Springfield, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Youths around Illinois benefit greatly from the Boys and Girls Club experience. But if the facilities are in disrepair, these life-changing programs cannot have their intended impact.
The Illinois Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs today joined Build Up Illinois for a Statehouse news conference supporting a new capital construction program that would provide millions of dollars in funding to help Boys and Girls Clubs repair, improve and enhance the safety of their facilities.
Build Up Illinois is a coalition of K-12, higher education, social service, health care and labor organizations pushing for “verticals” to be included in a new capital plan. Lawmakers are working with Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration to authorize by the end of the spring legislative session May 31 a new capital plan – the state’s first since 2009.
Bryan Soady, Alliance Director, and representing all of the Illinois Boys and Girls Clubs, outlined the significant capital needs facing the organizations. Boys and Girls Clubs in Illinois have capital needs – space and facility improvements, new facility construction, and safety and security enhancements – topping $35 million, but Clubs have committed to raise nearly 40 percent of the funding for these projects through private, corporate and other donors. The total state investment sought now is about $22 million.
“Our clubs deserve tremendous credit for doing more with less: providing excellent programs and services for thousands of children of all ages from challenging home situations to help put them on the right path to Great Futures. But it has been too long since Clubs have been provided the financial support they need to repair aging facilities and buildings, to fix leaky roofs and pipes and make other improvements to their facilities,” Soady said.
“We eagerly stand with Build Up Illinois today to call on the Illinois General Assembly and Governor to approve a new capital program this month and include funding to help meet the needs of the Illinois youth served by our Boys and Girls Clubs so we can continue to make a difference in young people’s lives.”
Soady was joined at the news conference Thursday by leaders of two members of the Alliance.
Sam Banks, CEO of the Don Moyer Boys and Girls Club in Champaign, said state capital funds are needed to complete a $12 million community center in partnership with the Champaign Park District that will focus on serving an additional 100 area youths and a total of 250 youths each day. Banks noted $9 million of the $12 million needed already has been raised through commitments and donations.
“Many of the children we see are just looking for a chance to move past the challenges in their life and succeed in school and eventually in their career,” Banks said. “We need this capital money to provide a facility where they can take full advantage of that chance.”
Kathy Wilson, CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Bethalto, said capital funds would help support a new facility to serve 6-10-year-olds with everything from homework and art to game rooms and a new kitchen. “Our clubs often become a home away from home, and we help meet many basic needs for the children we serve,” Wilson said. “These capital dollars will ensure we can meet the critical needs in our area and give these children the support they need to grow and thrive.”
This is a release from Build Up Illinois and Boys & Girls Clubs Illinois Alliance.