Fulfilling a purpose through charitable giving

Jan 21, 2016
John Mayfield didn’t know it at the time, but his Kiwanis story began when he was a child watching his father attend Kiwanis events like the club’s pancake breakfast.

While many years passed, John’s passion for philanthropy only grew stronger from his childhood to the day he joined Kiwanis in 2007. The path in between was not without struggle. John once battled addiction and severe panic attacks. “So I started inviting God into my life and asking His will for me,” he says. “I believe my purpose in life is to do charitable activities.”

Now if you ask John when he has been most satisfied in his life, he will answer without a pause: during his years as a Kiwanian.

Today, John Mayfield is a well-known name in the Kiwanis family. He is a loyal member of the Cheatham County Kiwanis Club in Ashland City, Tennessee, the 2015–16 Kiwanis International Foundation treasurer, and a generous donor—including gifts to the Heritage Society, Kiwanis Children’s Fund and The Eliminate Project: Kiwanis eliminating maternal and neonatal tetanus.

For John, it is about supporting an organization that has supported him. “It’s my legacy,” he says. “I don’t have children, so this is how I can leave a part of me after I have gone.”

John travelled to Sierra Leone in 2011 with UNICEF to witness
MNT elimination efforts in action.

As soon as he became a Kiwanian, John was interested in supporting the Kiwanis International Foundation—with a particular interest in endowments. “Some people like to see money in, money out,” he says. “I like the fact that I can contribute $100, and give out $5 every year, and then still have $100 in the end.”

This is why the Kiwanis International Foundation’s donor advised funds are an attractive investment for John—one he encourages others to learn about too.

“Since our foundation started offering donor advised funds, you can do more with your money,” he says. “You can be specific about how you want it spent. You can be specific with the naming opportunities.”

In 2015, he established the John E. Mayfield Scholarship Fund to benefit members of Circle K International. He hopes to see these funds get bigger and allow our foundation to give out more scholarships. “There is so much more that you can do now that you couldn’t 10 years ago,” John adds.

For anyone considering a scholarship fund or a private family or club foundation, John’s advice is to research it first. Donor advised funds are great opportunities for individual Kiwanians, as well as their families, clubs and districts. Like John, many others have already established these funds through the Kiwanis International Foundation.

To learn more about this opportunity, contact us at 1-800-KIWANIS, ext. 159 (U.S. and Canada), or +1-317-217-6159 (worldwide). Or email us at