Code of Conduct

Kiwanis is a multi-cultural organization that at all times strives to include all who wish to participate and is sensitive to and accepting of the backgrounds of others.


Through Kiwanis, we are united in our mission to provide for those who are most needy in our community. When interacting with members, staff, volunteers and customers, we should listen carefully before speaking to be sure we know what the other person is saying before responding. When we respond, we should be courteous and respectful. Because our individual actions and decisions can affect many others, we should consider the consequences of what we say and do. When in doubt, don’t say it or do it. Criticism if necessary should be constructive and kindly given.


We should treat others as we wish to be treated. There is no place in Kiwanis for name-calling, back-stabbing, bullying, or taking advantage of others.


Kiwanis welcomes and supports people of all backgrounds and identities. Kiwanis strives to provide equal access to opportunities, including membership, employment and volunteer status, and to resources, including Thrift Sale merchandise. There is strength in diversity.


We will not all agree all of the time, but disagreement is not an excuse for disrespectful behavior. Not understanding why someone holds a particular viewpoint does not mean that they are wrong. When we disagree, we should not attack each other verbally or physically. We should work to resolve our differences constructively or agree to disagree.

We should respect the generosity of our donors by thanking them for thinking of Kiwanis, by setting fair prices for Thrift Sale items, by showing appreciation for the work of all Thrift Sale staff and volunteers, and by thanking those who shop with us. We should not expect reduced prices or offer reduced prices to friends and family. We should not take merchandise that is not paid for and we should report theft when we are aware that it is occurring.


One of the objects of Kiwanis is to encourage the daily living of the Golden Rule in all human relationships. To foster a kind, supportive, and caring environment in which everyone is treated with courtesy, respect and dignity, the Boards of Directors of the Kiwanis Club of Ann Arbor and of the Kiwanis Club of Ann Arbor Foundation have adopted a Code of Conduct that applies equally to the Kiwanis Club of Ann Arbor and the Kiwanis Club of Ann Arbor Foundation. The Code of Conduct is designed to ensure that all individuals can enjoy an environment that is free from discrimination and harassment, whether verbal, physical or sexual.

The Code of Conduct sets forth behavioral expectations for members, employees and volunteers. It also sets forth a mechanism that members, volunteers and employees may follow to ensure that unacceptable behavior is addressed quickly and appropriately by Club and Foundation leadership.

This Code of Conduct and the Reporting Procedures below shall subsume and replace the “Non- discrimination Policy and Ongoing Awareness Plans” adopted by the Kiwanis Club of Ann Arbor and the Kiwanis Club of Ann Arbor Foundation in October 2017.


In all of our interactions we should avoid behavior that is discriminatory, harassing or bullying. Such behavior will not be tolerated. If someone says, “Stop,” stop.

Discrimination is defined as denying an individual the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations afforded to the general public by the Kiwanis Club of Ann Arbor or the Kiwanis Club of Ann Arbor Foundation, based in whole or in part on the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, height, weight, condition of pregnancy, marital status, physical or mental limitation, source of income, family responsibilities, educational association, sexual orientation, gender identity or HIV status of another person or that person’s relatives or associates.

Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome or unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, non-verbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Examples of sexual harassment include, but are not limited to, unwanted sexual advances, demands for sexual favors in exchange for favorable treatment, repeated sexual jokes, flirtations, advances, or propositions, verbal abuse of a sexual nature, graphic commentary about an individual’s body, sexual prowess, or sexual deficiencies, leering, whistling, touching, pinching, assault, coerced sexual acts, suggestive, insulting, or obscene comments, gestures, texts, and email, and any offering or display of sexually suggestive objects or pictures.

Racial harassment is defined as inappropriate conduct and activity taken against or directed at an individual because of their race and/or national origin. Examples of racial harassment include, but are not limited to, racial comments, jokes, texts or emails, and treating an individual differently because of their race.

Bullying is defined as mistreatment of another with the intent to intimidate, dominate, degrade, humiliate, or undermine. It is greater than mere incivility or rudeness. The behavior is typically associated with a perception of an imbalance of physical or social power between the bully and the victim. Examples of bullying include, but are not limited to, gossiping or spreading rumors at another’s expense, persistent unwarranted criticism, threatening or humiliating comments, excluding a person from meetings or activities that would normally be open to them, and pranking or joking at another’s expense.


It is the intent of this process to resolve quickly and appropriately complaints of behavior proscribed by the Code of Conduct. This process shall be applied prospectively upon adoption by the Boards of Directors of the Kiwanis Club of Ann Arbor and Kiwanis Club of Ann Arbor Foundation. Perceived violations, if reported, should be reported within a reasonable time.

Any Kiwanis member, volunteer, or employee who believes he or she has been mistreated or falsely accused of a violation of the Code of Conduct shall have access to support and a process to resolve the perceived issue. Kiwanis shoppers and voucher participants may report a perceived violation of the Code of Conduct as outlined in #1 below. Until an initial determination is made that reasonable grounds exist for the complaint, both the person complaining and the person complained against shall be entitled to a fair, impartial and confidential process without a presumption of guilt or responsibility.

The following outline describes steps toward resolving the complaint and hopefully restoring good will:

Shoppers and voucher participants may report a perceived violation of the Code of Conduct to a Cashier. Cashiers shall direct the complaint to a Front Team Leader or the Sales Manager.
If a member, volunteer or employee feels comfortable addressing the issue, they may let the person know what was offensive and ask them not to do it again.
If a person does not feel comfortable or safe addressing the issue, or they have tried and the problem persists, they may contact one of the following people verbally or in writing:

  • Employees should contact their supervisor, Sales Manager, SMOC Chair, or Chair of the Personnel Committee
  • Volunteers should contact the Volunteer Coordinator, Sales Manager, or SMOC Chair
  • Members should contact a member of the Ethics Committee or the Club President

Efforts toward resolution will include discussion of the issue by the involved parties and a third party noted above. This discussion shall take place within two weeks of notifying one of the persons above.

If this discussion does not resolve the issue, the President or President’s designee(s) will investigate the complaint, including a review of written statements from both parties, interviews of possible witnesses, and, if possible, will take action to resolve the complaint.
If the complaint cannot be resolved under Sections 2-4 above, the President or President’s designee(s) shall provide a summary of the process to date and alternative recommendations for Board action, e.g., dismiss the complaint; move to Club bylaws, Article 7, regarding member discipline; or other.

If the complaint is against a member and is so serious as to require possible dismissal or suspension of membership, procedures including formal charges, investigation, hearings, determination and discipline described in the Club Bylaws, ARTICLE 7 (Discipline), may be used. (Click here to view the Club Bylaws andARTICLE 7)

If at any point after a complaint is made it appears the issue might involve a criminal offense, the President shall be notified. If the President agrees that the matter may be a criminal offense, the President will encourage the complainant to notify proper authorities.

Bystander Guidelines

In the course of participating in the Kiwanis Sale or other Kiwanis activities, a bystander may witness behavior that is discriminatory, harassing or bullying. While a bystander may feel it best not to intervene and is not required to do so, there are several alternatives for a bystander to consider:

Distract – De-escalate the situation by interruption and distraction without directly addressing the behavior
Direct – Engage in the situation with words such as “Is there a problem? “Can I help?”
Delegate – Ask someone else to intervene
Document – Document what was seen and heard, in case a complaint is filed.
Delay – After the interaction is over, approach the victim, explain what was seen and heard, ask if they would like help in resolving the situation. If yes, refer to the appropriate reporting procedures above.”


All materials, facts and information related to the complaint and its resolution shall be kept confidential by all parties or persons involved in the process. If the issue rises to a formal charge, boundaries of confidentiality shall follow those in the Club Bylaws, ARTICLE 7 (Discipline).


The President will periodically take necessary steps to review this policy with members, volunteers, and employees, and develop educational components to increase awareness and sensitivity.


Retaliation against any individual who makes a good faith complaint, or who cooperates in the investigation of any complaint, is strictly prohibited and should be reported immediately to the President or the President’s designee.


If any provision this Code conflicts with the Club’s Bylaws or with any mandatory directive imposed by Kiwanis International, the bylaw provision or the mandatory directive of Kiwanis International shall control in matters concerning Club Members. If any provision of the Code of Conduct conflicts with the Foundation Employee Manual, the Employee Manual controls if the person whose behavior is called into question is a current employee of the Foundation. If any provision of the Code of Conduct conflicts with the Foundation Articles of Incorporation or Bylaws, the Articles or Bylaws shall control.