LODI (CBS13) — Several Boys and Girls Clubs around the region have been facing hardship and uncertainty over the last few years after experiencing one financial challenge after another.
The problem has forced clubs to come up with creative ways to keep the lights on and the doors open, but sometimes leaders say that is not enough.
One option leaders say is closing the doors, but that would leave hundreds of kids without a place for recreation.
Ever since the Boys and Girls Clubs of Lodi lost one of its major donors in 2015, the organization has been struggling to stay afloat. Services were reduced, positions cut and now closure may be around the corner.
“After a while, you have to let the community know that everyone sees all the great things you do and they see all the kids in the building and they think everything is great, but the reality is the fact that everything is great, but it takes dollars in order for us to operate like that,” said Edwin Cotton, CEO, Boys and Girls Clubs of Lodi.
The organization is down to two full-time employees, everyone else is either part-time or a volunteer. The club is also down to its basic programs.
“It’s going to take for us to be able to sustain ourselves through the end of the year, we need about $100,000 to $150,000, and you know we have some folks that traditionally make their donations toward the end of the year and we still are looking forward to those but right now our immediate need is to make sure we continue to operate until those come in,” he said.
Earlier this year, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Tracy faced a similar situation. The organization was denied a half a million dollar federal grant, money they relied on for years. But with the help of the community, it raised half of the money lost.
“It was just a very competitive grant. When Tracy found out, it was unacceptable, it was you know, we need to do something and so with the support of the medical community, of the business community, individuals, parents we all came together rallied and donated at whatever level,” said Sofia Valenzuela, director of development, Boys & Girls Clubs of Tracy.
Employees have been fundraising and have only $100,000 left to help keep the doors open for the time being. They hope “Night of Art and Community” on Oct 18th at the Grand Theater in downtown Tracy will help get them there.
“We will have the opportunity to apply again and that’s something we’re looking at, looking at other grants, researching for other opportunities for revenue but at the end of the day, it falls back on having the community support so we will continue reaching out,” she said.
Leaders with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Tracy are now fundraising through text message. People can Text to 24700 and add BGCT500 in the subject line to text their donation.
Meanwhile, to give to the club in Lodi people can call (209) 334-2697 or visit the group’s Go-Fund-Me page.