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Burnsville Lions Club History

The Burnsville Lions Club has been, for over forty years, one of the best kept secrets in Burnsville. Since its inception in 1966, the club has had an important, if not almost invisible, presence in the Burnsville/Savage area, following the Lions motto of “We Serve” faithfully.

The club, which was sponsored by Lions clubs from Farmington and Lakeville, was originally chartered with 31 members, all men, with Robert Stumm as its first president. The club welcomed women into the fold in 1992, and now has as many women as men. Today, we boast a membership of 38 members, 19 women and 19 men, 11 of which are husband and wife duos.
During its first 15 years, the club raised over $40,000 through events such as pancake breakfasts, Las Vegas nights, White Elephant sales, popcorn and light bulb sales, and more. One notable donation made by the club was the electronic scoreboard and Pates Stadium at Burnsville High School, which is still in use today.
It was also the Burnsville Lions Club that led the effort to arrange the first Fire Muster Community Parade, an event that is now a tradition for Burnsville’s annual community festival.
In 1990, the club decided to enter into charitable gambling as a way to raise more money to support the club’s efforts. Currently, we offer charitable gambling at local Burnsville establishments Carbone’s and Venue 13’s, and at McHugh’s Public House in Savage. When citizens participate in the charitable gambling offered by the club, they may not always win – but the community at large wins every time. One of our first notable donations from gambling revenues was a $50,000 pledge to the Minnesota Valley YMCA for a new building in Burnsville.
From 1996 to the present day, we have expanded our efforts and now annually pump over $100,000 back into the community and into a variety of national and even international causes. One of our top efforts is collecting used eyeglasses and hearing aids and distributing those items to people who can use them.
Other efforts include: purchasing equipment for local police and fire departments, giving flowers on Valentine’s Day to the residents of three area nursing homes, providing activities for seniors, working with Armful of Love during the holiday season, and sponsoring the efforts of DARTS, CAP, CAC, and the YMCA. We also support the efforts of the Salvation Army by ringing the bells every December, the Relay for Life cancer research, the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, and recently Feed My Starving Children.
We also support many causes championed by the Lions organization as a whole. Lions projects we support include summer camps for the disabled, the MN Lions Eye Bank, MN Lions Hearing Foundation, various hearing, sight, and service dog providers, diabetes awareness, and Sight First, an effort to eradicate river blindness throughout the developing world.
Our club also has a strong record of supporting the youth in our community and schools. Our most ex citing project is every year providing a new dictionary to all third grade students in District 191, as well as Glendale Elementary in District 719. Our club won the WCCO Good Neighbor Award in 2005 for our support of this project. We also support disadvantaged youth by providing eye exams and glasses for those unable to afford them on their own, as well as providing a supply school supplies to each elementary school. And, we offer at least five scholarships to the seniors of Burnsville High School, with at least one scholarship going to a student who is either sight or hearing impaired.  In 2013, we pledged $50,000 to the City of Burnsville in a partnership to build the Burnsville Lions Playground at Clifff Fen Park, and we also donated funds to improve park facilities in Savage as well.
The Burnsville Lions Club is able to do all this through the volunteered time and effort of its members and supporters, as well as through various fund raising activities including a craft sale and food concessions, State Fair Kidway ticket sales, an annual golf tournament, an annual garage sale during River Hills Days, and through our charitable gambling operations. Since 1966, our club is approaching $1 million in total donations given to our community and elsewhere.
We are always happy to welcome new members of all ages and walks of life who are interested in helping their community. Please contact us at burnsvillelionsclub@yahoo.com for more information on our club, our community, and what it means and takes to be a Lion. You will not be disappointed!
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