Sam Banks named director of Don Moyer Boys & Girls Club

UPDATED 11:55 a.m. Wednesday.

CHAMPAIGN — The new leader of the Don Moyer Boys & Girls Club won't need a tour of the community when he starts July 1.

Champaign-Urbana is already home to Sam Banks.

The club's board has chosen Banks, the former longtime CEO of the Cunningham Children's Home, to replace the club's current executive director, Andre Arrington.

"We've been wanting to shout this from the rooftops for quite some time," said outgoing board president Toney Tomaso "With Sam, we feel our future is nothing but bright."

Here is a link to the appearance Wednesday of Banks and Tomaso on WDWS radio.

Arrington has been executive director for the past 10 years. The club board decided to seek new leadership this past January and selected Banks from a pool of more than 50 applicants, according to a fact sheet prepared for the announcement made at the club's annual meeting Tuesday evening.

Banks, 56, was the CEO of the Cunningham Children's Home from 1988 to 2008.

He will leave his current position as president and CEO of the Glenwood School for Boys and Girls, a boarding academy for disadvantaged children in the Chicago area, to lead the Don Moyer Boys and Girls Club.

The local community has remained his home during his years at the Glenwood School, he said. He and his wife kept their house in Champaign, and he has been commuting home on weekends.

Banks said he sees the Don Moyer leadership role as a great opportunity.

"It's an organization I've always had a tremendous respect for," he said.

Tomaso said the board selected Banks for his ability to work collaboratively with schools and other local organizations serving children, his fundraising skills, his proven leadership and experience.

"He's such a known commodity and a valuable person," he said.

Banks has a bachelor's degree from Quincy University and a master's degree from the University of Illinois Chicago. He said his vision for the club is to make it the pre-eminent organization that helps children, particularly underserved children, grow in the local community, he said.

The club has come down a rocky financial road, and Tomaso said stories about it turning to the public for help keeping its doors open can't continue to dominate what the Don Moyer Boys and Girls Club is about anymore.

In fact, he said, in the past year the board has cut the club's debt and taken a conservative approach to spending to get it back on track.

"In comparison to a year ago, I would say we're out of the woods," Tomaso said.

The club has paid down a revolving line of credit over the past 11 months, reducing the debt from $250,000 to $190,000, he said. It reduced some large expenses by closing a second facility and eliminating transportation service and part-time drivers.

Eliminating transportation reduced the number of children served from about 125-150 to the current 40-75, and that helped the club get a handle on finances, Tomaso said.

Among the challenges the club faces, he and Banks say: Its longtime building at 201 E. Park St., C, isn't adequately meeting the needs of both younger children and teenagers.

The board is open to all options, but the Park Street building needs upgrades and two campuses would be ideal, Tomaso said.

Banks said more people in the community need to know about the difference the Don Moyer Boys and Girls Club has made and will continue to make in the lives of local youths, and he plans to make the value of the club better known.

"I want to call on the success stories," he said.

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