Danville club aims to raise $25,000, turn it into $50,000

Danville club aims to raise $25,000, turn it into $50,000

DANVILLE — Boys & Girls Club of Danville officials are getting the word out about a matching-grant opportunity, which they hope will generate $50,000 for youth programs.

Executive Director Rob Gifford said the club is trying to raise up to $25,000 from private individuals, businesses and corporations, churches and other organizations over the next nine months. Under the One-for-One grant, the Boys & Girls Club of America will match every dollar that's donated locally.

"It's a unique opportunity," said Executive Director Rob Gifford, who has been contacting past donors about the grant this week. "When they learn their donation is going to be matched, it's really exciting to them. They feel like they're doubling their donation."

Operating out of the Mervis Unit at Garfield Park, the local club provides Vermilion County youth, ages 6 to 18, with a safe place between 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. It can take up to 140 members, and several membership for the school-year program, which kicked off on Monday, are still available.

Gifford said all of the funds will go to support programming, which focuses on education and career development, character and leadership development, the arts, health and life skills and sports, fitness and recreation.

"The programs we provide ... don't just affect the youth. They affect our community as a whole," said Gifford, who pointed out that each year, members improve their grades and have fewer behavior problems at school.

The donations also will allow the club to keep its membership fee at an affordable $75 per child for the school year, Gifford said.

"We don't want to rely on increasing our membership fees," he said. "We'll just have fewer kids here. Our goal is to have more kids."

The Boys & Girls Club of Danville's annual budget of about $330,000 is also supported by the United Way of Danville Area. The United Way annual fund drive, which starts Sunday and officially runs through Oct. 31, raises funds to specific, outcome-based programs that meet community organization's mission of improving people's lives in the areas of education, financial stability and health.

United Way beneficiaries agree to not solicit funds during the communitywide campaign so that multiple organizations aren't competing for a limited number of dollars at the same time.

"I spoke to Rob, and it sounds like this is an opportunity he should take advantage of as long as it is not direct fundraising from or in the community during this period," said Jeanne Mulvaney, United Way executive director.

Gifford said the club can still accept One-for-One campaign donations, and he can answer any questions people have about it during the blackout dates.

"I just won't be out there actively raising funds," he said, adding that's why he started notifying people about it now. He will resume that in November. "The Boys & Girls Club has a great partnership with the United Way, and what they're doing is very important, and it's for the whole community. We don't want to take anything away from that."

Gifford said the club doesn't have to wait until the end of the grant period to start using the funds. He said the national organization will cut a check up to three times during that period as the local funds come in.

Donations can be made to the The Boys & Girls Club Mervis Unit, 850 N. Griffin St., Danville, IL 61832. For more information, contact Gifford at 446-4315 or rgifford@bgcdnv.org

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