History of the Kiwanis Club of Granville; Granville Kiwanis Foundation (501c3)

Serving the Children of the World and Granville’s Community Since 1962


During the summer and fall of 1962, Kiwanis Club members from Newark, Moundbuilders, and northwest Licking (Johnstown) recruited Granville area businessmen, educators, and professional people for the purpose of establishing a Kiwanis Club in the community of Granville.  The recruiting campaign letters and personal visits produced a Permanent Organization Roster of 27 interested individuals.  The Kiwanis Club of Granville, Ohio was chartered on November 19, 1962.  Of the original 27 charter members, only Bill Brady remains and continues to be an active member, helping at our service projects and mowing grass in our maple grove.  Bill has made above-average contributions to the club by serving on the Board of Directors numerous years, as President, and chairmanships too numerous to mention.  Baird Krueger (dec) served Division 10E as Lt. Governor and the Ohio District as District Treasurer.  Both men were awarded the Legion of Honor Award for 50 years of consecutive service to Kiwanis. The award was presented by Immediate Past International Kiwanis President Alan Penn and wife Jeri Penn at the club's 50th Anniversary/President's Party on November 19, 2013 at the Granville Inn. Both men were also recognized for 50 years of perfect attendance. In 2015, the Kiwanis International society will celebrate 100years of service with clubs around the world. It's first club was formed in Detroit, Michigan and celebrated on January 24, 2015. The second club formed in October 1915 in Cleveland, Ohio. Newark Ohio Kiwanis Club will celebrate 100 years in 2017.

The early club membership was all male. When the Kiwanis International allowed women to join in the club in the 1980s, the Granville Kiwanis quickly inducted it first female member Dr. Robin Bartlett in 1989. According to Dr. Bartlett, another service club in town invited her to speak but she declined since they would not allow women to join. She wanted to do things for the community and the Kiwanis Club welcomed her. She enjoyed putting up the wooden bleachers at the 4th of July. Apparently she was the only one at the time who knew the pattern of short and long boards. She was in charge of the 4th of July for many years, updating their notecard system into a computer system, and enjoyed very much putting up tents, which continues to be one of our major fundraisers. Robin left the club in 1999 as Vice President when she moved out of Granville to live in Thornville. She currently works at Denison in the Dept of Economics and loves that Kiwanis "does things" and is still very active in the community. Sheila McGrath was the club's first female President. Both women were honored with Kiwanis "I Care" Awards in 2013 at our 50th Anniversary dinner for their significant contributions and pioneering efforts to the club. The Kiwanis Club of Granville is proud to be the first all-male club in Granville to allow women to join. 

The club membership was 76 as of August 2014.

The Kiwanis Club of Granville is a service club for men and women that meet every Monday evening at 6:15pm for a dinner meeting and program.  The traditional meeting place has always been the Granville Inn.  However, in 1972, ownership of the inn passed from Ms. Sallie Jones Sexton to the Paul Kent family.  While renovations were being made, a few meeting were held elsewhere.  Over the years, the Granville Inn has proven to be one of the most popular meeting places in Kiwanis Division 10E. In August 2014, the Granville Inn was sold to Denison University and is undergoing major renovations. During this period through April 2015, the club is meeting at the Denison University Huffman Hall President's Room on campus and dining with the students in the adjacent dining hall when they are in session. The club meets at McPeek Lodge when the college is not in session. The meeting schedule is posted on the club website and emailed to the members in a weekly agenda. Since August 2014, Past President and Div10E Lt Gov Walt Chaney started writing a weekly 2-3 page educational and informational report called the "Monday News," which is distributed to the active members via email. Details of meetings, information about service projects, bios of current members and upcoming events are communicated to the club. Entertaining and inspirational, Walt's Monday News helps keep the club members informed.

As Kiwanis projects grew in number and complexity, the need for an equipment storage facility near the center of the village became apparent.  Thanks to the generosity of a donation of land from Mrs. Lucile Chilcote, and a generous gift from Kiwanian John Gee, blueprints were drawn and construction started on a 30 x 40 foot storage facility, known as the Kiwanis barn.  This building was completed in August 1992 for a cost of approximately $16,500. 

Over the lifetime of the club there has been a long procession of Kiwanis Monday night dinner meeting speakers which have included students, teachers, administrators, authors, coaches, athletes, politicians, businessmen, and agency directors.

Noteworthy speakers have included Jimmy Crum, TV sportscaster: Marc Guthrie, State Representative: Jungle Jack Hanna, Columbus Zoo Director Emeritus: George Hill, assistant coach to Woody Hayes: Bill Hosket, OSU Olympic and professional basketball player: General Paul Warfield Tibbets, pilot of the B-29 Enola Gay that bombed Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, Ralph Shuping, Bataan Death March survivor: Lea Ann Parsley, Silver Medalist in the skeleton race at the 2002 winter Olympics: Denison NCAA Division lll Women’s National Champion Swim Team and Betty Montgomery, Ohio Attorney General to name just a few.

In the early 1960’s sponsorship of Granville’s Annual July 4th Celebration and Parade passed from the 20-30 Club to Granville Kiwanis.  This major community event and fund raising project was expanded to a four day street celebration.  The Granville 4th of July is our club’s signature event and most visible contribution to the community. This event has become the town’s “official homecoming” and has grown to become the largest Independence Day celebration in Licking County. The event includes concessions, rides, free daily entertainment on our Grandstand, a Kiwanis food tent, mile-long-parade on the 4th of July, a fireworks display at Wildwood Park (formerly on the Granville Golf Course), Granville's Got Talent show, Photography and Essay Contests, Bingo and the Rotary Firecracker 5 Mile Race on the 4th of July. For the past few years, the Granville Kiwanis Foundation has been awarded a grant from the Granville Foundation to contribute to the cost of the fireworks display. Granville is one of the few local fireworks displays to continue to be offered.

Another funding activity is the Maple Syrup Project.  Since 1972 community maple trees have been tapped and the sap water collected, boiled, bottled and labeled to produce Kiwanis Maple Syrup.  This product is made at the fabled smoking sugar shack on the Louden Crest Farm of member and past president Bob Warner. The sugar shack was recently rebuilt and updated in 2013 equipped with new boiling pans and facilities. The club sponsors educational outreach to the Granville Elementary School and Welsh Hills School, where students learn how to make syrup first-hand. Individuals in the community now make syrup on their own thanks to a free course offered by the club at McPeek Lodge in February 2014, which will be hosted by Dawes on Jan 31, 2015.

Other annual community service projects and fundraisers include the annual Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast, Maple Leaf 5K, GHS Roundball Classic/Basketball Tournament, Christmas Tree Sales, Tent-Chair-Table-Stage Rentals, Circus (biannual),  and Chicken BBQ in the past.  The tent project provides area residents with the choice of white pinnacle or a traditional white-blue pole tents for weddings, parties, reunions, events. Proceeds from the tents, chair, table and/or stage rental benefit the Granville Kiwanis Foundation charities and committees including the Kiwanis Scholarships to GHS and CTec.

In 2009, the Granville Kiwanis Foundation was created as a class II, 501c3 charitable organization. The Foundation serves as the charitable arm of the club. The foundation budget supports the charitable donations provided by the committees and 7 member  Board of Directors. The Committees include the Young Children Priority One (0-5 years of age), Youth Services (6-18 years of age), Service Leadership Programs (GHS Key Club, Watkins Memorial HS Key Club, GMS Builder’s Club, Boy Scout Troop #65), Scholarship, Agriculture and Conservation (formerly Community Service), Spiritual Aims, Tents, 4th of July, Maple Syrup Project and Maple Grove, Roundball Classic, Maple Leaf 5K and Pancake Day.

The Kiwanis Club of Granville is involved in numerous service projects that merit recognition, participation and financial support to provide for causes considered beneficial to the community.  These include: Adopt A Highway roadside trash pickup in the spring and fall, ticket taking/selling at GHS basketball games and MSL cross country meets, Punt, Throw and Kick contest, Salvation Army bell ringing, village Christmas tree lighting, Easter baskets for the Mental Health America of Licking County, Wildwood park weatherproofing, landscaping at the Y.E.S. Club, building of a playhouse at New Beginnings Shelter, support of the GPL/GRD Turn Your Screen Off Week Learn to Fish Event, healthy food drives and the creation of Bi-Centennial Park at Whitepoint to celebrate Granville’s 200th anniversary. The club celebrates each year with a Kiwanis One Day service project in April, as well as the United Way Day of Caring. Last year the club helped major renovations and painting of the Granville Senior Center.

Other club sponsored activities and youth programs include: awarding scholarships to GHS and C-Tec graduating seniors, sponsoring the Granville HS Key Club, the Watkins Memorial HS Key Club, the Granville Middle School Builder's Club, Little League baseball teams, delegates to HOBY summer seminar workshops at Denison and the Key Club Service Leadership Program and Granville’s Boy Scout Troop #65.

The club funds many charitable projects and organizations through its committee structure. A sample list of charities that we serve includes many local groups including New Beginnings Shelter and Services, the Y.E.S. Club, the Hugh O'Brien Youth Leadership Program (HOBY), Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), Boy Scout Troop #65, two Key Clubs, a Builder's Club, Little League Baseball teams, Help Me Grow, Women's Coalition of Care, Action Ohio, Mental Health America of Licking County, The Licking County Food Pantry Network, the Salvation Army, Help Me Grow, Big Brother/Big Sister of Licking County, Hope Farm and more.

The Kiwanis Club of Granville look forward to many more years of involvement because we still believe that a vibrant caring community is the best place to live and the best place to rear and educate children. We continue through our service projects and fundraisers to serve the children of the world and those in need.

Kiwanis motto: "Kiwanis is an international organization of volunteers, dedicated to changing the world, one child and one community at a time."

First Kiwanis club: The first Kiwanis service club was chartered in Detroit, Michigan in 1915.

Kiwanis Membership: There are clubs in over 80 nations and territories worldwide with over ~600,000 members including our Student Leadership Programs (Key Club, Circle K, Builder's Club and Aktion Club).

Female Firsts: Kiwanis International will be the first once all-male service organization to elect a woman as International President (Sue Petrin, from Michigan, in 2015, also the 100th anniversary of Kiwanis International).

Fun Fact: What does the word "Kiwanis" mean?  The term, pronounced kəˈwänis/ki-WAH-niss is borrowed from a Native American phrase, "Nunc Kee-wanis," meaning, "We trade" or "We trade or share our talents."