Kiwanis has its beginnings in an organization formed in Detroit, Michigan by businessmen, on January 27, 1915. Other businessmen's groups in other cities soon joined with the Detroit organization and in 1916, in Cleveland, Ohio, the first convention was held. It was at this convention that the name "The Kiwanis Club" was selected. This is a coined word and is derived from the Sioux Indian language.

The first club organized in Cananda was at Hamilton, Ontario, November 1, 1916 and in joining with clubs in the United States formed what is known as "Kiwanis International".

The Joliet Kiwanis Club was chartered April 2, 1920 with 44 charter members.

In 1934, the Joliet club produced the first Annual Kiwanis Show. This show helped identify Kiwanis in the Community.

In 1967, the Joliet club began an annual participation in the nationwide "Kiwanis Peanut Day" where members sell peanuts to the public. This continues to be the largest fundraiser for the Joliet club to assist community organizations.