AT THE SERVICE OF THE COMMUNITY

Solidarity by people for people

Solidarity

SOLIDARITY, its meaning derives from the French word “solidarité”, the main meaning of which is a form of ethical-social commitment in favour of others.

For years now, the company’s Top Management is committed to supporting, encouraging and promoting the Lions Clubs International, a humanitarian association founded in 1917.
This association is made up of clubs whose members must be of age and have a good reputation in their community, and have been invited to join. The association’s motto is “We serve”.

MELVIN JONES, THE FOUNDER

Melvin Jones was born on 13 January 1879 in Fort Thomas, Arizona, son of a U.S. Army captain. Following his father’s transfer, the family moved to the Eastern part of the United States. As a young man, Melvin Jones settled down in Chicago and worked for an insurance company. In 1913, he founded his own.

Soon after, he joined the Business Circle, a group of businessmen, for which he quickly became the secretary. This group was one of the many that, during that period, were dedicated to promoting the financial well-being of their own members. Given their limited interests, they were destined to disappear. Melvin Jones, however, had other plans as he thought about the goals that could be achieved “if those people who enjoyed great success given their commitment, intelligence and ambition, would use their talents to improve their own communities”. Therefore, upon his invitation, the representative of these clubs met in Chicago in order to found such an organisation. On 7 June 1917, the Lions Clubs International was established. It was agreed that the clubs would not be of a social nature and that its members would not be allowed to promote their interests.

Melvin Jones eventually abandoned his business to dedicate himself full time to the Lions, at the main office in Chicago. Thanks to his dynamic leadership, the Lions Clubs acquired the prestige needed to attract individuals interested in the good of the Community; this was no small achievement in a city like Chicago, which in those years was famous for its “uniqueness” (“it is the only city at the national level to be completely corrupt”, wrote the American press).

The association’s founder was also acknowledged as a leader outside the organisation itself. Particularly worthy of mention is the honour he received in 1945, when he represented the Lions Clubs International in the capacity of consultant during the jobs for the United Nations Organisation in San Francisco. The Lions, however, just like the Rotary Clubs – most likely due to the highly exclusive and misogynous roots of the “clubs” founded within the Yankee Protestantism – did not have a female version for a long time. In fact, 16 years had to pass from the founder’s death before a “Lioness Club” was allowed to be instituted.

Melvin Jones, one of the most representative exponents, in Chicago, of that world of businessmen and professionals in which, as Anna Evangelista wrote (A. Evangelista, “The world’s problems are dealt with a lion’s heart”, in: HISTORIA, February 1983, page 36), “the desire was perceived to improve, together with ones’ own business, society as a whole” in the name of the “need to be able to work in a cleaner world”. He died at 82 years of age, on 1 June 1961 in Flossmoor (Cook County, Illinois).

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