Greetings Members,

It is with a heavy heart that we write to you today. Dr. Wil Blechman passed away yesterday, September 15, 2021. He was 89 years old.

As Dr. Wil Blechman is being called to a greater service, we will continue to honor his memory and legacy with dedication and passion for improving the lives of children.

There is no doubt that we will miss Dr. Wil’s passion, devotion, and focus for early childhood development. Dr. Wil was a practicing Rheumatologist during his successful career. He was influenced by his wife Rachel Blechman and developed a passion for early childhood education. Rachel’s interest in early childhood development began during her undergraduate studies at Cornell University. She majored in Childhood Development and studied with Dr. Urie Bronfenbrenner, the co-founder of Head Start.

Together, Dr. Wil and Rachel forged a partnership that would change the way Kiwanis International viewed this essential stage of human development. Dr. Wil served as the President of Kiwanis International from 1990 to 1991. During his term in office, he introduced the program Young Children: Priority One and later chaired the International Young Children: Priority One Committee. The program initially proposed as a three-year project, quickly grew into a permanent focus of the Kiwanis Mission. Thousands of Kiwanians were empowered worldwide to advocate support for early childhood education. Dr. Wil served the great state of Florida, our nation, and our international community for over thirty years with countless acts of leadership.

Dr. Wil Blechman’s passion for improving the lives of our children will continue to inspire us into the future.

It was a great honor for the Florida Kiwanis Foundation to approach Dr. Wil and Rachel Blechman regarding a grant fund dedicated to early childhood programs (pregnancy to age 5). The creation of the Wil and Rachel Blechman Fund ensures that the Blechman’s legacy of improving the lives of children will endure for years to come. Grants are awarded to Kiwanis service projects that impact young children. The first grants were awarded in 2021 with Dr. Wil and Rachel participating in the grant review process.

In honor of Dr. Wil Blechman’s loving legacy, his family has requested that memorial contributions be made to: Wil and Rachel Blechman Fund of the Florida Kiwanis Foundation, 1001 Mayport Rd #331433, Atlantic Beach, FL 32233.

Let us keep Rachel and their family in our thoughts and prayers during this time of loss.




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