The Kiwanis Club of Washington, D.C. has been at work supporting youth in the District of Columbia for over 100 years. Our rich history of philanthropy and community engagement reminds us of our lasting impact on the lives of children in D.C. and encourages us to continue working towards our mission in building a brighter future for youth.

Our first club meeting was held in early February 1917 at the Burlington Hotel, previously located at 1120 Vermont Avenue NW (in the Thomas Circle neighborhood of Washington, DC). The second meeting occurred at The Ebbitt (now Old Ebbitt Grill), where attendees appointed committees and discussed future plans for the club. Subsequent meetings were held at the Corcoran Hotel (at 14th & K Streets).

A few years after our club was established, in 1920, one of the earliest photos of our members was taken at an oyster roast, an event that was held annually in the earlier years of the club.
On January 16, 1918, International President George M. Hixon visited Washington, D.C. to present and deliver our club's charter, which bears the date of May 19, 1917. 
During this year, Franc E. Sheiry started and became the editor of our club’s weekly newsletter, originally named Kiwanisgrams, later changed to KiGrams. The publication became widely known throughout Kiwanis International, with content quoted in other Kiwanis publications.
The Kiwanis Club of Washington, D.C. founded the Kiwanis Clinic in 1923, providing orthopedic services, including diagnosis, treatment, surgery, physical therapy, and counseling for children of middle and low-income families. The medical staff was composed of three Board Certified orthopedic surgeons who volunteered their time to support the Clinic.
Under the direction of President Raymond F. Garrity, to support the work of the Kiwanis Clinic and the increasing work of our club, the Board of Directors voted to form the Kiwanis Foundation. In December of that year, the Kiwanis Foundation of the District of Columbia, a 501(c)(3), was incorporated, with the first donation to the Foundation totaling $500 on December 31.
In 1948, the “KiWives” branch of the Kiwanis Club of Washington, D.C. was established (active until 1998). At a time when women were not permitted to join the Club, the wives of members joined KiWives to raise funds and contribute to our club’s service and social activities. One of the many highlights of KiWives was their scholarship assistance to The George Washington University Medical School, providing over $158,000 in scholarships.
The Key Club International Convention was held in Washington for the first time in 1949. The club participated in the convention, exploring options to sponsor a Key Club in the city.
After learning about sponsoring a Key Club at the 1949 Key Club International Convention in 1951, our club formally established a Key Club at Wilson High School, becoming the club's sponsor.
Since the earliest days of the club, dating back to 1928, the club actively encouraged D.C. Public Schools to create a school for children with disabilities, and in 1957, the school became a reality with a ground-breaking ceremony of the G. Melvin Sharpe Health School. Located in Northwest Washington, D.C., since the school's opening, our club has organized special events, including a school carnival and holiday party for the students. In 2015, the Sharpe Health School was closed with the opening of the River Terrace Educational Campus. Our club continues to sponsor activities at River Terrace.
The Kiwanis Orthopedic Clinic moved from Washington Hospital Center to Sibley Hospital. The Kiwanis Club of Washington, D.C. closed the Kiwanis Clinic in 2013 when changes to national health care and expansion of national services no longer required the Clinic.
To celebrate its 50th Anniversary, the club held a black-tie gala at the Mayflower hotel under the leadership of club President Joe Riley. International President-Elect James Moler attended the event, as did Past Presidents.
Our club helped to establish a Circle K International (CKI) club at The George Washington University, which our club continues to sponsor today.

KiGrams, the club’s original newsletter, won first place in the Capital District Bulletin Contest, a testament to the dedication and passion to create a publication that effectively highlighted the work of the club.

Club member Conrad Reid established the Pet-A-Pet program, having its first picnic during that year and continuing annually until 2012. A program for blind children, it included games, a petting zoo, and a community cookout.

In the same year, the Kiwanis International Convention took place in Washington, D.C., where President Ronald Reagan spoke. During this convention, delegates voted to allow women to join Kiwanis.
Under the leadership of club President Richard Marsh, the club hosted a celebration to celebrate its 75th Anniversary. The event, sponsored by The Kiwanis Foundation and KiWives Charities, took place at The Mayflower Hotel on May 7, 1992.
Virginia (“Jenny”) Cooper was elected as the club’s first female President. Jenny was also the catalyst for establishing the Joe Riley Youth Leadership Awards in 1997, a scholarship program for D.C. high school seniors to receive college scholarships.
The club celebrated its 100th Anniversary with a gala at The City Club of Washington under President Matt Hodson, with event chairs April Gassler and Cindy Christ (both Past Presidents). Kiwanis International Executive Director, Stan Soderstrom, visiting from Kiwanis International headquarters, provided a speech commemorating our 100 years of service.

Also, during this year, a Circle K International (CKI) club at American University and a Key Club at School Without Walls High School were chartered.

In 2017, the club donated $50,000 to DC Habitat for Humanity.
The Kiwanis Club of Washington, D.C. launched its partnership with SMYAL (Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders) to provide free, affirming, mental healthcare to LGBTQ+ youth in Washington, D.C. Through this partnership, the Kiwanis Club of Washington, D.C. commits $100,000 per year for three years to support the work of SMYAL's Mental Health Services.