Key Club was established in May 1925 in Sacramento, California by the local Kiwanis organization. Educators who sought to replace fraternities with a "more wholesome activity for youth" first introduced Key Club at Sacramento High School. The idea was to form a high school service club and allow students the capability of contributing to their own communities.
Within a few years, it was evident that Key Club was gaining popularity across the United States. Many Kiwanis groups became interested in the service club's activities and soon sponsored similar organizations in there own cities. In 1939, Florida established enough clubs to hold a state convention and formed the first Key Club district. By 1940, fifty clubs were active in California, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Washington. In 1943, Key Club districts across the United States traveled to Florida for the first International Convention in which the first International President was elected -- Malcolm Lewis from West Palm Beach, Florida.
In years to follow, the organization continued to develop. The Kiwanis International Board of Trustees recommended the movement to all clubs in 1942 and directed the Boys and Girls Work committee to undertake the sponsorship of these clubs as an activity for high school students. In 1944, the Kiwanis International Committee on Sponsored Youth Organizations was created to "look after Key Club work." Additionally in 1946, a Key Club Department was formed to record and handle correspondences, provide a link between Key Clubs and Kiwanis, and conduct the annual International conventions. During the same year, the first Canadian club was established and the official Key Club International "Keynoter" newsletter was published.
Key Club continues to grow not only in the United States, but around the world. It has spread to seventeen countries and thirty-two districts. Undoubtedly, Key Club International lives up to its name as a club that serves the world. Key Club is an organization built to serve our "home, school, and community." Though its title may be a bit ambiguous, it calls its distinction through the services it promotes. Key Club is known for its active responsibility in helping the community as a whole by coordinating outings to nursing homes, orphanages, and homeless shelters, to name a few. In general, Key Club's primary mission and objective is to serve those in our community and those around the world.