Donor Profile

For the Kiwanis Club of Palo Alto, California, the decision to be a 100K Club came naturally.
Since its founding in 1925, when the club donated milk-and-cookie money for local schoolchildren, Kiwanians in Palo Alto have supported children and families—within the local community and abroad.

“Kiwanis International’s motto is ‘Serving the children of the world one community and one child at a time.’ It doesn’t say the child has to be next door,” says Judy Kramer, Palo Alto club coordinator and USA 5 region coordinator for The Eliminate Project. “We don’t want to neglect the needs of our neighbors, but at the same time we’re connected to families and children in other parts of the world. The world is very small.”

The club’s involvement with The Eliminate Project underscores just how small.

Personal inspiration

“I first heard about The Eliminate Project at the international convention in Las Vegas,” says 2011-2012 Palo Alto Kiwanis Club President Chris Torres. “As soon as I got home, I looked up a list of countries that still had maternal and neonatal tetanus. The Philippines was one of them.”

That fact was significant both for Chris and his fellow Kiwanians. Chris’s father, long-time member Bert Torres, grew up in the Philippines. Chris’s mother also grew up in the Philippines—where her infant brother died after contracting tetanus because a dirty pair of scissors was used to cut his umbilical cord.

Over the years, the members of the Palo Alto club have supported the very school that Bert Torres attended. The club’s fundraising activities helped provide a water system, library and computer lab to the school. Members have even gotten Philippine Kiwanis clubs to provide eyeglasses and dental services, a breakfast nutrition program and sponsorship for a volleyball tournament.

Through The Eliminate Project, the club’s support for this community can now include eliminating MNT from the Philippines.

Source of pride 

In January 2015, the Palo Alto club decided to increase its generosity once again by becoming the first 400K Club for The Eliminate Project.

“The biggest hurdle was not making the 400K Club commitment,” says 2014-2015 Palo Alto Kiwanis Club President Pat Emslie. “It came when we pledged to be a 100K Club in the spring of 2012.”

At that time the club’s board committed to raising US$100,000 for The Eliminate Project over the next five years—with a promise that the commitment would not affect the club’s other fundraising projects.
That’s important to club members, who are extremely active in the community. Local projects include helping to conduct the annual Special Games for children with developmental disabilities, building playgrounds at parks and childcare centers, adopting the Palo Alto Duck Pond and Rinconada Park for maintenance—and much more.

The club also supports youth leadership locally, sponsoring a Key Club at each of Palo Alto’s two high schools, as well as students attending diversity training at Camp Everytown.

Following the initial 100K Club commitment, a matching pledge from the Ceres Foundation helped propel Palo Alto to become part of an elite group of 200K Clubs. After that, creative energy went into developing a new signature event, running an individual giving campaign and finding other ways to raise money.

“We hope our 400K Club pledge will encourage and inspire others to step up as well,” says Emslie.

To help the club achieve its ambitious goal, Palo Alto looks to its members and the community. To this end, the club’s committee for The Eliminate Project has begun a process of speaking to every member of the club, providing each member with that chance to have a direct effect. The goal is for every member to make a gift—and make the club a 100% Participation Club.

The campaign has become a source of pride for the Palo Alto Kiwanis members.

“Members are impressed with The Eliminate Project and are attracted by Kiwanis’ and our club’s worldview that goes outside our own communities,” Emslie adds. “We live in a big, interconnected world.”

Thanks to these activities, the Kiwanis Club of Palo Alto will save or protect more than 220,000 women and their babies from MNT—converting the efforts of their club and their local community into an impact that’s truly global.

Photo (top): 2011-2012 President Chris Torres and other members of the Kiwanis Club of Palo Alto read to young school children.

Photo (below): Members of the Kiwanis Club of Palo Alto construct a new playground during their “Rebuild Together” project.

Ways to Achieve

Donor Profiles


Name of club: Kiwanis Club of Palo Alto

Hometown: Palo Alto, California

Serving children since: 1927

Members: 86

Community involvement: Two key clubs, Camp Everytown, school improvements

Upcoming fundraisers: The Way of St. James pilgrimage walk, matching funds from the Ceres foundation, individual donations

Donation: US$200,000

Impact: Save or protect more than 110,000 mothers and their future babies