Founding of the Club
The Kiwanis Club of Tempe (KCOT) traces its beginning to the post-World War II boom that saw populations expand across America, and small desert communities like Tempe grow and gradually mature. The Club was chartered on Feb. 20, 1952, through the work of the Phoenix Valley of the Sun Kiwanis Club, the 55th oldest Kiwanis Club, founded in 1918. For months, its sent members into Tempe to target men who had the interest, time and and will to be active in a civic service club. It was on a Wednesday night that 26 recruitments to the Kiwanis movement gathered at the now-gone Desert Landings Grill as its charter members. Harry Burger was elected as the first president. It was determined that regular weekly meetings would be noon Thursdays at the American Legion Hall. At one of the first meetings, a few members of the New York Giants baseball team that had played in the 1951 World Series showed up and provided a movie highlights of their series with the Yankees. The first major project was to hold a city fireworks show at now-razed Goodwin Stadium. "A whiz-bang display of pyrotechnics" of 185 "aerial pieces" was offered, along with an American flag of "colored fire," a "Niagara Falls" plus such entertainment as gasoline powered model airplanes and a trampoline demonstration. Proceeds would go for "underprivileged children," the club history said. About 2,000 saw that first firework show that generated $1,483 in gross income and $1,244 expenses, leaving $230 in net income. The fireworks resulted in to small fires, one in which a fireball fell on a house on East 14th Street and toasted the composition shingles. The other fell onto stadium seating. By August of that first year, KCOT was sponsoring the Miss Tempe contest that would lead the winner to Atlantic City and the Miss America contest. The club would give her $100 for her personality, intelligence and talent. Seven competed for the prize. The winner, Mary Lou Lindly, went on to be chosen Miss Arizona and go to Atlantic City. By the end of the Club's first year, members was designing a float for Salad Bowl parade -- and KCOT was well on its way.
Supporting College Students through Circle-K
KCOT sponsors ASU Circle K Club whose focus on service to the community, building tomorrow’s leaders, and creating fellowship between Circle K members is key. Service, a fundamental element of Circle K International, is exemplified by the more than one million hours of service on Circle K members contribute on campuses and in communities annually. A primary focus of Circle K, and shared with Kiwanis International, is serving the children of the world. Circle K International has crated a service initiative called Focusing on the Future: Children. This initiative encourages members to address the issues facing children ages six to 13 and to find solutions through service for addressing these issues. Our club donates $5,000 annually to support our Circle K Club.