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.
The Georgia District Exchange Clubs
Taken From A History Of Exchange Clubs In Georgia
Compiled And Written By
Joe F. Pruett
Georgia had it’s introduction to Exchange when National Secretary, Harold M. Harter come to Atlanta from Toledo, Ohio headquarters and presented 30 members of the Exchange Club of Atlanta a charter on Friday, January 26th, 1923.
Secretary Harter in presenting the main address told the grtoup that he had hopes of organizing a state organization, but it would be necessary that there be four charter clubs before such an organization could be formed. Among the cities requesting charters at the time were Savannah, Macon, and Carrollton.
The news off Exchange began to spread and Secretary Harter, recognizing the potential in Georgia sent Mr. Percy Wright, Extension Chairman of the Exchange Clubs of Florida, to follow leads from clubs desiring affiliation Mr. Wright’s first stop was Macon and with the help of the Atlanta club Macon was presented their charter on July 13, 1923. Next came Augusta on August 8th of that year.
The first three clubs were followed the 1924-25 year by Griffin, and Reynolds, Savannah, and Unadilla joined the ranks in 1925-26.
Georgia Clubs Become Affiliated
It was Spring and on April 4-5, 1926, 76 men and 42 of their wives representing nine Georgia communities gathered in Macon to organize the Georgia Affiliated Exchange Clubs.
At that meeting, an address “Exchange From The National Viewpoint” was given by National Secretary Harold Harter. Later in the business session which followed, the By-Laws were adopted and officers elected. Sid R. Phillips, an aggressive newspaper man from Macon was named President; William H. Beck Jr.,an attorney from Griffin, First Vice-President; W. Lee Morrison from Atlanta, Second Vice-President; William M. Lester, another attorney from Augusta, Third Vice-President; C.R. VanSant, owner of a musical store from Macon, Secretary; W.A. Nipper from Rochelle, Treasurer; R.D. Ernest from Savannah, Marshal, and Robert A. Collins, Sentry. Following the session, delegates and guests posed for a picture in front of the Dempsey Hotel by photographer Henry Merker, a member of the Macon Club.