History of the Cedar Rapids Jaycees...

A historic timeline...

The Cedar Rapids Jaycees has a long history of local philanthropy success, as well as an impact on state and national events. Below is a brief glimpse of our storied past.


  • 2018
    • Chris Demmer of the Cedar Rapids Jaycees serves as the 90th State President of JCI Iowa.
  • 2017:
    • C.J. Derlein-Hoffman serves as 2017 JCI USA National Vice President.
    • Uptown Friday Nights breaks a single night record of 3,832 attendance.
    • Festival of Trees moves to a new location at Hawkeye Downs and has over 11,000 in attendance and donated over 2,400 lbs of food.
    • Cedar Rapids brings back the Scholarship Program with proceeds from Festival of Trees
  • 2016
    • Uptown Friday Nights breaks several records with 3,301 single night attendance and over 17,800  season attendance over 11 Uptown Friday Nights.
  • 2015
    • C.J. Derlein-Hoffman of the Cedar Rapids Jaycees serves as the 87th State President of JCI Iowa.
    • Cedar Rapids Jaycees partner with The Gazette to bring back Cedar Rapids Festival of Trees draws over 9,000 people to the DoubleTree Convention Center.

  • 2014
    • Uptown Friday Nights moves to the McGrath Ampitheater located at 475 1st St SW, and draws nearly 2,000 people each week.

  • 2011 
    • New Cedar Rapids Jaycee Center completed due to flood of 2008.

  • 2010
    • Ground breaking ceremony for new Jaycee Building.

  • 2009
    • Jaycees hit $330,000 mark in donations back to community.
    • Jaycee Building/ Frank Nye Center is demolished to prepare for a new  4,100 sq. ft. facility.
  • 2008
    • Flood hits Cedar Rapids and Jaycee Building / Frank Nye Center, is  inundated.
    • Chapter awarded the Harold Marks Memorial Award for Number One Chapter in the United States.
      • Awarded to Chapters demonstrating excellence in Programming, Management, and Community Development. Only two other Chapters in Iowa had received this award to date: Des Moines and Clive.

  • 2007
    • Building fund hits $175,000.

  • 2006 
    • "Dream Makers" hits the $200,000 mark in donations back to community.

  • 2003 
    • Troop Dinners for departing 500 Iowa Guard Troops going to Iraq.

  • 2002
    • Senior Christmas dinners begin at Witwer Senior Center.

  • 2001
    • Uptown Friday Nights hits 2,000 attendees and starts "DreamMakers".

  • 2000
    • New Building Fund established.

  • 1998
    • Raised all money and built first Habitat House in Genesis Park Development winning top state and national awards for our population group.

  • 1997
    • Uptown Friday Nights moves from 2nd Street, to Green Square Park, but forced to the pavement, but still hits the 1,000 attendee mark.

  • 1996
    • Jaycees begin Bluesmore partnership for beer service.
    • Jaycee state convention at CR Marriott shown on Good Morning          America.

  • 1988
    • Uptown Friday Nights begins at the Ground Transportation Center.

  • 1985-1986
    • Connie Stewart elected as first female Cedar Rapids Jaycee President.

  • 1984
    • CR Jaycees are “kicked out” of the Jaycees for about 6 months due to admitting women. They were forbidden from using the Jaycee name and were known as “Young Leaders of Cedar Rapids” until the US Supreme Court rules that the US Jaycees can’t ban women from being members of the group.

  • 1982
    • CR Jaycees file a complaint with the Civil Rights Commission charging sex discrimination by the national organization.
  • 1981
    • Jaycees purchase their building at 225 5th Avenue SW and named it    the Frank Nye Center after the first State Jaycee President from Cedar Rapids.
    • Cedar Rapids Jaycees admit the first 5 women into the organization in  defiance of US Jaycee bylaws.

  • 1973
    • Cedar Rapids Jaycees extend 4 chapters. Ely and Swisher were   extended in only 3 hrs. CRJCs ranked #1 in state for the first time.
  • 1972
    • National Jaycee President Sam Winer went on record as being in favor of allowing women members to join the Jaycees which was a VERY controversial stance at  the time.
    • Jaycees sponsored the Stock Outboard National Championship Boat    Races with 700 drivers. Largest boat race in the world at the time.
    • Jaycees helped pass a bond issue to build a new airport terminal, which is still in use today. Don Hines son in law chaired that project.
  • 1971
    • Jaycees started “Pee Wee” football. Now known as the “Metro Youth   Football Program”.
    • Jaycees sponsored first “Challenge Cup” stock-car race at Hawkeye    Downs. Now known as the Miller 100. Richard Petty was in attendance and helped with promotion.
    • First Jaycee Haunted House ran in town. Clark McLeod was a member  at the time and wired the building for sound.

  • 1970's
    • “Playboy” casino’s started.

  • 1962
    • Cedar Rapids Jaycees petition State of Iowa for state wide daylight savings during summer months.

  • 1960's
    • Cedar Rapids Jaycees sponsored an Air Show at the airport featuring the Blue Angels. In 1970, one of the Blue Angels crashed, ending the show.

  • Early 1960s
    • CR Jaycees establish a free medical evaluation clinic for children.

  • 1955-1956
    • Bob Jones of Cedar Rapids serves as Iowa Jaycee State President.

  • 1954
    • CR Jaycees hit the 700 member mark, making them the 8th largest Jaycee group in the Nation.

  • 1953
    • "Cedar Rapids Young Men’s Bureau" officially changes name to "CR      Junior Chamber of Commerce".
    • CR YMB run their first Christmas Parade.

  • 1947-1948
    • Frank Nye serves as first Jaycee State President from Cedar Rapids.

  • 1944
    • Don Hines and Karl Blaise of the CR YMB pushed a bond issue to establish the Cedar Rapids Airport at its current location.
      • Don served as Airport Commissioner for first 28 years.

  • 1942
    • Cedar Rapids “Toy Shop” started 5 years before the "Toys for Tots" program by United States Marine Corp began.

  • 1941
    • CR YMB raises $8,500 for bond issue to fund the first municipal pool known as Ellis Pool.

  • 1937
    • Cedar Rapids group joins the Iowa Jaycees, but maintains the name "Cedar Rapids Young Men’s Bureau" (CR YMB).

  • 1936
    • CR YMB establishes "Golden Gloves Boxing Tournament" as a fundraiser.

  • 1933
    • Cedar Rapids group starts as Young Men’s Bureau of the Chamber of Commerce with an age limit 35 years old.

  • 1932
    • First Cedar Rapids group activity was the Cedar River boat races, drawing 15,000 people and raised $1,100.

  • 1928
    • Iowa Jaycees organization was first formed.

  • 1920
    • National Jaycees first formed with 12 chapters.
  • 1918
    • First Jaycee Chapter established in St Louis by Henry Giessenbier and 32 other members.