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City gift to help keep Boys & Girls Club doors open

Posted: August 29, 2012 6:41 p.m.
Updated: August 29, 2012 6:41 p.m.
 

Reeling from a series of fundraising setbacks, organizers with the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley were making contingency plans: shortening hours of operation, taking “furlough Fridays” or even shutting down a facility.

But an appeal for help to the city of Santa Clarita paid off Tuesday night as council members unanimously approved a $100,000 gift to the longtime Santa Clarita Valley resource for children and parents.

“I think we are at a critical position here for both the Senior Center and the Boys & Girls Club,” Councilman Bob Kellar said in introducing a call for $100,000 to go to the club and another $100,000 to the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center from the city’s contingency fund.

“We’re in a very tight situation with this economy,” Jim Ventress, chief professional officer for the club, said in an interview Wednesday.

“We’ve had to cut staff down from 42 to 27, and we’ve eliminated our summer basketball, summer softball the art program at Sierra Vista Junior High School,” one of two centers the club runs for low-cost afterschool activities.

Club officials have had to make some difficult decisions and cuts to accommodate the half-million-dollar funding decrease the club has seen over the last five years, Ventress said. But when the crisis reached the point where the doors might have to be closed to kids, organizers believed it necessary to ask for help.

“These are all pretty drastic measures and we all know how important the Boys & Girls Club is to our community,” Kellar said. “It’s a one-time support.”

In years past, the club has raised about $400,000 during its annual auction gala, held in June. The money provided nearly a third of its annual budget.

But the last auction raised just $160,000.

To address the problem, club officials are ramping up their “It Just Takes One” campaign, which raises funds at the individual level. In the past, the club has raised around $80,000 through these types of solicitations, supplementing government grants and large donations such as the city’s gift, Ventress said.
Now the goal is to raise $150,000, he said.

psmith@the-signal.com
661-287-5526

 

 

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