To the Editor:
On behalf of the Boys & Girls Club, I want to share some changes that are occurring beginning this fall which will affect our families.
Recently, the Board of Directors approved an increased program fee effective in August to address a cut in other revenue and grant support. The new program fee to participate in before- and after-school pro-grams will be $100 per child per semester. This fee includes participation in all the early release days.
The decision to increase club program fees was not taken lightly. The other option we had as an organization was to close sites, which would have created a waiting list at our Fifth Street location due to licensing capa-city. That would have equated to hundreds of children without before- or after-school care.
Over many years, we have been primarily funded with grants, but several grant streams are ending. In fact, 63 percent of our budget is grant funds, and more than 50 percent of that amount will disappear over the next couple of years. Within the last week, we were notified that because of a decrease in available funds for fiscal year 2015, the Department of Education announced cuts to our grants of over $76,000 beginning July 1.
Our board had already begun strategically planning for a deficit that would happen in the future. Part of our strategic planning is to have more diversi-fied and balanced funding streams, and program fees are a part of that. With increased fees, we will not shift all lost grant funds onto parents. For families who cannot afford the increased fees, the club has financial assistance in place to ensure their children can continue to attend club programs.
We will continue to explore grant opportunities to fund the core areas of programming that we provide: academic success, good character and citizenship and healthy lifestyles. Also, we will continue to operate both of our fundraisers, Casino Night and the Funding for the Future Campaign.
If you or someone you know have a resource that may help, whether it is financial or programmatic, we would love to hear from you. We also want to extend a huge thanks to those of you in the community who already donate or support us in other ways.