The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

March 6, 2013

Club seeks public’s help with fundraiser

BY JENNIFER BAILEY
Commercial-News

DANVILLE — The Boys & Girls Club sees an average daily attendance of 140 youth, with 200 in the summer. The wait list is about 40 youth, but the list often has 100-plus names on it.

Boys & Girls Club Executive Director Rob Gifford said some families have realized their children won’t get in.

With limited funding comes limited staff. To help with operations, the club has again started its annual “It Just Takes One” campaign to raise at least $100,000.

Gifford said more than 50 percent of the club’s revenues come from private donations. Income comes from: 44 percent, individual and corporate contributions; 27.4 percent, grants; 21.7 percent, United Way; 6.6 percent, membership fees; and .3 percent, facility rentals.

Eighty percent of the club’s expenditures are for program services. Twenty percent are for administrative costs.

Gifford said the annual “One” campaign is important because of less funding seen in past years from donations and the United Way.

The club’s annual budget for this year is $330,000. This is down from last year. Due to a funding shortage, two program assistant positions were cut at the end of last year and the youth now have to be grouped differently with staff, he said.

There are two program assistants per group of youths, Gifford said. The club has 11 employees. Because the club is trying to keep the same amount of youth members, it has started to fill staff losses with volunteers.

Gifford said the budget is as lean as it can be at this point.

With the youth waiting list, the club needs to increase revenues before it can add more staff and then more members.

Program costs for members have been increased in the past, but it’s hard on parents. The household income for about 50 percent of the members is $19,000 or less. Seventy percent of members live in a single-parent household, with 93 percent of the parents working.

Gifford said the club isn’t a child-care center. Homework comes first and then other activities.

The core program services at the club: character and leadership development; education and career development; health and life skills; sports, fitness and recreation; and the arts.

“Tasty Tuesdays” are when members try new, healthy foods.

All members have seen improved grades in one or more subjects in school, while 44 percent have obtained honors or high honors in the last school year.

Members’ high school graduation rate is 100 percent.

The teen service clubs also were Presidential Gold Medal Service award winners for completing more than 2,500 hours of community services.

Gifford also wants more of the public to understand all the programs the club provides.

The club can provide stability and structure for youth, in addition to providing them a safe place to go after school and in the summer.

Gifford would like see more teen members.

Gifford has sent out letters to potential donors for the “One” campaign and he’s been spreading the word about the need for donations. The club is looking to expand its donors.

The campaign will continue through the end of April. Gifford said they’d love to exceed $100,000. Some businesses also do pledges for multiple years.

He reiterates that the club fills a specific niche in the community with youth and education.

After school time is important for children to have supervision. That’s why the club works with school District 118 too, he added.

To donate

To donate money to the Boys & Girls Club of Danville’s “It Just Takes One Campaign” with a goal of at least $100,000, stop by or mail a donation to the club at 850 N. Griffin St., at Garfield Park, or call 446-4315. Volunteers also are needed at the club, such as retired teachers to tutor, and club executive director Rob Gifford is available to talk to groups or give tours of the club.