During August 1989 in Raymond, NH, Socrates "Socko" Chaloge of Bektash Shrine Temple's Clown Unit, and Frank "Pinky" Yetner of Palestine Shrine Temple's Clown Unit, decided to enlarge the 20-hour Shrine Clown training program of the Palestine Shrine Klown Kollege, started by "Pinky" in 1976, so as to encompass all Shrine Clowns in the North East Shrine Clown Association of North America.

The first classes were completed on January 28, 1990 in Salem, NH, where 38 Clowns graduated. A second set of classes was added to the curriculum for 2nd year clowns, and on January 20, 1991, in Andover, MA, 63 clowns graduated. A third set of classes was added to the curriculum for 3rd year clowns, and on January 19, 1992 in Andover, MA, a class of 101 clowns graduated.

The January 17, 1993 class held in Dedham, MA graduated 135 clowns. Then in-depth Round-Table Seminars were added for students completing 3 or more years. On January 23, 1994 in Mansfield, MA, 165 clowns graduated. In January 1998, the N.C.I. moved its program to Plymouth, MA, where it remains today. It is right down the street from Plymouth Rock, where the first Pilgrims stepped foot into North America and were greeted by the Wampanoag Indians.

In 1999 it opened its doors to the public and the Institute's name was changed from the North East Shrine Clown Institute, to the Northeast Clown Institute. Yet, its charity still remains the International Shrine Clown Association's Sneaker Fund. To date, there have been over 835 different clowns from all over the United States and Canada, who graduated from classes at the Northeast Clown Institute.