand all fair remuneration or profit as my just due, but to accept no profit or success at the price of my own self respect lost because of unfair advantage taken or because of questionable acts on my part.

To remember that in building up my business it is not necessary to tear down anothers; to be loyal to my clients or customers and true to myself.

Whenever a doubt arises to the right or ethics of my position or action towards my fellow men, to resolve such doubt against myself.

To hold friendship as an end and not a means. To hold that true friendship exists not on account of the service performed by one to another, but that true friendship demands nothing but accepts service in the spirit in which it is given.

Always to bear in mind my obligations as a citizen to my nation, my state and my community, and to give to them my unswerving loyalty in word, act and deed. To give them freely of my time, labor and means.

To aid my fellow men by giving my sympathy to those in distress, my aid to the weak, and my substance to the needy.

To be careful with my criticisms and liberal with my praise; to build up and not destroy.


Objectives of Lionism

To create and foster a spirit of understanding among the peoples of the world.

To promote the principles of good government and good citizenship.

To take an active interest in the civic, cultural, social and moral welfare of the community.

To unite the clubs in the bonds of friendship, good fellowship and mutual understanding.

To provide a forum for the open discussion of all matters of public interest; provided, however, that partisan and sectarian religion shall not be debated by club members.

To encourage service-minded men to serve their community without personal financial reward, and to encourage efficiency and promote high ethical standards in commerce, industry, professions, public works and private endeavors.




Thank you goes to Jack Wilmeth - Waterford Lions CLub for permission to modify and use this page which also contained work done by Sik-On Yu. Updated on occasion without their permission to reflect current statistics.