A committee of Beaufort community leaders has united to raise $200,000 before September 30 to keep the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Beaufort Area open for the summer and the future. In the past five years, a slumping economy, decreased donations, fewer grants and higher than expected operating expenses of the former teen center have drained reserve funds.
“Committee members have recognized the positive impact the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Beaufort Area have had on generations of Beaufort children and they are motivated to raise the money needed to secure operations,” Chris Protz, executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the
Lowcountry, said. “Most recently, the club was instrumental in improving reading levels among its members — this accomplishment is one of many ways the clubs are there to improve the quality of life and futures for its members.”
The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Beaufort Area have been consolidated into two clubs. The Sheldon Club is located at 21 Agnes Major Road. The Boys & Girls Club of Beaufort, at 1100 Boundary St., serves younger members and has a separate entrance for the Beaufort Teen Club.
“Along with nonprofits nationwide, the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Lowcountry has found itself in the midst of a perfect storm,” Protz said. “We have increased demand for our services. At the same time, donations have dropped off due to the current economy.”
“We are fortunate our board members had the foresight to merge the former Teen Center, located on Harrington Street, with the club on Boundary Street last year. Unfortunately, the depressed real estate market left the former Teen Center building empty for more than a year.”
Karen Golden, chairman of the Board of the Directors for the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Lowcountry — the parent organization of the Beaufort Clubs — organized a fundraising task group, comprised of community leaders to lead the charge to save the two Beaufort clubs.
Currently, the Beaufort Fundraising Task Group includes D.C. Gilley, Dr. Charles Kresch, Malcolm Goodridge, Marlena Smalls, Chilton Simmons, Roland Gardner, Elizabeth McMillen and Herman Gaither.
“This campaign is the beginning of a three-year business plan,” Protz said. “We first need to stabilize the clubs, reduce more operating expenses to balance the budget, recruit a larger base of influential board members and develop a resource development plan which reflects goals adapted for the times.
“We are committed to providing services for our community’s children now and for years to come,” Protz said. “However, just like everyone in the nation, we need to establish a new normal so our revenues meet our expenses.”