The National Exchange Club

Charles Berkey, Exchange Club Founder

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 paved the way for what has become known as the “Americanism” Program of Service. Americanism promotes pride in our country, appreciation for the freedoms granted to American citizens, and gratitude to the men and women who serve and have served in the Armed Forces. Americanism celebrates our country’s rich, unique heritage and inspires unity from coast-to-coast.


Exchange Milestones

1911 The first Exchange Club is founded in Detroit, MI, on March 27 by Charles A. Berkey.
1917 In Toledo, Ohio, The National Exchange Club (NEC) is organized. Charles A. Berkey is elected National President, Herold M. Harter is named National Secretary (today known as Executive Vice President (EVP), and served in that position for 44 years.
1927 The Exchange Club Covenant of Service is officially adopted.
1928 Aviation is adopted as a National Project. Exchange begins promoting aviation and marking buildings with giant arrows to aid aviators.
1930 Official Exchange Emblem is adopted.
1947 National Crime Prevention Week is adopted as a national program.
1948 Youth of the Month/Year program is adopted.
1950 The first Freedom Shrine is dedicated at Santa Monica High School in California.
1952 The first Exchange Club is formed in Puerto Rico.
1965 Three areas of service, American Citizenship, Community Service, and Service to Youth, are approved, changing the Program of Service structure.
1972 The Milestones of Freedom project is adopted as an adjunct of the Freedom Shrine project.
1973 The first National Youth of the Year is awarded at the 55th National Convention in Houston, TX.
1979 Child abuse prevention is adopted as the National Project at the 61st National Convention
1981 The first Exchange Club Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse opens in Fort Pierce, FL.
1985 Delegates at the 67th National Convention open membership to include women. First Asian American National President, George Ow, is installed at the 67th National Convention.
1992 The Guinness Record for the most valuable line of coins is achieved by Exchange Club members at the 73rd National Convention, during the first Quarters for Kids campaign.
1999 The first National Day of Service is held.
2000 First National A.C.E. Award is presented to Magdelena Salcedo, of Salt Lake City, UT, at the 82nd National Convention in Phoenix, AZ. Assisted by Exchange Clubs, The NEC Foundation reaches its goal of distributing 1 million Shaken Baby Syndrome brochures.
2001 First National Exchangite of the Year Award is presented to Bettye Galloway, Oxford, MS, at the 83rd National Convention in Greensboro, NC.
2003 First female National President, Pamela M. Sudlow, is installed at the 85th National Convention.
2011 Exchange reaches its 100th anniversary on March 27th. Celebrations occur across the country and the National Convention is held in Detroit, MI, the city where Exchange was founded. First African-American National President, Sidney Mobley is installed at the 93rd National Convention.
2012 First female Executive Vice President, Tracey Edwards, is appointed at the Mid-Year Meeting.
2015 The partnership with the Veterans Matter organization is announced to help house homeless veterans.
2018 Exchange celebrates 100th National Convention in Reno!

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 the motto of “Unity for Service.”

Exchange is “America’s Service Club”. From the organization’s earliest days, Exchange Clubs have been selflessly serving their communities. The diverse array of Exchange-sponsored programs and projects has made a considerable impact on America, enhancing the lives of countless men, women, and children across the nation.

Exchange’s National Headquarters is located in Toledo, Ohio, where the staff’s primary objective is to help Exchange Clubs realize their full potential of community service.

The Garland Chapter Exchange Club was founded in 1982.