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 how to better serve 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 it was organized as a nonprofit, educational organization in 1917.
Exchange Clubs sponsor activities under the organization’s Programs of Service – Americanism, Youth Programs and Community Service – as well as its National Project, the prevention of child abuse. Each year, communities benefit from the promotion of pride in our great country, college scholarships, youth mentoring, service to the underprivileged, and other services tailored to serve the needs of its citizens.
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, along with a desire to heighten awareness of our rich religious heritage, placed Exchange in a position of leadership with other organizations that led to the addition of the words “Under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954.