Club History

The proud history of the Kiwanis Club of Bradenton dates back to the early 1920’s. 
On August 22, 1922, the Manatee River Kiwanis Club was Chartered by Kiwanis International. The Club later changed its name to the Kiwanis Club of Bradenton.

Here are some highlights of the club acheivements over the last 9 decades.

1923 Club sponsored a meeting about building a paved road between Bradenton & Arcadia
1929 Club funds and builds 3 cabins at Camp Flying Eagle

1935 Bradenton Chamber of Commerce asks the club to build a trailer park to attract tourists
1936 Kiwanis Trailer Park was founded and work to build begins. Lot rent is $1.50 per week.

1940 Manatee High School Key Club established
1945 Club starts and provides funding to Boys Club 
1947 25th Anniversary
1948 Garden Club received a building in Lewis Park from Kiwanis
1949 Club donates $5,000 to Manatee Veterans Hospital 

1950 Club provides funding to build little Girl Scout House in 17th. Avenue West
1951 Club funds major building program for Boys Club 
         Trailer Park profits exceed $50,000 for the first time. 
1953 Kiwanis Hall opens
1954 We sponsor two new clubs, Anna Maria and Palmetto
1956 Club provided $70,000 to build a new Boys Club building, and sells 4 acres to Presbyterian Church for a retirement home
1958 Kiwanis Recreation Park is started

1960 Trailer park operations pay more than $100,000 to the club 
1961 Our member Sterling Hall is Governor of Florida District
1962 Trailer Park auditorium is completed & dedicated to RM Beall for 25 years of service to club. 1965 New Shuffleboard courts, bleachers & horseshoe pits completed for Trailer Park
1966 Club purchases land on 34th. Street West for Bayshore Branch of the Boys Club 
1967 Construction begins on Bayshore Boys Club building

1970 Club honors Hal McRae, husband of member Johncyna McRae
1972 50th. Anniversary
         Charter member Bob Beall is honored for 50 years of service to Kiwanis
         US Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz is a guest at our 50th. Anniversary celebration 
         Mortgage and notes for Bradenton Trailer Park are paid off
1973 Charitable distributions total $206,210 
1974 Boys Club becomes minority owner of Bradenton Trailer Park
         Club purchases 3 acres and donates it to DeSoto Boys Club
1975 4H building is enlarged, Club pays for project.
1976 First Kiwanis Club of Bradenton scholarships awarded to graduating high school seniors.
         Club contributes to Junior Olympics, Childrens Haven, Meals on Wheels & Boy Scout Camp 1977 Groundbreaking for YMCA on 59th Street West on land purchased by Club.
1978 Club donates $500,000 seed money for the construction of a new Manatee Civic Center
1979 Inaugural Better Manatee Day  Charitable distributions total $260,000 
         10 acres donated, 5 each to Girls Club and YMCA on 59th Street West

1982 Member John Hamner from the Bradenton Herald contacts Bob Bartz at the Chamber to organize a leadership program.  
1983 Inaugural class of Leadership Manatee, club partners with the Chamber to provide funding and launch this program. 
1984 Club purchases property on 14th Street W & 17th Avenue for United Way Office 
1985 $400,000 Charitable budget
1986 Inaugural Kiwanis Prayer Breakfast
1987 Kiwanis International opens membership to women

1991 Kiwanis supports Manatee County Nursery School, Salvation Army Day Care and Downtown Daycare Center
1992 Kiwanis brings the Stagg Bowl to Bradenton
         A van is donated to Headstart
1993 $645,000 Charitable budget
         Our first year as a sponsor to the Kids Fishing Tournament
1994 Kiwanis Club of Bradenton Foundation, Inc. is established
         The Kiwanis Club of Bradenton welcomes its first female member, Dr. Gladys Branic
1995 $50,000 is donated to Kiwanis International’s Iodine Deficiency Program (IDD) in a worldwide eradication effort. 
         Florida Club of the Year
1997 75th Anniversary, 
         Trailer Park sold to park residents, proceeds from sale are turned over to Clubs Foundation  
         $50,000 to new Manatee Community Blood Center
1998 Better Manatee Day project was Palma Sola Bay cleanup with over 2000 volunteers.
         Jeb Bush is a guest speaker.
         Girl Scouts Receive $10,000 grant for “little house” renovation.
1999 The first Kiwanis meeting at a Pirates Spring Training Game was held. 
         Better Manatee Day consisted of 27 projects.

2000 Julie Ross is the Club’s first woman President
         Coordinated with a delegation from the Czech Republic to expand Kiwanis in Europe.  
         Started American Patriotism Week in Bradenton, guest speaker was General Tommy Franks from US Central Command 
         FL. Secretary of State Catherine Harris speaks to the club. 
2001 September 11, 2001, terrorists attack the United States
2002 80th Anniversary, Theme is “Heroes & Friends” recognizing the relationship between KI,
         Circle K, Key Club, Builders Club & K-Kids. 
         Club recognized for its for its continued support of the annual Golden Herald Awards.
2004 $80,000 to Manatee County YMCA 
         Club’s International Committee sponsored a trip to the Bahamas, Dr. Branic gave health tips.
         A Bahamian delegation of Kiwanians visited out club.  
         An Italian Business/Sports delegation visited Bradenton & the club to see how we can help underprivileged children and gave us $2000 to help.  
2005 Club provides 3 year funding grant to launch the College & Career Resource Center at MHS.
         Partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters to expand clubs student mentoring program.
         Club receives MCF Spirit of Manatee “Community Spirit Award”
         $50,000 to Junior League
         40 years of scholarships to Manatee County High School Seniors 
         Ronde & Tiki Barber attend MHS Key Club Bookfest at 13 Ave. Community Center.   
2006 The idea of building the Kiwanis Human Services Center is considered
         $50,000 donated to Anna Maria Island Community Center 
         Club newsletter converts to email.
2007 Club donates $100,000 to Manatee Players/Performing Arts Center 
         $100,000 grant to Meals on Wheels Plus 
2008 $75,000 grtant to S. Florida Museum Bishop Planetarium, total grants awarded $291,000. 
         An additional $126,000 awarded to Meals on Wheels Plus, total grants over 4 years $326,000 
2009 $65,000 grant to Take Stock in Children scholarship program
         30th Annual Better Manatee Day;
         Our foundation transtions to a Public Charity

2010 to present
2010 Two club officers attend Kiwanis International Convention in Geneva Switzerland
         Christmas in August event is launched 
         Purchased supplies and packaged 10,000 meals for Kids Against Hunger
2011 $457,555 contributed to our community including
         90-$1,000 scholarships are awarded to Manatee County High School Seniors.
         Purchased supplies and packaged 20,000 meals for Kids Against Hunger 
         Additional grant of $250,000 to Manatee Players, total contributions to date $350,000. 
         Letter of intent to contribute additional $1.1M to Manatee Players/Performing Arts Center to build out the second floor hall. 
         Club votes to permanently relocate to the new hall at Manatee Players. 
         Total grants and scholarships back to our community exceed $5.5 million since 1997 & sale of the trailer park.
2012 90th Anniversary 
         $370,000 contributed to our community  
         Purchase supplies and packaged 30,000 meals for Kids Against Hunger. 
         Inaugural Kiwanis Corn Hole Classic event to benefit Christmas in August.  
         MYP Sponsor
2013 Club relocates its permanant home to the Manatee Players/Performing Arts Center and sells Kiwanis Hall on 14th Street West. 
         Bradenton Christian Key Club joins our clubs Youth Leadership sponsored programs.
         Collaboration with Tiger Bay Club begins for joint meetings.