Boys & Girls Club sets fund drive goal at $100,000

Boys & Girls Club sets fund drive goal at $100,000

DANVILLE — Boys & Girls Club of Danville officials hope to raise at least $100,000 during its annual It Just Takes One campaign.

Executive Director Rob Gifford said the youth organization's fundraiser kicked off a couple of weeks ago, a little earlier than in the past, with a mail campaign to past donors. In addition, he and board members are paying visits to potential donors.

"I don't think that most people are aware of everything that the Boys & Girls Club offers," said Gifford, who took the reins in December with the goals of raising the club's profile in the community and expanding its donor base. "We're not a baby-sitting service or a day care. We provide a lot of great educational programs and character-building and leadership development programs for kids in our community, and we want to go out and let everyone know about them."

The idea behind the campaign is "it just takes one caring adult, one Boys & Girls Club and one gift to forever impact the life of a child."

Gifford said the local club, which operates out of the Mervis Unit at Garfield Park, has more than 200 members, ages 6 to 18, and an average daily attendance of 140.

"In 93 percent of our families, the parents work and 70 percent are single-parent households," he said, adding that the late afternoon and early evening hours can be the most dangerous for kids with no supervision.

Gifford said about 50 percent of the organization's annual budget — about $330,000 this fiscal year — comes from individual and corporate contributions. Another 27.4 percent comes from grants, 21.7 percent comes from the United Way, and the rest from membership fees and facility rentals.

Gifford said fundraising efforts will go through the end of April. However, the organization will continue to accept donations throughout the year.

Donors can make payment on a monthly basis. They also can make a three-year pledge and spread payments over that time period.

"That really helps us plan for the future," Gifford said.

Gifford said he and board members are excited to tell the community about the club's programs, which focus on the arts, character and leadership development, education and career development, health and life skills and sports, fitness and recreation.

Gifford pointed out that in 2012, all students improved a grade in one or more subjects; 44 percent earned honors or high honors and 10 percent missed earning honors by one grade; 100 percent of seniors graduated high school and 90 percent received a partial or full academic scholarships to pursue higher education. Behavior problems also decreased at school.

In addition, teen service clubs received the Presidential Gold Medal Service Award for completing more than 2,500 hours of community service.

"Ultimately, these are all things that are going to benefit everyone as our kids get older and become productive citizens who contribute to the community," Gifford said.

Gifford invited anyone who is interested in learning more about the club and/or volunteer opportunities to take a tour and see the programs in action. To schedule a tour, call 446-4315.