Charles A. Berkey is credited with the founding of this great organization. At his suggestion, the name “Exchange” was selected because the group wanted to exchange ideas and information with like-minded individuals about better serving their communities. The first local Exchange Club was formed in Detroit, Michigan, in 1911. The second was the Exchange Club of Toledo, Ohio, formed in 1913. Subsequently, two others were organized in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Cleveland, Ohio. These four clubs were the first to be chartered by the National Exchange Club after being organized as a nonprofit educational organization in 1917. Exchange sponsors activities designed to benefit, award, and develop our nation’s youth, promote crime prevention, serve senior citizens, and recognize military and public safety service providers. Exchange also promotes Americanism programs, and its national project is preventing child abuse.
In addition to these programs, The National Exchange Club has been at the forefront of significant developments in American history, including the early days of aviation progress. The spirit of patriotism and a desire to heighten awareness of our rich religious heritage placed Exchange in a position of leadership with other organizations, leading to the addition of the words “Under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954.
Charles Berkey (standing, back row, far right) and the Boosters’ Club members, Detroit, Mich., in the late 1800s. Many from this group became members of the first Exchange Club.
Our National Project The National Exchange Club’s national project, the Prevention of Child Abuse, was adopted in 1979 with the encouragement of National President Dr. Edward North, Jr., a physician from Jackson, Mississippi, who observed increased incidences of abuse through his medical practice. Women in Exchange On July 4, 1985, at Exchange’s 67th Annual Convention in Philadelphia, Penn., the national constitution was amended, thus opening women's membership for the first time. From a handful of members in Detroit, Michigan, at the turn of the 20th century, Exchange has developed into a progressive national service organization comprised of tens of thousands of dedicated men and women serving their local communities and advancing their motto of “Unity in Service.”
We are America’s Service Club. From our organization’s earliest days, Exchange Clubs have been unselfishly serving their communities and improving the quality of life. The diverse array of Exchange-sponsored programs and projects has considerably impacted America, enhancing the lives of countless men, women, and children across the nation. The National Exchange Club headquarters is located in Toledo, Ohio. Our chief objective is to help Exchange Clubs realize their full potential in community service.