The Detroit Lions Club - downtown was founded in 1917.
Back in the early 1900's, there was a businessmen's club in Downtown Detroit. They were looking for a project, a reason to meet other than fellowship. At that same time a Chicago businessman, Melvin Jones, a member of a local business club there was thinking that his club should expand their horizons from purely professional concerns to the betterment of their communities and the world at large. On June 17, 1917, he held an organizational meeting of similar business groups from around the nation, including the Detroit club. From that meeting the Association of Lions Clubs was formed. A constitution, bylaws, objects, and a code of ethics were approved. One object approved at that meeting read "No club shall hold out the financial betterment of it's members as it's object." This call for unselfish service to others remains one of the association’s main tenets.
The downtown club was instrumental in the Association of Lions Clubs becoming an International organization. During the era of prohibition, local Lions would hold their meeting across the Detroit river in Windsor, Ontario; so they could have a drink with lunch. It was there that they met and; enlisted Canadians to join Lionism. Thus from these friendships we have Lions Clubs International.