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Home > About > News > Boys & Girls Clubs face closing a number of Clubs after government funding not renewed
May 30, 2024 | Press Release

Boys & Girls Clubs face closing a number of Clubs after government funding not renewed

The non-renewal of approximately $3 million in federal funds may force Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Ohio to cut back its services across the region if the gap cannot be closed with new financial support.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Ohio CEO Allen Smith said the organization is doing “everything we can possibly do” to head off Club closings, which could impact hundreds of kids ages 6-18 who go to the Clubs after school each day. BGCNEO, which does not charge families for membership, has about 9,800 members at 49 Clubs in six Northeast Ohio counties.

BGCNEO is launching a corporate campaign and seeking additional local and state government support in an effort to close the funding gap before the 2024-2025 school year starts.

Boys & Girls Clubs are safe, fun places for kids to go to after school and in the summer. Clubs focus on academic success, healthy lifestyles and leadership skills. Members receive a free daily meal, help from caring adult mentors and opportunities in sports, the arts and career readiness.

Clubs provide parents access to free, high-quality after-school programs that ensure their child is safe, supervised, and engaged in learning. An independent national survey of Boys & Girls Clubs shows that kids in our program make positive changes – all of which benefit our community. These changes include increased graduation rates, improved academic scores, getting more involved in community service and being less likely to do risky things like carrying weapons or using drugs and alcohol.

Smith said the loss of federal funds most directly impacts Clubs in Cuyahoga and Lorain counties.

“We are facing a difficult challenge, one that could have life-altering consequences for some of our most vulnerable children,” Smith said. “Families across Northeast Ohio count on us to provide a safe place for their children at no cost. The prospect of having to close even one Club, let alone several, is disconcerting. We continue to hope the community will rally behind our kids.”

BGCNEO officials said the unexpected loss of federal funds has led to a budget shortfall. Additionally, many school systems, including the Cleveland Metropolitan School District and Lorain City School District, are reducing or eliminating afterschool programs; BGCNEO has Clubs in 38 schools.

Smith said BGCNEO is looking “to serve as many kids in as many places as possible.”

BGCNEO’s corporate campaign is chaired by Mark Bachmann, partner at Marcus Thomas LLC, and Alex King, executive vice president, marketing and brand strategy for the Cleveland Guardians.

“The stakes here are high, and we are calling on the corporate community to join us in making sure this life-changing organization can serve as many children as possible,” King said. “The response we are getting from corporate leaders has been positive – they see the need and they see that Clubs work. Time is short, and we need more companies to get involved.”

Law enforcement statistics show that the 3-6 p.m. weekday time period after school is when kids are most likely to become victims of crime or to get into trouble. That is when the Clubs are open.

BGCNEO has established a Save Our Clubs campaign donation page.

BGCNEO typically reduces the number of Clubs open during the summer by consolidating two nearby sites at one location. This year it is possible some Clubs closed for the summer will not reopen.

The summer session starts June 10. Registration is now open.

BGCNEO, which has about 350 employees, was formed in 2019 by the merger of Clubs in Cleveland, Akron, Lorain County and Sandusky. It is one of the largest Boys & Girls Clubs in the Midwest.