The Crystal Lake Kiwanis Club was reformed by Brian Cunat, former Kiwanis International President and member of the McHenry Kiwanis Club in 2005. Brian gathered a random group of businessmen and women, community leaders, and interested former Kiwanians at the John Evans Inn Restaurant. After the organizational meeting, the charter was signed and bi-monthly meetings began. Officers were duly elected.
In time, the club sponsored various fundraisers including the omnipresent Peanut Days, Rose and Poinsettia Sales and Little Miss Peanut. In 2010 the club started participating in St. Baldricks, a fundraiser for pediatric cancer. Eventually this fundraiser became the province of South High School’s Key Club who hold a terrific event complete with the traditional St. Baldricks “shaving-a-thon”.
The club’s signature fund-raising event (first year was 2012) is the Santa Run for Kids held each year on the first Sunday in December. This is a 5K run/walk with participants issued Santa suits to wear. Those enjoying the 1 mile fun run/walk wear reindeer antler headbands.
In 2014, in collaboration with the Crystal Lake Park District and the Friends of the Crystal Lake Library, the club sponsored the installation of the “Free Little Library” (see Freelittlelibrary.org) at the Park District’s Veteran’s Acres Nature Center Park.
Kiwanis fundraisers (through the Crystal Lake Kiwanis Foundation) support non-profits such as Eliminate, Kiwanis International’s effort to eliminate neo-natal tetanus and local non-profits including Turning Point, Main Stay, Girls on the Run NWIL, CASA of McHenry County, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Sage YMCA and many others.