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. Civitans have been helping people since the organization’s founding in 1917, by a group of businessmen determined to make a difference in their community.
In the 1950s, 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.
The focus of this mission is the Civitan International Research Center, located on the campus of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Made possible through an ongoing financial commitment from Civitan, this world-class research facility is a center for research into disorders such as autism, Down syndrome, brain tumors, epilepsy, and many more. Civitan also helps fund the Civitan-Sparks Clinics, a treatment and therapy center also located in Birmingham. At this center, children and families with developmental disabilities can receive
Civitan clubs outside North America are also taking on momentous projects. Civitan opened its second century of service with rapid growth in the nation of Nepal, where clubs support local orphanages with donations of food and clothing. Clubs in Nepal have also played an impactful role in disaster relief.
In Mexico, Civitan clubs support a school for children with I/DD, provide nutritional care for infants, and care for children with other physical disabilities.
In Norway, the Civitan Norway Research Foundation funds crucial scientific research into Alzheimer’s disease. And in West Africa, Civitans provide clean drinking water and education for people in rural communities.
Junior Civitan and Campus Civitan are Civitan’s youth and collegiate programs, respectively. These clubs take on innovative service projects, fundraisers for the Civitan International Research Center, and receive valuable leadership training.
Civitan also works to support the next generation of leaders through the Courtney W. Shropshire Scholarships, awarded each year. Every day, Civitans make a difference in their local communities and around the world. If you would like to know more about Civitan International, please contact us here, or call 1-800-CIVITAN.