Lion Kester Edwards Receives MJF Award

Special Olympics Winter World Games- Austria 2017

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The Special Olympics World Winter Games happens once every four years in a different location around the globe. This year, it took Special Olympic Athleteplace in Graz, Schladming, and Ramsau, Austria. As a big supporter of the Special Olympics, Lions were present!

March 14-25, 2017, athletes from across the world participated in the Special Olympics World Winter Games. Athletes competed in
sports such as skiing, figure skating, snowshoeing, and floor hockey.

In addition to attending the games, on March 17, Special Olympics hosted a 100 Years of Global Service celebration for Lions Clubs International (LCI). During this celebration, Past International President Wing-Kun Tam was announced as the newest member of the Grace VanderWaal, Aruna Oswal, Jason MrazSpecial Olympics Board of Directors. Adding to the reasons to celebrate, Mrs. Aruna Oswal, one of our humanitarian partners,
announced her US$1 million donation to Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) to sponsor LCI/Special Olympics’ Mission: Inclusion. The donation from the Aruna & Abhey Oswal Trust will go to fund the Mission: Inclusion expansion initiative in India. Making history, Lion Kester Edwards, a Special Olympics athlete and team member at Special Olympics International, became the first Special Olympics Athlete to receive a Melvin Jones Fellowship Award. In addition to the powerful speeches, including one from Tim Shriver, Chairperson of Special Olympics, Grammy Award winner, Jason Mraz and America’s Got Talent winner, Grace VanderWaal delighted attendees with performances.

LCIF’s Opening Eyes program also made an appearance in Graz to provide eye screenings to Special Olympics Athletes. Through this program, more than 161,000 Special Olympics athletes have received prescription eyewear since 2001.


Touchstone Story #89–Lions Humanitarian Award

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Highly visible on the world stage or quietly working in remote places to serve others in need, the amazingly diverse group of men and women honored with the Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) Humanitarian Award have one thing in common: Their work has made the world a better place.

Established in 1973, Lions’ highest honor has gone to Nobel Peace Prize winners (Mother Teresa in 1986 and Wangari Maathai in 2010) a sumo wrestler (Koki Taiho in 1982 for his efforts to promote volunteerism in Japan), heads of state (former  U.S. President Jimmy Carter in 1996 and His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand in 1999), as well as performers (actor Danny Kaye in 1974 for his dedicated work with UNICEF and soprano Barbara Hendricks in 2001 for her efforts to support refugees and international peace).

The award often caps a long life of “substantial humanitarian accomplishment.” The phrase certainly applies to the remarkable 50-year career of Dr. M. C. Modi (1989), an ophthalmologist who performed more than 5 million eye surgeries at remote “eye camps” across south India. Villagers called him kannu kotta annu ‘the brother who gifted us sight.’

All Lions can submit nominations for the annual LCIF Humanitarian Award, which may account for the wide range of causes and recipients through the years.

Presentation of the award is always a high point of the International Convention. As part of the ceremony, LCIF provides the award winner’s charitable organization a grant of up to $250,000. Lions are inspired by stories of dedicated service that reflect the organization’s ideals and principles. And the honorees receive heartfelt encouragement and financial support to carry on their humanitarian work.

Explore the exciting history of Lions Clubs International with our exclusive Touchstone Stories series.

Earthquake Relief

LCIF Awards Disaster Grants, March 2017

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Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) offers a variety of funding options to support various stages for disaster relief operations, including Disaster Preparedness, Emergency, Community Recovery and Major Catastrophe Grants.

For districts impacted by a natural disaster that has affected at least 100 people, including tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and tsunamis, Emergency Grants provide up to US$10,000. Lions district governors may apply for disaster relief funds to help meet immediate needs such as food, water, clothing and medical supplies. LCIF typically awards more than US$2 million in Emergency Grant funding each year.

In March 2017, LCIF awarded 7 emergency grants totaling US$164,046. These grants are addressing immediate needs in:

Illinois, USA, District 1-BK
US$10,000 for tornado relief

Illinois, USA, District 1-CS
US$10,000 for tornado relief

Philippines, District 301-E
US$5,000 for earthquake relief

Missouri, USA, District 26-M1
US$10,000 for tornado relief

Kansas, USA, District 17-K
US$10,000 for wildfire relief

Missouri, USA, District 26-M5
US$10,000 for tornado relief

Brazil, District LC-5
US$10,000 for flood relief

The Republic of Madagascar, District 403-B2
US$10,000 for flood relief

Brazil, District LD-2
US$10,000 for windstorm relief

Indiana, USA, District 25-E
US$10,000 for tornado relief

Morocco, District 416
US$10,000 for flood relief

Republic of South Africa, District 410-D
US$20,000 for community recovery

Peru, District H-3
US$10,000 for mudslide relief

Australia, District 201Q2
US$10,000 for cyclone relief

Tahiti, Undistricted
US$19,046 to equip schools in Tahiti


Please consider making a donation to LCIF’s disaster fund today.

Donate to LCIF


Touchstone Story #8–Best Friends

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After trying unsuccessfully to enroll Dr. Glenn Wheeler in the only guide-dog school in the U.S., Charles A. Nutting, Donald P. Schuur and S.A. Dodge of the Detroit Uptown Lions Club took matters into their own hands. If their visually impaired friend and fellow Lion couldn’t attend a school in New Jersey to be paired with a guide dog, a training center and canine companion would have to come to him.

While dogs have assisted the blind for centuries, modern dog training methods trace their roots to Germany, when thousands of soldiers returned home from World War I blinded from poison gas. As training techniques spread to other countries, including the U.S., demand for these valuable dogs grew. With a well-trained guide dog and instruction, the visually impaired could better navigate an increasingly busy world. The dogs could warn their handlers of everything from oncoming traffic to obstacles in grocery store aisles.

To help their friend and others like him, Nutting, Schuur and Dodge led their club in establishing a guide dog training school close to home. In the fall of 1938, the initial program graduated four student-dog pairs, including Wheeler and a dog named Hilda. Searching for a name for their new venture, three Detroit-area Lions Clubs held a contest for the entire Lions organization. The Coulterville Lions Club of Illinois submitted the winning entry: Lions Leader.

On April 4, 1939, Lions incorporated the Lions Leader Dog Foundation as a nonprofit, rented a small farmhouse for the operation in Rochester Hills, Michigan, and graduated its first official class at a cost of US$600 per team. A year later, the school dropped the word “Lions” from its name because the project was not an official program of Lions Clubs International, and the group wanted to expand its base of donors.

Known today as Leader Dogs for the Blind, the school has graduated more than 14,500 guide dogs since opening its doors. But its impact has been far greater. As one of the first service dog schools, it helped to popularize the idea of service dogs and started a movement by Lions to support training programs. By the mid-20th century, Lions were supporting guide dogs schools in the U.S, Italy, France and Germany.

The school’s training methods have changed over the years, and its programs have expanded to help those with hearing loss, diabetes and other health issues. But, its purpose has not altered. The center exists to provide help, not to make a profit. Although clients were once required to pay up to US$150 for training, the service has been free since 1958. Clients also receive housing and transportation while at the center. Today the average cost of training a dog is US$37,000, and Lions clubs and other individual donors and organizations provide all funding.

What started as an idea to help one man has turned into an effort that has helped many more. Currently supporting training schools in Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Norway, South Africa and the U.S., Lions are helping thousands of visually impaired people to find new independence—and often a new best friend.

Explore the exciting history of Lions Clubs International with our exclusive Touchstone Stories series.


5 Fun Facts about the Centennial Coin

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Purchase your coin today!

Our Centennial Silver Dollar Coin in the perfect way to celebrate Lions’ 100th birthday, and while many of you have seen the limited-edition coin in person or in our new video, here are 5 fun facts you might not know about the coin!

ONE: The process of creating the coin from concept to finished product took nearly 6 years!

TWO: Sandy Spring Lions Club (Maryland, USA) proposed the idea

THREE: The “Lions Clubs International Century of Service Commemorative Coin Act” was signed on October 5, 2012.

FOUR: The coin’s design pays homage to LCI founder Melvin Jones and the association’s international family of Lions.

FIVE: Coin sales offer an opportunity to improve the lives of people around the world, with US$10 authorized to be paid to LCIF for each coin sold – up to US$4 million.

Coins are only available throughout the 2017 calendar year. Purchase yours today!


LQ: Microfinance Project in India

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The above video is a segment from the October Lions Quarterly (LQ) video magazine. Lions in India partnered with ASA International to provide microfinance loans to women whose…

Video: Malawi Eye Clinic

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

As Knights of the Blind, Lions are perhaps best known for the sight services they provide to their communities — both locally and globally. The Recycle for Sight…

Relive Hamburg, Register for Toronto

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Registration is now open for the 97th Lions International Convention in Toronto, Canada, on July 4-8, 2014. The early bird registration fee is US$110 through January 10, 2014….

Palmer’s Blog: Lions Feed the Hungry

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

With all the traveling I do, I often have a good amount of down time waiting in airports. I use this spare time to share photos on my…