The process of building a new Kiwanis Club in the Hillcrest community of San Diego has reached a most satisfying conclusion, as the Hillcrest All-Inclusive Kiwanis Club has officially become the newest addition to Division 21.
The club appropriately signed their charter paperwork during National Pride Month on June 14, nearly 72 years to the day that the first Hillcrest Kiwanis Club originally chartered on June 16, 1949. Hillcrest had not had any official Kiwanis presence since the Hillcrest-Mission Hills Kiwanis Club folded in 1986. That 35-year drought comes to an end with the addition of this new club, which, in accordance with the demographics of the neighborhood it serves, will be focused on the needs of the LGBTQ populace.
Both Hillcrest and Kiwanis itself have transformed radically over the past 35 years, and it’s already become apparent that the new Hillcrest All-Inclusive club isn’t going to be “your grandfather’s old Kiwanis Club.” The club is so named in order to emphasize that membership in Kiwanis open to everyone, regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, political or religious beliefs, or other labels.
Club President Neill Kovrig, who served twice as President of the former San Marcos Kiwanis Club in Division 37, has been enthusiastically promoting the club’s forward-thinking approach to service and membership, while at the same time educating newer members about some of the time-honored traditions of Kiwanis, such as Happy Dollars, the bell and gavel, DCMs and Conventions, and, well, "bell borrowing."
“Some clubs might not appreciate it,” he says, “but it’s a great way to get them to show up for an Interclub.”
The club elected its new officers – including Vice President Kathy Wiskur, Secretary Kate Kovrig (Neill’s mom), and Treasurer Jeff Hall – at a June 14th gathering at the Shakespeare Pub, just down the hill from Hillcrest. Visiting in person all the way from her home in Hacienda Heights, new club building guru Anna Wu was instrumental in helping the group navigate its way through the charter paperwork and standard form for club bylaws. The club has already been recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)4 nonprofit organization.
The new Hillcrest All-Inclusive Kiwanis Club has chartered with 18 new members, two corporate members, and has continued to add to that total by recruiting yet another new member at their first official meeting.
Kiwanis International is a global community of clubs, members and partners dedicated to improving the lives of children one community at a time. Today, we stand with more than 550,000 members from K-Kids to Key Club to Kiwanis and many ages in between in 80 countries and geographic areas. Each community has different needs, and Kiwanis empowers members to pursue creative ways to serve the needs of children, such as fighting hunger, improving literacy and offering guidance.
Kiwanis clubs host nearly 150,000 service projects each year.