KCOT was chartered on February 20, 1952, with 26 members at Desert Landings Grill, a popular eatery on Apache Boulevard between McAllister and Rural Road. Harry Burger was elected president; Rex Bolling, vice president; and Jack Nelson, secretary-treasurer. Named to the board of directors were Clyde Laird, Herb Olson, John Ellingson, Frank Bostock, Dr. J.O. Grimes, Glenn Crabtree and James Harelson.
Since the Club's inception, members of KCOT have worked to raise millions of dollars for children in need, and improve the community. The dedication and compassion of KCOT members have touched countless lives. From buying school clothes; reading books to students; providing grants and scholarships; to serving Thanksgiving meals at the Boys & Girls Club and buying Christmas presents for a family in need. From selling Christmas trees; hosting community events; to giving seed-money for the Tempe park which is named in this Club's honor. The good work done by the Kiwanis Club of Tempe has made an impact in Tempe and beyond. But, it are those Kiwanians whom have given of themselves that feel the greatest impact of altruism.
The dynamism of KCOT is a direct reflection of the Club's members. For over six decades, the Club has possessed giants with character, commitment and grace. What makes KCOT special is not the illustrious awards, titles, or careers its members have, or once had. It is that a group of dedicated, compassionate people from varied and diverse backgrounds meet regularly to engage in fellowship and unite around a common purpose - to serve the children of the world and improve communities.