The National Exchange Club is the oldest service organization in the country. More than 650 local clubs throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico provide individuals with opportunities to use their time and talents to benefit their local communities and the country as a whole. Exchange’s Core Values are family, community and country.
Through the Programs of Service – Americanism, Community Service and Youth Programs – members support activities that benefit youth, promote pride in our country, and honor military and public service providers, to name a few. The prevention of child abuse is Exchange’s National Project.
Exchange was founded March 27, 1911, in Detroit, Michigan, by a group of business executives who wanted simply to exchange ideas. Those ideas grew and were shared, and have resulted in innumerable benefits to the nation.
Currently, Exchange has nearly 20,000 members in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. The organization’s National Headquarters, located in Toledo, Ohio, acts as a resource to local-level clubs and its members.
VISION and MISSION STATEMENT
Exchange’s Vision was developed and the Mission Statement was simplified in January 2015, to allow every Exchange Club member to take ownership and deliver clear a message to his/her community.
Vision: A strong America, safe communities, and unified people.
Mission: Exchange, inspiring communities to become better places to live.
Each member of Exchange holds near to their heart three core values – Family, Community and Country.
Commitment to Family is interpreted not only as one’s own family needs, but also those of all American families. Strengthening families, with a focus on youth, is addressed in many ways through Exchange’s Programs of Service.
Commitment to the Community where an Exchangite resides is the focal point for each club’s efforts. Exchange is unique as a service organization in that it has the flexibility to structure projects that target the specific needs of a particular geographic location, rather than being restricted to a certain cause.
Commitment to Country was born in the aftermath of World War II, a time of unquenchable patriotism. Exchangites are proud to join veterans and other civic groups in promoting Americanism as the rich blessing of democracy and freedom, and in educating today’s youth to cherish its values. These three values are translated into actions every day to bring about positive results through the work of hundreds of clubs and tens of thousands of dedicated Exchange Club members every day.
COVENANT OF SERVICE
The Covenant of Service, expressing Exchange’s philosophy and ideals, was written in 1923 by Exchangite Thomas L. Bailey, who served as National President of Exchange from 1925 through 1927, and later served as Governor of Mississippi from 1944 through 1946. It was officially adopted by the organization in 1927.
Accepting the divine privilege of single and collective responsibility as life’s noblest gift, I covenant with my fellow Exchangites:
- To consecrate my best energies to the uplifting of Social, Religious, Political and Business ideals;
- To discharge the debt I owe to those of high and low estate who have served and sacrificed that the heritage of American citizenship might be mine;
- To honor and respect law, to serve my fellowmen, and to uphold the ideals and institutions of my Country;
- To implant the life-giving, society-building spirit of Service and Comradeship in my social and business relationships;
- To serve in Unity with those seeking better conditions, better understandings, and greater opportunities for all.
MOTTO - UNITY FOR SERVICE
The motto was adopted in 1917. Its originator, Charles Berkey, said the motto was inspired by the 133rd Psalm, which says “Behold how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.”
EXCHANGE AND AVIATION
In the years following World War I, The National Exchange Club was a foremost advocate of adequate national military preparedness and played an important role in promoting the growth of military and commercial aviation. Through leadership in these fields, Exchange’s first leader, Harold M. Harter, earned the friendship of many of the United States’ top military figures.
Harter was one of the first to recognize a great future in aviation and urged Exchange to participate in its growth. He rode in the earliest Ford tri-motor commercial planes and knew leading aviators of the day, including Amelia Earhart, who was at the controls of Mr. Harter’s first autogiro ride. Ms. Earhart was also a special guest at Exchange’s 12th National Convention in Toledo, OH, on July 23, 1928.
The National Exchange Club was established on March 27, 1911, in Detroit, MI. Since that time, Exchange has grown to become “America’s Oldest Service” organization with more than 650 local-level clubs comprised of nearly 20,000 members across the United States and in Puerto Rico.
The National Exchange Club Programs of Service – Americanism, Community Service, and Youth programs – and its National Project, the prevention of child abuse, is supported by the National Exchange Club Foundation, a 501c(3) entity.
Local-level clubs identify the needs of their communities and, in most cases, provide for those needs through projects falling under the Programs of Service and National Project. Local Exchange Clubs are supported by their own officers, boards of directors, self-raised funds and, in some cases, foundations.Clubs also develop valuable community partnerships with like-minded individuals and organizations working toward common goals.
District and regional leadership is comprised of Exchange Club members who have served their clubs and communities in a most dedicated capacity and have been elected by fellow members. Members of Exchange’s leadership receive training from National Headquarters and function to help strengthen Exchange Clubs assigned by geographic location. Leadership develops and maintains interclub relationships, helps districts and clubs achieve growth, serves as mentors for members and clubs, and ensures valuable communication is maintained between National Headquarters and the clubs within their districts/regions.
National Headquarters is located in Toledo, OH, and employs a dedicated staff committed to helping clubs carry out Exchange’s Mission of making communities better places to live. With staff assigned to growth, finance, marketing and public relations, child abuse prevention services, and member services, National Headquarters strives to continually exceed the expectations of its membership and provide membership value.
Exchange’s National Partners
The Healing Field Project was unanimously endorsed by the National Exchange Club Foundation Board of Trustees and the National Exchange Club Board of Directors at Exchange’s 85th National Convention, held in Birmingham, Al, in July 2003. A resolution was passed in support of the project, can be utilized to honor any number of people, including abused children and war veterans.
The American Red Cross partnered with The National Exchange Club to collaborate on projects for the benefit of local communities at Exchange’s 92nd National Convention, held in La Quinta, CA, in July 2010.
Darkness to Light and The National Exchange Club partnered at Exchange’s 93rd National Convention, held in Detroit, MI, in July 2011. Exchange’s relationship with Darkness to Light officially joined the two organizations in their common goal of preventing child abuse. Through this partnership, local Exchange Clubs utilize Darkness to Light’s Stewarts of Children program as an Exchange Club Program of Service project.
Exchange Club Child Abuse Prevention Centers are the product of child abuse prevention being adopted as The National Exchange Club’s National Project in 1979. Exchange Club CAP Centers receive varying degrees of support from local Exchange Clubs under the National Project, including establishing the centers and supporting affiliate programs (agencies providing child abuse prevention services, but not complying with the program or organizational requirements for an Exchange Club CAP Center). Exchange Club Child Abuse Prevention Centers provide Exchange’s Parent Aide services and comply with national accreditation standards.
Meet Exchange’s CEO and Executive Vice President
Tracey Edwards joined the staff of The National Exchange Club in 2004. Prior to her appointment to the position of Executive Vice President in January, 2012, Tracey served as Senior Finance Director, Finance and Membership, and was responsible for all fiscal functions of The National Exchange Club and The National Exchange Club Foundation. As Executive Vice President, she serves as a member of the National Board of Directors and is the active managing employee of The National Exchange Club.Tracey oversees National Headquarters Staff in providing professional and technical assistance to the organization’s members in developing specific and comprehensive plans for increasing members,establishing new clubs, and enhancing the national image of Exchange. She is Secretary of the Corporation in all matters delegated to the Executive Vice President by the National Board of Directors.Tracey is also a member of the Exchange Club of Greater Maumee Bay, OH.
Tracey also provides knowledge and assistance to The National Exchange Club Foundation in all of its fundraising efforts and serves as Secretary on NEC Foundation’s Board of Trustees. She is a Berkey Fellow.
Active in her community, Tracey has earned the Distinguished Club President and Exchangite of the Year awards, and works with many nonprofit groups to promote collaboration between Exchange and other agencies and groups. She is President of the Old Newsboys Goodfellow Association.
Tracey graduated from The University of Toledo and is a member of The Ohio Society of CPAs, The American Society of Association Executives, The Association of Fundraising Professionals, The Society of Human Resource Management, Chi Omega Fraternity, and Leadership Toledo.
Meet Exchange’s National President
Thomas E. Karnes, a member of the Exchange Clubs of Lincoln Park, Detroit #1 and Trenton, MI, was sworn in as the organization’s National President at the 96th National Convention in July 2014, in New Orleans, LA. Tom is fulfilling his one-year term from Lincoln Park, MI, where he was a police officer for more than 31 years, including eight years of service as Chief of Police. He now serves as Mayor of Lincoln Park.
Tom joined the Exchange Club of Lincoln Park in 1998. At the club level, he has served on the Board of Directors, as President-Elect, three terms as President, as well as on various club committees. He has also served a term as President of the Exchange Club of Trenton. For the Michigan District Exchange Clubs, Tom has served on the Board of Directors, as President-Elect, and as the 2007 – 2008 District President. In the National capacity, Tom has chaired the CAP Relations Committee, and was co-builder of the New Beginnings Exchange Club of Downriver Michigan (2011) and the Exchange Excel Club Lincoln Park Railsplitters (2013). He is a Berkey Fellow and a member of the Dr. North Society and the Heritage Society.
An energetic member of his community, Tom has been involved with the Knights of Columbus and Sons of the American Legion. He is also active in Lincoln Park’s Goodfellows organization – which provides food, clothing and toy to families at Christmas – and serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors for Lincoln Park Community Credit Union.
Tom attended Madonna University of Livonia, MI, where he received a bachelor’s degree, and is a graduate of the 191st session of the FBI National Academy. He and his wife, Mary, have three children and three grand dogs.
NATIONAL AWARDS and RECOGNITIONS
The National Exchange Clubs continually strives to enhance the service it provides to clubs, members and communities. The following awards and recognitions offer a snapshot of Exchange’s national accolades.
- 2013 and 2014 Torch Award for Ethics, The Better Business Bureau of Northwestern Ohio and Southeastern Michigan, finalist – recognizes businesses and nonprofits for exemplary and ethical business practices
- A+ Rating by the Better Business Bureau
- Proprietary Exchange Parent Aide Program listed on the California Evidence-Based Website with a “High” Child Welfare System Relevance Level and a scientific rating of 3.
- Publication of the Exchange Parent Aide Program in the Journal of Child Abuse and Neglect Website
- Countless Child Abuse Prevention proclamations issued by Federal, state and local governments