Circle K International

Circle K International (CKI) is an international collegiate service organization associated with Kiwanis International. It promotes service, leadership, and fellowship. With over 13,250 members, it is the largest collegiate service organization of its kind in the world.


Circle K International is a service organization dedicated to helping the community through various service projects across the United States. It is part of an umbrella of organizations lead by the adult version of the club: Kiwanis International. In addition to helping the community, Circle K International strives itself in building fellowship and creating leaders within the members.

Circle K International also fundraises for various causes. The major initiative is: “Focusing on the Future: Children” which aims to help children of ages six to thirteen. In 2007, Circle K partnered with the U.S. fund to help raise $500,000 for UNICEF in efforts to help children around the world who do not have access to clean drinking water. This fund raising initiative is called: Saving Lives – The Six Cents Initiative. It got its name from: “the cost to purchase one pack of rehydration salts to purify a day’s worth of drinking water”. These efforts to raise money help raise awareness while encouraging others to do more and help out the community.


I pledge to uphold the Objects of Circle K International, to foster compassion and goodwill toward others through service and leadership, to develop my abilities and the abilities of all people, and to dedicate myself to the realization of mankind’s potential. (See Controversy)


In 1936, the “Circle K House” at Washington State College was established by the Kiwanis Club of Pullman, Washington. Organized as a fraternity, Kappa Iota Phi served men who needed financial aid to attend college. Kiwanians also wanted to provide collegiate students leadership opportunities for their future careers and work service projects to better their communities while having a sense of fellowship. In 1947, Circle K changed from a fraternity to a service organization. That year, the first Circle K club was chartered at Carthage College in Carthage, Illinois. In 1949, two more clubs were added, and by 1955 there were 147 clubs, at which point Circle K received official endorsement from Kiwanis International. Circle K International adopted the Kiwanians beliefs by establishing the three tenets of Service, Leadership, and Fellowship to bring a sense of purpose to the organization.

The Kiwanis International Board of Trustees accepted a proposal to allow the establishment of Circle K Districts on February 22, 1957. The very first Circle K District to be officially recognized was the Texas-Oklahoma District. The second Circle K District was Kentucky-Tennessee which was closely followed by Michigan. Four more Districts were added in the 1957-58 administrative year: Missouri-Arkansas, California-Nevada-Hawaii, Ohio, and Alabama.

One of the most dramatic episodes in the history of Circle K came in 1971, when the delegates at the International Convention voted to allow women into the organization. The move was initially met with resistance by Kiwanis, which must approve all changes to the Circle K governing documents. After nearly two years of debate, the Kiwanis International Board of Trustees approved the change on February 6th, 1973 and Circle K became the first co-ed organization in the Kiwanis Family. In 1984, Susan E. McClernon was elected the first female International President of Circle K International.

In 1975, Gregory Faulkner was elected to the position of International President. Faulkner was the first African-American International President. Faulkner's election and the admission of female members was symbolic of the new level of maturity and responsibility Circle K International had assumed over 20 years of service, growth and development.

At the International Convention in 1987, the delegates approved the use of the initials CKI as an official name of the organization. That same year, Kiwanis International voted to allow women into Kiwanis clubs. Key Club had gone co-ed in 1977.

As of the end of 2005, membership consisted of over 13,250 college students in 17 nations around the world. Most of the Circle K membership currently resides in North America, in 30 Districts recognized by Kiwanis International. Twenty-seven districts are entirely within the United States, while three districts are international representing Canada and the Caribbean. These three Districts are the Pacific Northwest (made up of Oregon, Idaho, Washington, and the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and the Yukon), Western Canada (Alberta and Manitoba), and Eastern Canada and the Caribbean. Districts-in-Formation exist in Eastern Canada, Central and South America, Australia, and the Pacific Rim.

Circle K International celebrated its 50th anniversary at the 2005 International Convention in Greensboro, North Carolina. The International Convention's theme was, "CKI's 50th Anniversary: 50 Never Looked So Good".


Currently largest chapter of Circle K is the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI.

Membership dues vary by district. Dues cover one year of membership.


CKI operates on a three-tiered system similar to Kiwanis International and Key Club International. The International Board oversees organizational policy, growth and international expansion. The International Board is elected at the International Convention held in a different city each summer. The Board is composed of an International President, Vice-President, and seven Representatives who represent districts that comprise their sub-region. Districts were formerly counseled by Trustees that were added in 1987. The last Circle K International Board of Trustees left office in August 2007 and were replaced with the Board of Representatives, the first of which is now serving. The International Board meets four times a year. For the clubs who are not in established districts, the International Board serves as their primary point of contact.

The 2008-09 International Board:

International President: Kristen Reed (New York District)

International Vice-President: Ricardo Torres (Pennsylvania District)

International Representatives:

Sub-Region A: Tracy Meyer (Pacific Northwest District)
Districts: Montana, Pacific Northwest, Utah-Idaho, Western Canada

Sub-Region B: Sarah Foley (Southwest District)
Districts: California-Nevada-Hawaii, Rocky Mountain, Southwest

Sub-Region C: JJ Sadler (Illinois-Eastern Iowa District)
Districts: Illinois-Eastern Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota-Dakotas, Wisconsin Upper-Michigan

Sub-Region D: Klint Neal (Texas-Oklahoma District)
Districts: Kansas, Louisiana-Mississippi-West Tennessee, Missouri-Arkansas, Nebraska-Iowa, Texas-Oklahoma

Sub-Region E: Christa Fry (West Virginia District)
Districts: Kentucky-Tennessee, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia

Sub-Region F: Eric Hotchkiss (New York District)
Districts: Capital, New England, New Jersey, New York

Sub-Region G: Kathryn Geiger (Carolinas District)
Districts: Alabama, Carolinas, Eastern Canada & Caribbean, Florida, Georgia

International Committee Chairs serve Circle K International by being experts in a particular field and running committees to complete tasks that directly affects the membership.

International Committee Chairs

Executive Committee: Kristen Reed
Membership Development & Benefits: Klint Neal
Marketing and Kiwanis Family Relations: Christa Fry
Service: Kathryn Geiger

District Boards provide support and guidance to the Circle K clubs within their geographical area. All districts are headed by a Governor, who oversees the District Board members that usually consist of a District Secretary, District Treasurer, District Bulletin Editor, and Lt. Governors. Several Districts combine two District positions into a District Secretary/Treasurer. District Conventions are held every year (in February or March depending on the District) for member education, club officer training, and election of the District Board. Districts are charged with implementing International policies within their represented clubs. All District Boards are responsible for club building, Kiwanis Family relations, laws and regulations, membership retention/education, and planning District events for the membership (e.g., District Convention).

Club Boards (also known as club officers or club Executive Boards) are an important aspect of CKI, second only to the club members, as they are the elected leaders who work within their community. Club Boards work with their District Boards on membership recruitment strategies, Kiwanis Family projects, membership retention and education, and social events. Also, Club Boards plan community service projects and social events for their members. CKI recommends all clubs to elect their new Club Boards before their District Convention.


Member Pledge

There has been some concern about the inherent gender bias in the member pledge. In 2003, during the Circle K International Convention (ICON) in Indianapolis, IN an amendment to insert gender neutral language and better reflect the organization's current membership by changing the wording "mankind" to "humankind" failed.

Regionalization, finances, and House of Delegates

Concern has also arisen due to proposed restructuring changes presented as "The Case for Change" by the 2005-2006 Structure Task Force. Although major parts of Phase I of "The Case for Change" failed at ICON 2006, some parts were resurrected for ICON 2007.

At ICON 2006 in Boston, discussion of the proposed regionalization plans and other structure changes led the delegates to the longest house of delegates session in the history of the organization.

At ICON 2007 in Portland, several amendments failed. These included a new club dues structure, the elimination of the offices of International President and Vice-President, and measures allowing clubs outside of the district structure.

At ICON 2008 in Denver, the House of Delegates made the decision to change the financial structure of the organization from dues to a fee system. This is still pending Kiwanis approval today. The delegates also elected Kristen Reed from the New York District as the youngest International President to ever serve the organization. Reed was 19 years old and had previously served as an International Representative on the inaugural Representative Board to Sub-region F.


External links

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