Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe History

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Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to improving the world one child and one community at a time. For more than a century, Kiwanis has created opportunities for children to be curious, safe and healthy regardless of the community in which they live.

When you give a child the chance to learn, experience, dream, grow, succeed and thrive, great things can happen. Kiwanis and its family of clubs –– Circle K International for university students, Key Club for students age 14-18, Builders Club for students age 11-14, Kiwanis Kids for students age 6-12 and Aktion Club for adults living with disabilities –– annually raise more than $100 million and dedicate more than 18.5 million volunteer hours through 150,000 annual service projects to strengthen communities and serve children. Members also make an impact throughout the world by participating in Kiwanis International’s Global Campaign for Children, The Eliminate Project: Kiwanis eliminating maternal and neonatal tetanus.

Founded in 1921, The Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe was the first service club in Santa Fe and since that time, its members have been active in serving the youth and community of Santa Fe.

Notable projects completed by the Club through the its history include: Purchasing benches for the Santa Fe Plaza; originating the plan of laying flagstone on the Plaza; building a tennis court for the old Santa Fe High School; and donating land on Galisteo Street, so that the Works Progress Administration (WPA) could construct the Villagra building. In 2016, the Club made a major grant to the Boys and Girls Club of Santa Fe to create a new playground for the southside Zona del Sur.

In 1965, The Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe formed The Santa Fe Downtown Kiwanis Foundation in order to protect, preserve and promote the unique arts, music and cultural traditions of Santa Fe through Zozobra, an iconic arts event created in 1924 by Will Shuster, one of Santa Fe's Los Cinco Pintores and gifted in perpetuity to the Santa Fe Kiwanis.

The Foundation has provided college scholarships to deserving high school seniors, and in the mid-1990s, the Foundation added consideration of scholarships for students of two-year degree programs. In 1978, the Foundation also began making grants to Santa Fe County non-profit organizations that meet the basic needs of youth: Health and medical; food, clothing and shelter; education, arts, and recreation.

All these accomplishments have been made possible by the net proceeds from our annual production of the Burning of Will Shuster's Zozobra. Over the years, Zozobra has given back $1.9 million to help the children of the community grow and thrive. The Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe is currently engaged in active planning for the 96th Annual Burning of Zozobra to be held on Labor Day Friday, September 4, 2020.

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