Club History

Kiwanis Club of Bellevue, Washington has been serving our community since 1951.  Our members advocate for and support programs that help local children, youth and families.  We believe "ONE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE ONE CHILD AND ONE COMMUNITY AT A TIME".

The club was formed by the late Dick Clarke of the Renton Kiwanis. Who with the support of his brother scoured local Bellevue businesses for like-minded community service people. The first meetings were held at the Crabapple restaurant which was located in what is now Bellevue Square.  November 1, 1950 was the actual beginning of the club. On January 17th, 1951 - 37 charter members were inducted at a banquet of over 300 local friends, family and businesses.

Over the years, Bellevue Kiwanis has been instrumental in helping build community service as Bellevue grew from a small town into the full-fledged city it is today - 

  • (1950’s) - Bellevue Welcome signs and ongoing beautification projects, building fund for Overlake Hospital, providing new flags for every classroom as two new states were added to the union.
  • (1960’s) - Y.M.C.A building fund and 40’tee-pee structure at Camp Terry near Preston, building fund for Boy’s Club, ‘Kites’ program locating jobs for well over 200 high-school students, financial assistance for students at the new Bellevue Community College and Heads-up program for parents and teens.
  • (1970’s) - 'Kiwanibus' for transporting senior citizens and youth groups, sponsorship for a new club in the Philippines, improvements to Hidden Valley baseball park and acquired a wheel chair accessible bus for Highland Center.
  • (1980’s) – Spear headed the regional Special Olympic games which later moved to Renton and established the Highland Games, established and sponsored (4) high school Key Clubs, built bathroom facilities at Camp Brinkley Boy Scout camp in Monroe and electric doors for Bellevue Community College to support the disabled, funded training for handicapped and support for Eastside Domestic Violence programs.
  • (1990’s) – Salvation Army toy collection, scholarships for children to attend Sambica recreational camp, local Food Bank collection, and Bellevue club was first in the PNW district to present the “Know to Say NO” drug education program to over 500 school children.
  • (2000’s) – Started funding, cooking and serving feeding program in partnership with Crossroads Center, donated industrial stove to the Highland Center to continue with the feeding program through the Salvation Army.

And we haven’t stopped. We continue to find opportunities to bring community needs and resources together to improve the lives of all people within our community.  100% of money raised through the community has been used for service projects.

Fun Facts:

  • Our longest running events – Sports award scholarships (1964), Choral award scholarships (1968), BBQ Beef fundraiser (1978) and Highland Games (1980)
  • Most successful fundraiser – the BBQ Beef sales initiated by Gerald Herman raising to date well over $400k
  • Current member longevity -
    • Chuck Simonson (1959) – Legion of Honor & Life Member - has held every club position and has family members who were part of the first Kiwanis Club which was started in Detroit.
    • Gerald Herman (1970) – Club president 1977 and Kiwanian of the Year 1978-1979
    • Jim Rosenwald (1972) – Has served as President and currently our long time Treasurer
    • Additional members with 25+ years – Sherry Grindeland, Joseph Murashie, Al Shott