Looking in from the outside it might appear that Boys & Girls Club of Kenosha has everything we need.
We have this great new building that opened in 2011.
We serve nearly 8,000 children from all walks of life.
Local governmental units, including the City of Kenosha, Kenosha County, and the Kenosha Unified School District, have all embraced our programs and have entered into very strong and necessary partnerships with us in the areas of gang prevention, education, community service, and youth employment.
We have extremely popular special events and a long list of passionate supporters.
We do, however, have some challenges that are going to require continued support from those who value the services we provide.
2013 has been an especially challenging year for Boys & Girls Club of Kenosha. At the end of last year our board struggled with finding ways to balance a budget that was going to be about 10 percent smaller on the revenue side.
Our Capital Campaign, which is the reason we have been able to build our building, had dominated our fundraising initiatives for several years and the generous donations we received in that campaign had a very real impact on our operations budget.
The Club has had an operations budget of $2 million for many years. That was true when we were in the old buildings and were serving 5,000 children. It remains the same today, even though we have substantially higher costs in this new building and are now serving nearly 8,000 children.
We are constantly reviewing and making adjustments in anticipation of the changing landscape of our revenue sources. Despite the loyal support of local government units, their revenue sources have been diminishing. Government grants make up half of our operating budget. Our partners in all local units of government have been extremely gracious in helping us to anticipate cuts and identifying other sources of government passthroughs that we may be eligible for.
Our board has taken an aggressive fundraising stance that has required them to get involved in our fundraising to degrees that they have never before had to. In addition, they made many budget cuts going into this year. But they did it in a way that our core program has not yet been affected.
It is our goal to continue down that road. Based on the response from the community to our new building, there is obviously demand for the kind of programs we provide. My staff of 13 professionals has embraced the challenge and has made the programs work with fewer resources in 2013.
We still have hills to climb. Our Capital Campaign, by any measure, was a huge success. Initiated in 2008/09 at the height of the economic downturn, we were able to generate nearly $10 million from a variety of sources. These included the City of Kenosha ($5 million in TIF financing), as well as two major donations from the Troha family and the Madrigrano family, which are reflected on the front of our building. The dollars we raised not only allowed us to construct the building, but helped to pay for the campaign costs, to offset some of the operations impact, and to create a donor designated endowment to support the long-term operations of the Club.
But we still have a $3 million mortgage. The debt service on that loan is money that would be much better spent on securing our programming that works and reaching out to even more children in this economy that has displaced so many families.
The board has made the tough choices and has set our operations budget on a positive path that has us moving ahead with a sense of optimism that we can rebuild some of the staff cuts we have incurred and continue to offer the very popular core programs Boys & Girls Club of Kenosha has become known for.
But we still need your help.
We need the community to understand that the donations we receive are more important than ever. We need you to continue to think creatively for those community events that are held “for the benefit of” Boys & Girls Club of Kenosha.
Most importantly, we need you to help our organization continue to believe in the potential of every child that arrives at our doors. We have a facility that has great potential to be a beacon of hope for this community for decades into the future. It is important that we understand the need for continuing support and involvement by everyone who shares our vision for a safe and optimistic future for all of our members.