Columbus Southeast Lions

Est. 1940

It's time for a great South-End/South-Side debate! ​

In honor of The Great South-end, South-side Debate and Reunion, make a donation to the Southeast Lions Club as a South-End or a South-Side supporter! Your donations help decide which title will reign in 2024! All donation proceeds support the South-end/side. Are you a south-ender or a south-sider? Cast your vote now!

Service. Friendship. Fellowship.


The Southeast Lions club has been serving the Columbus community since 1940. Our mission is to improve the quality of life in Southeast Columbus by taking a leadership role within the community to identify our neighbors challenges, and provide funding and support to those in need. Being a Lion is not just about service. It’s also about fun, friendship, and fellowship. Many life-long friendships are established through the Lions work be it, service projects, fundraising efforts and community meetings. As part of the Southeast Lions club, community is the center of what drives us to honor our mission.

About Southeast Lions

Lions Mission Statement

Improve the quality of life in Southeast Columbus by taking a leadership role within the community to identify and provide funding and support to meet these needs.

2023 Southeast Lions Roar Annual Newspaper

Since 1949, The Southeast Lions Club has published our annual report, “The Southeast Lions Roar — Good Newspaper” to our community providing information about the many projects completed in Southeast Columbus. We thank all who support our paper with advertising and donations so that projects are possible, benefitting this community. The Southeast Lions Club is proudly “The Club That Gets Things Done” thanks to you, our community! 

This is your copy of our report to the community and our promise to our advertisers to distribute thousands of copies of our Southeast Lions Roar Newspaper throughout our community.

 Lions Roaring Louder than Ever – Join Us!

The Southeast Lions have been serving our beloved South Side, South End neighborhoods since 1940. I grew up in the South End. My Dad was a Lion and he took our family to the annual Lions picnic at the YMCA Park throughout the sixties and seventies. My sisters and I went down the Grandaddy slide (built by the Lions) dozens of times. We played softball and ate lots and lots of hot dogs and burgers. My Dad and his fellow Lions went door to door and sold the Lions Roar (this newspaper) raising funds for local neighborhood schools and organizations.

But time goes by, and things change. That Grandaddy slide is no longer there. Many folks moved out of the neighborhood and many others moved in. Things seemed simpler back then, and many folks reflect on those times with nostalgia and even wish things had not changed. I love hearing stories from some of our older Lions. Their eyes tear up as they share moments when they gave a pilot dog to a new owner, or a big check to the Dominican Learning Center to support immigrants, or built and donated the Southeast Lions Park and on and on. The Lions have done so much good over the years in the South End.

There are some wonderful things to build on as we grow our club today. And we have
something today that makes what we build together even stronger. I look around now
at our members, and my eyes tear up as I see our incredibly diverse backgrounds, experiences, and talents. We represent so many different perspectives and communities. Yet, ALL OF US have one thing in common, even with those Lions from the 20th century. Every Lion is “willing to serve” and loves our South End. Every. Single. One. As we move forward with a membership that looks more like the South Side of today, I am confident that we will do better and that our neighborhood will gain strength and become more vibrant each and every day.

No matter where you come from, or what you do, if you are willing to serve and you love our neighborhood, we welcome you with open arms. As a Lion you will have an opportunity to help our neighbors grow and thrive. And your roar will be heard for many years to come.

Join us!
Lion Tom Grote

Donna Bates says she’s retired. Don’t believe her for a second.

Although she stopped working 24 years ago as a fiscal officer for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections, Bates is still a very busy woman. She’s a board member for the Reeb Center and an officer for the Steelton Village Civic Association. She’s a musician and church secretary. She’s a trustee for the Parsons Area Merchants Association and is part of a group that provides scholarships to African American students in Columbus City Schools.

She has been an active member of Columbus Southeast Lions Club since 2019, and this year, she’s the first recipient of the club’s Lifetime Service Award.

“I have this passion to stay busy and to be involved,” she says. “I don’t want to isolate myself, because if you’re not aware of the situation in your neighborhood, you can’t help.”

It’s a philosophy that the lifetime South Side resident saw in action while watching her mother, Carrie Garnes, mobilize a group of neighbors around Barthman Avenue in the early 1970s. They collected petition signatures and were successful in stopping the city’s planned demolition of homes south of Reeb Avenue in order to expand industrial development.

Not only did they save the neighborhood, they also helped secure federal assistance for improvements to the area.

Bates’ mother thought then what she feels now: “It’s about what’s right and wrong, what is good for everybody and not just a few. You can see change in a neighborhood, and when you see it’s on the negative side, you want to do something.”

And, she adds with a smile, “My husband says I don’t know how to say no.”

Southeast Lions President Tom Grote says Bates was an obvious choice for the Lions Club recognition.

“Donna was born on the South Side and, to this day, still lives on the South Side,” he says. “She has spent a lifetime advocating for her neighbors and volunteering to make the neighborhood a better place. We owe her a debt of gratitude for her lifetime of service. We’re so happy to be honoring her with the first-ever Lifetime Service Award from the Columbus Southeast Lions.”

Her connection to the Southeast Lions goes far beyond membership in the service organization. Bates’ childhood home on Barthman Avenue was just half a block away from Southeast Lions Park, a 1.3-acre playground purchased by the club and donated to the City of Columbus in 1946.

It figures prominently in her memories.

“I was there every summer. When it was open, I was there,” she says. “I learned how to play softball there. Art and crafts, everything was there. There were dance parties on the weekend. All of us would participate. It’s how I found out about other cultures.”

“The Lions, even then, reached out in the community,” Bates says now. “Those are the kinds of things that drew me to join. When they do neighborhood cleanups, it’s a memory for me of Saturdays when everybody was out sweeping, raking leaves.”

Her memories aren’t all rosy, though. And although she’s candid about challenges facing the South Side today, Bates’ assessment isn’t bleak.

Remember her mother’s activism in 1972 to stop demolition of people’s homes? It was made especially critical because the practice of redlining, which had been technically outlawed by then but still practiced more subtly, would have kept her parents and other Black homeowners from purchasing homes farther north.

Bates’ beloved neighborhood, then as now, was a multi-racial, multi-ethnic enclave. She lives about six minutes away these days with husband, Wiley. Except for a few years in another part of town – “I didn’t like it,” she says – the couple raised their three sons on the South Side.

Today, Bates says, she’s happy to be working with a new generation of neighbors eager to volunteer their time and put in the effort required to help others. She has noticed that one new family on her old street moved in and began fixing up their house and yard. Soon after, someone across the street started doing the same.

It makes her very optimistic even in times that can seem rather turbulent.

“We can all sit and sulk, but it’s not going to change anything,” she says. “If we can sit around a table and say, ‘What are we going to do that makes a difference,’ you can work together to bring any kind of positive action to where you live.”

It takes a group, Bates has learned. So although her name is on the Lifetime Service Award from the Columbus Southeast Lions Club, she is eager to share the accolades.

“I will be 80 on my next birthday, and I think I still haven’t done as much as other people,” says Bates, even as she concedes that she really is more busy now than when she was working full-time for the state.  

“I just have more mouth,” she says with a laugh. “My dad was the quiet one. He would always say about my mom, ‘There she goes again.’ I think my husband says that, too.”

Lions Code of Ethics

Lions Code of Ethics from 1950 Lions Roar

To show my faith in the worthiness of my vocation by industrious application to the end that I may merit reputation for quality of service. To seek success and to demand all fair enumeration or profit as my just due, but to accept no profit or success at the price of my own self-respect lost because of unfair advantage taken or because of questionable acts on my part.

To remember that in building up my business it is not necessary to tear down another’s, to be loyal to my clients or customers and true to myself. Whenever a doubt arises, as to the right or ethics of my position or action towards my fellow man, to resolve such doubt against myself. To hold friendship as an end, not a means. To hold that true friendship exists not on account of the service performed by one to another, but that true friendship demands nothing but accepts service in the spirit in which it is given. Always bear in mind my obligations as a citizen to my nation, my state and my community, and to give to them my unswerving loyalty in word, act, and deed. To give them freely of my time, labor and means. To be careful with my criticisms, and liberal with my praise, to build up and not destroy.


Southeast Lions Club Foundation

We are a 100% volunteer organization. The entirety of your donation goes to worthy programs that support our neighborhoods.


Please download your copy of the Lion’s Roar and donate any amount here to support our South Side Neighborhoods. If you have purchased an ad for the paper you may make payment here as well.


This year, the Southeast Lions will have given to over 2,040 separate projects since our founding in 1940. (How cool is that?!)
Here is a list of the organizations we have supported since our founding.

Support for Ron Derry’s inspirational school presentations. The GOOD program shines the spotlight on students who work hard, exhibit good citizenship and develop good study habits.

South High School Band Boosters

Financial assistance and provide meals.

Keep Columbus Beautiful

Clean up initiative, manpower to pick up trash.

Ronald McDonald House Charities Board

Provide meals for patrons. 

Camp Echoing Hills

Financial support for disabled children to attend summer camp.

The Dominican Learning Center (DLC) serves adult learners seeking to improve reading, pass the GED examinations or learn English as a Second Language (ESL).

Dominican Learning Center

Financial assistance provided. 

St. Ladislas and St. Vincent de Paul Society Food Pantry

Support provided for the food pantry.

Support to assist children attending Reeb Center after school and summer projects.

Newsreel Magazine

Financial support provided. 

Schiller Community Center

Fishing Derby for Youth – Financial support provided. 

Charity Newsies

Financial assistance to clothe children in need.

Have sponsored the annual Easter Egg Hunt for over 70 years providing financial support and volunteers.

Support provided for the food pantry.

General support provided.

Support for Rich Sammon’s Park and Southeast Lions Park.

Support to enroll children from Southend.

Support provided for Honor Flights.

Support for reading services to the visually impaired.

Support provided for cornea implant program.

Help collect eye glasses for the organization.


Members of the our club range in age from their 20s to their 90s. We have veterans from WWII and members who just graduated from college. This makes our club special as members learn from each other and serve together to make the neighborhood stronger and more vibrant. We welcome diversity. The only requirement for joining is a willingness to show up and selflessly serve. Come meet us at one of our general meetings and get to know our pride. Email us at