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Civitan International

Civitan History

Civitan International is an organization of volunteer service clubs around the world, dedicated to helping people in their own communities. Civitans help wherever the need arises – from collecting food for a homeless shelter, to volunteering at their local retirement home, to building a playground for children with disabilities. The name Civitan is derived from the Latin word “civitas” making citizenship, making “Builders of Good Citizenship: a natural motto for the civic-minded organization.  Civitans have been helping people since the organization’s founding in 1917, by a group of businessmen determined to making a difference in their community. Its founder and first president was Dr. Courtney W. Shropshire, a prominent Birmingham physician. In the 1950’s, Civitan adopted a special emphasis on helping people with developmental disabilities. Civitan was one of the major supporters of Special Olympics International, and thousands of Civitans still support these local events. Civitan clubs also fund and organize special camps and events for people with developmental disabilities.

Civitans help people in their communities through hands-on service projects, outreach programs, and fundraisers for local charitable causes. Civitan has a history of partnership with other organizations and gave crucial early support to Radio Free Europe, the Boy Scouts of America, Special Olympics, and ARC

Famous Civitans include Thomas Edison, President John F. Kennedy, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, astronaut James Irwin, President William Clinton (a Junior Civitan), professional athlete Bo Jackson, racecar driver Richard Petty, and more.

The official website of Civitan International is

To contact Civitan International, call 1-800-CIVITAN.

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