Celebrate Exchange Day
annually on March 27th
The National Exchange Club is celebrated today, on the anniversary of the founding of the first local Exchange Club, in Detroit, Michigan, in 1911. The second club was formed two years later in Toledo, Ohio. Two more clubs were formed—in Grand Rapids and Cleveland—and the National Exchange Club was then organized in 1917. It was formed by businessmen who wanted to exchange ideas and information on how to help and serve their communities. Women were not originally permitted, but were allowed starting in 1985.
Today the Exchange Club is the only service organization that exclusively serves communities in the United States. There are more than 650 local clubs with almost 20,000 members. They focus on family, community, and country. Exchange Clubs sponsor activities using their three Programs of Service—Americanism, Youth Programs, and Community Service—as well as their National Project which focuses on the prevention of child abuse. The Americanism Program of Service promotes pride in country, appreciation for freedoms, and gratitude for those who have served in the armed forces. It also celebrates the country's heritage and works to create unity. Youth Programs focuses on things that benefit and encourage the youth. College scholarships, youth mentorship, and service recognition are all a part of this Program of Service. Community Service focuses on assistance, service to neighbors, and things in the community.
The National Program, which was adopted in 1979, focuses on the prevention of child abuse. It provides many public awareness materials to inform and raise awareness about child abuse, and also raises awareness by working with government agencies, and local and national partners and communities. The National Program participates in Child Abuse Prevention Month each April, and holds other events of its own. It also has child abuse prevention experts that work with at-risk families.
The organization has also been involved in many important historical events in America. After World War I, it was a proponent of military preparedness and also promoted aviation. Along with other organizations it led to get "one nation under God" added to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954.