The Kiwanis Club of Greenville, SC was organized on Thursday, September 8,
1919, with fifty charter members, and the charter was officially received on
Friday, September 20, 1919. This brief review of the Club’s principal
activities over the years shows it has effectively lived up to a Kiwanis
motto - “We Build.”
During the 1920’s Kiwanians annually staged one of the city’s most
anticipated events - an amateur talent show that packed the leading theater
of that day. Proceeds from the show went to build a children’s wing at the
Greenville County Tuberculosis Hospital and in addition the Club contributed
to dozens of other community efforts.
The Depression years of the early 30’s proved trying ones for the young club,
but the determined efforts of a handful of members kept the group together
and strengthened its operation. Talent Shows continued to be a project of
the club, and a new fad was introduced to Greenville - Donkey Baseball.
Members put muscle, seed and fertilizer into a garden for the Greenacre
Children’s Home. Milk and diphtheria vaccinations were provided for needy
children, and club members formed one division in the annual Community Chest
In 1937, the Club inaugurated a Golf tournament for high school boys in the
two Carolinas. In more recent years, it has become the official championship
event for the 4A division of the South Carolina High School League. Twelve
five-man teams participated in the 1982 tournament which was held at the
Furman University Golf Course. This tournament continues until this day, and
is believed to be the longest sponsorship of any high school athletic event
in the nation. The Club now holds a meeting near the scoreboard during the
tournament and enjoys a buffet luncheon with the coaches and players.
During the war years of the 1940’s, Greenville Kiwanians planted “Victory
Gardens” to produce vegetables for Greenacre and Bruner Homes and gave
$10,000 to build the “Kiwanis Cottage” at the new Children’s Center on
Rutherford Road. Greenacre and Bruner Homes merged into that facility.
In the 1950’s, the Club built and operated for several years a miniature
passenger train in McPherson Park, which delighted thousands of children.
Also it conducted, even into the 1960’s, an annual “Kid’s Day” in cooperation
with Donaldson Air Force Base. The event attracted as many as 7,000 boys and
girls each year. At the same time, the Club began sponsoring Little League
baseball and football teams in civic leagues. 1961 saw the start of the
annual Kiwanis Travelogue series, which was accepted by the community as one
of its outstanding educational and entertaining attractions. Other
benefactors during this decade included gifts to Birnie Street YWCA Center
and 4-H Club program in Greenville County. The Club also contributed
generously to equip United Speech and Hearing Services and helped Miracle
Hill borrow the money to construct greenhouses.
During his presidential term in 1967, Ed Potter set as a priority the
establishment of the Greenville Kiwanis Foundation. Patrick C. Fant, Sr.
handled the legal work and writing of the by-laws. The Foundation was
incorporated during the term of William Rosenfeld in 1968.
The Club celebrated its 50th birthday in 1969 and started the decade of the
1970’s by working with Junior and Senior High Schools in the county on the
problem of drug abuse. Also, substantial gifts were made to the Greenville
YMCA to purchase and operate its Youthmobile in cooperation with Furman
University student volunteers. In 1974, the Greenville club sponsored and
organized a new Kiwanis Club in Simpsonville, a new Circle K Club at
Greenville Technical College, in 1975, a new Kiwanis Club in Easley, and in
1979, a new Kiwanis Club in Mauldin. In 1975, the Greenville Club received
national recognition for its services to senior citizens through the Scott
Tower gardening project and the Senior Action Center.
Highlights for 1979-80 were the organization of the Kiwanis Club of North
Greenville County and a Key Club at Greenville Senior High School. The
School Safety Patrol of the City of Greenville, the YMCA Soccer League, and
the Senior Citizens were major service projects. In addition to its major
service projects, donations were made to Meals on Wheels and to the
Governor’s School for the Arts.
In 1980, The Greenville Police Department initiated a Inner-City Youth
Softball League. For 27 years we have been a co-sponsor of this program.
The program is credited with being a turning point factor in the lives of
many young people. Other service projects which the Greenville Club
supported during the 1982-83 Kiwanis year: School Safety Patrol and Summer
Camp, Senior Action Center, and Salvation Army Boys Club. During the
1983-84 year, the Club purchased a van for the Greenville Association for the
Retarded. We began our long term support of the Greenville Hospital System’s
Neo-Natal Follow-up Clinic, which evaluates the developmental progress of
premature and sick newborn babies, during preschool years.
Among the Club’s new projects for 1984-85, was the Every Child a Swimmer
Program, a joint venture with the Greenville Chapter of the American Red
Cross. This program is now named Learn to Swim and over 300 third and fourth
graders are taught survival swimming at the four County pools each June. In
1985, a station wagon was donated to the Furman University Collegiate
Educational Services Corps, which provides transportation and other
assistance to needy groups in the Greenville area.
One of the most rewarding sponsorships of the Greenville Kiwanis Club is the
Terrific Kids Program which began in 1986. The program honors one student
each month/quarter from each class as a “Terrific Kid” for that period. The
child receives a certificate, T-shirt, car bumper sticker, pencil and a fast
food certificate. A reception serving cake and a drink follows the awards
ceremony. Strossner’s Bakery has generously supplied beautiful Terrific Kids
cakes for the past ten years. The six criteria used as a basis for the
awards selections are:
School work performed to his or her capabilities Have
work completed on time
Show respect and consideration to teachers and other students Have a good
Show respect for school property Have
Terrific Kids continues to expand both here and throughout Kiwanis
International. Over two million elementary aged children were touched by
this program during the 1992-93 school year. In 1999-2000, our Club
sponsored eleven Terrific Kids Schools. In 2007-2008, the number has grown
to 14 and the Bring Up Grades (BUG) program is also held at each of the
After Kiwanis International first allowed women into membership in 1987,
Kelly Sherman Ramirez became our first female member in August of that year.
She is the daughter of our 1986 President, Robert H. Sherman. Sue Bready
became the first woman President of our Club in 2002 and the second, Loretta
Hartzell is serving in the 2007-2008 term. Kiwanians have participated in the
Children’s Miracle Network Telethon, manning the phone lines to raise funds
for the Children’s Hospitals. In 1988 & 1989, we were involved with the
Special Olympics, providing uniforms and travel bags for the Monaview
Elementary School team.
Starting in 1988, and for three years, we held a Christmas party, complete
with Santa Claus, food, and gifts for the women in distress and their
children from Family Service Center. We were the primary sponsoring Club in
the forming of the Kiwanis Club of Greenville-Eastside, chartered on October
28, 1993. In 1994, we began as a sponsor of the Blue Ridge Council of Boy
Scouts to provide the awards for the Eagle Scout program.
Starting in 1985, funds for our service projects were raised from a pancake
breakfast, most years held at Eastside High School. The Eastside Club has
continued that event. Under the leadership of Mike Smith, the Club began the
Million Dollar Hole-in-One Shootout golf event which was conducted for three
years. For the past five years and again in 2008, the Club's primary
fundraiser will be the Spaghetti Dinner/Silent Auction. The event will be
held at First Presbyterian Church on Friday, March 7.
As an organization dedicated to service, Kiwanis is always seeking qualified
men and women who would like to join us in our effort. If you agree with the
objectives of Kiwanis, and would take pride in being active in the type of
civic duty which we perform, we would welcome discussing this club with you
in more detail. Just contact any member, expressing your interest.
02-12-2008 01:27:30 Posted by: Dennis J. Doherty, Jr.