History of The National Exchange Club

Charles A. Berkey is credited with the founding of this great organization. At his suggestion, the name “Exchange” was selected because the group wanted to exchange ideas and information with like-minded individuals about how to better serve their communities.

The first local Exchange Club was formed in Detroit, Michigan in 1911. The second was the Exchange Club of Toledo, Ohio formed in 1913. Subsequently, two others were organized in Grand Rapids, Michigan and Cleveland, Ohio. These four clubs were the first to be chartered by the National Exchange Club after it was organized as a nonprofit, educational organization in 1917. Since then, hundreds of clubs have been chartered in the United States and Puerto Rico, with nearly 28,000 members making a positive difference in their own communities everyday.

We are America’s Service Club. From our organization’s earliest days, Exchange Clubs have been unselfishly serving their communities and improving the quality of life. The diverse array of Exchange-sponsored programs and projects has made a considerable impact on America, enhancing the lives of countless men, women and children across the nation.

Milestones of National Exchange

1911 – The first Exchange Club formed in Detroit

1913 – The second Exchange Club organized in Toledo

1917 – First convention of several Exchange Clubs – constitution adopted.

1919Book of Golden Deeds is established national program in 1923

1920 – Nashville’s first Exchange Club is established (now the Nashville Downtown Exchange Club).

1927 “Covenant of Service” adopted

1928“Aviation” adopted as a national project focusing on marking buildings to aid aviation – note 1927 reasons for deaths in airplanes – sponsored 1929“National Women’s Air Derby”

1933 – The National Exchange is called upon by President Franklin Roosevelt to help fight the depression

1941 – The National Exchange backs the war effort and the US Savings Bond program.

1947 – The observance of “National Crime Prevention Week” adopted as a national program.

1948 – The “Boy of the Month and Year” program adopted and in 1971 changed its name to “Youth of the Month and Year.”

1949 – The “Freedom Shrine Project” (set of historic documents) is adopted.

1965 – Three areas of service; 1) American Citizenship, 2) Community Service, and 3) Service to Youth.

1966“Fire Prevention” becomes a nationally recommended project.

1972 – “Milestones of Freedom” project is adopted as an adjunct to the “Freedom Shrine” project.

1976“Proudly We Hail” is adopted to encourage display American Flag.

1976 – May 22nd – Bellevue Exchange Club established – a copy of the original program is in Bob Allen’s archives.

1979“Child Abuse Prevention” is adopted as a national project.

1981 – The first Exchange Club Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse opened in Fort Pierce, Florida – Nashville’s Exchange Club Family Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse established in 1985.

1981 – Project “Give a Kid a Flag to Wave” is adopted.

1981 – The “Blue and Gold Wounded in Service Award” is adopted as Exchange’s highest tribute to law enforcement personnel who have been wounded or killed while serving their community.

1983 – “Young Citizenship Award” is established at the 65th National Convention in Nashville, Tennessee to honor young men and women who strive to be good citizens at home at school and in the community.

1992 – Accepting the Challenge of Excellence (ACE)” award is adopted as a part of the Program for Service for high school students who have overcome obstacles.

1999 – The National Exchange Club co-sponsors the “23rd Annual Air Race Classic”in June where many historical aviation-related items are donated by the Exchange to the International Women’s Air and Space Museum.

National Exchange adopts programs for the needs of the time

Each Club is unique and develops projects for their communities