The Kiwanis Club of Omaha, Inc. (known as the Downtown Club) was officially recognized by Kiwanis International on January 23, 1919. The first club president was Joseph Barker. By 1933 the club had grown to 88 members. From 1960-1978, the Kiwanis Club of Omaha sponsored five other Kiwanis clubs: Westside, Bellevue-Offutt, Tri-Cities, Red Oak and Greater Omaha.
Over the years the club has held many fundraisers, including pancake feeds, gumball sales and other events. In 1992, the 1st Annual Kiwanis Cup Invitational Golf Tournament was held as the club’s primary fundraising event.
We help the community in a variety of ways, including sponsoring the Creighton University Circle-K, the Oakdale K-Kids, Boys and Girls State Representatives and a participant to Kiwanis Camp OK. Through the club’s Young Children Priority One Committee, the club also distributes money from the Kiwanis Club of Omaha, Inc. Foundation to deserving youth serving organizations. In 2018 that total was $30,000.00.
The Kiwanis Club of Omaha has been active in civic affairs. Since 1950 the club has served as a team sponsor for the Men’s College World Series. On September 20, 1974 a dedication was held celebrating the transformation of a dumping ground along Abbott Drive into a city park. On October 19, 2007, improvements to Kiwanis park were made including the addition of a gazebo, lighting, flagpoles, plantings and underground sprinkler system. In recent years, the City Of Omaha has taken over the maintenance and care of Kiwanis Park and in 2017 the Gazebo was moved to Johnny Goodman Golf Course.
The Kiwanis Club of Omaha, Inc. also has a long history of hosting international visitors. The club is the only service organization that is an affiliate of the U.S. State Department National Council of International Visitors, now called Global Ties.