Background on the Kiwanis Club of Ottawa

Basic Facts

The Kiwanis Club of Ottawa (KCO) is part of Kiwanis International, a world wide service organization of 600,000 members in over 8000 clubs in 90 countries around the world.

The KCO was formed in 1917 as the third Club in Canada, and has met continually since that time every Friday at the Chateau Laurier Hotel. The Club currently has about 175 members who include some of Ottawa's leading business and professional men and women. The KCO is one of 20 Clubs in the Ottawa Hull area that make up District 12 and 13 of the Eastern Canada and the Caribbean. The KCO is the 12th largest Club in Kiwanis International, and the 2nd largest fund raiser. The KCO is the largest Kiwanis Club in Canada. The Club is organized into an executive and 15 committees which take on the service, fund raising and social actions of the Club.

Direct Focus on Youth Today The Kiwanis International motto is 'One Can Make a Difference', and the KCO lives up to that motto in ways that range from hands on service to fundraising

The KCO sponsors and guides youth organizations which include high school and university Clubs from Kiwanis. Four Key Clubs at Glebe Collegiate, Lisgar High School, Sir Robert Borden, and Nepean get guidance and support. In addition both the University of Ottawa and Carleton have active Circle K Clubs sponsored by the KCO. The Kiwanis Music Festival provides opportunities for 12,000 youths to showcase their talents. The KCO sponsors the 211 Air Cadet Squadron and the Governor General's Foot Guard Cadets both financially and through committee member assistance. Kiwanis provides funding through its Youth and Community Services Committee which funds cases of last resort.

The KCO has been very actively involved in Kiwanis International's World Service Project to eliminate Iodine Deficiency Disorders through the IDD committee.

The Club has helped establish a 'Reading is Fundamental' program at Connaught School in Ottawa to provide Grade 1 children with the extra help required to develop not only reading skills, but a love of reading.

With partners, the KCO produced a video on Shaken Baby Syndrome which is targeted at educating young parents on the danger that shaking presents to infants. Over 5,000 copies of the video have been distributed to date.

A History of Partnering to Help Children The highest profile event organized by the KCO is the Kiwanis Duck Race for Tiny Hearts at Cheo. The race has raised over $3,000,000 for the Children's Hospital over its 11 year history.

In 2000, the KCO led local Kiwanis Club in donating $1,000,000 to CHEO's Promise Campaign.

In 1998 the Club released the video “Never Shake a Baby: what parents and caregivers need to know” to provide education on the issues and dangers of shaking a baby.

A mortgage of $100,000 was made available to the Youth Services Bureau to permit the acquisition of a building.

The KCO partnered with ACT Foundation the introduction of a CPR program in Ottawa high schools, a program that has already saved lives, and is currently being rolled out across all Ontario schools.

In 1960, KCO helped establish the Ottawa Chapter of the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis foundation.

The KCO started and operated Camp Banting for diabetic children for 30 years - the first of its kind in Canada.

KCO founded the Ottawa Boy’s Club in 1924, now the Ottawa Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa-Carleton, with continued support including $25,000 to the centretown unit in 1977 and in the same year $100,000 to help build the Britannia branch.

KCO has been involved with Big Brothers, Big Sisters, Operation Go Home, Champions for Children Foundation, and many more organizations which are focused on youth.