A new year means a clean slate for the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula following a rough year for some fundraisers.
Mary Budke, executive director for the Sequim and Port Angeles clubs, said going into 2012, they’ve operated in the black for two years with an anticipated budget just under $1 million.
“It’s been difficult,” Budke said, “We run pretty thin here.”
The clubs’ biggest fundraiser, the annual November auction, saw a slip from 2010 with a total just above $169,000, short of their $200,000 goal.
The event sold out of tickets but staff is looking for a way to encourage more bidders.
“After a lot of evaluation and survey, we determined there should be fewer items and more high ticket items,” Budke said.
Staff is considering adding entertainment, dancing after the event and consolidating silent auction items in an easier-to-navigate area. They’ve lowered their auction goal in 2012 to $175,000.
In late August, club officials expected their Campaign for Kids to come in $20,000 short of its $80,000 goal until an outpouring of support brought in more than $20,000 including an anonymous $10,000 donation. Their 2012 goal is $80,000 and runs April-August.
Their golf tournament runs May 18 in Sunland with a four-person scramble. The 20th annual event met its goal, Budke said, and their goal is $30,000 in 2012.
Jerry Sinn, board treasurer and past president, said last year was an interesting year for the club because fundraisers struggled but individual donations were up.
“So many businesses and nonprofits are having problems that it’s not unique to us,” Sinn said. “It’s a constant task to fund programs that are important to these kids. We start at zero at the beginning of the year and hope you raise enough.”
City councilors approved ongoing contracts for the club and other agencies through December 2014. The Sequim club will contract its services to the city and receive 25 percent of the city’s annual health and human service funds. This year, they allocated $75,000 for agencies, of which the club will receive $18,750 for youth activity and development programs and services.
The year prior, city councilors approved a contract worth $12,500 for the Teen Club, which began in 2007 with $100,000 and was reduced progressively.
The clubs’ first quarter fundraiser, The Gateway, a joint diner/auction for the clubs and education for youths in Uganda, recently was canceled. Last year, the clubs earned $8,200 from the event. Budke said Barbara Brown, founder of the Promise of Hope Foundation and organizer of the event, is ill, so they are changing the format.
Janet Gray, the clubs’ resource development director, said they are doing a non-event, a new trend in fundraising, when agencies ask potential attendees to donate the money they would have spent on a new outfit or getting their hair and nails done.
“Barbara Brown was the heart and soul of the event and without her we feel we can’t do it fully,” Gray said.
For more on Promise of Hope Foundation, visit www.thepromiseofhope.org.
Between two clubs, 33 employees operate Boys & Girls Clubs services for children ages 5-18. Recent cutbacks have brought them from seven to five full-time employees, Budke said, and senior staff hasn’t received a pay increase in four years. In Sequim, the unit director position remains open with interviews pending.
Keeping things thin doesn’t translate in the clubs’ attendance.
Budke said as federal and state programs reduce funding, parents are looking for cheaper alternatives like the Boys & Girls Clubs.
Sequim and Port Angeles see 390 students between their clubs. They’ve seen a large increase in the middle school student population ranging from 60-90 in Port Angeles a day and 40-50 in Sequim.
“All ages have gone up except upper high school with fewer seniors in the club,” Budke said. “They are employed or looking for employment.”
Going into 2012, Budke said she’s seeing a lot of potential in students.
“They are becoming hopeful again, talking about college and asking for help,” she said.
Budke has instructed staff to focus more on evidence-based programs that make a difference.
“Research shows kids who attend 52 times a year have their chances of going into the juvenile court system lower,” Budke said.
The likelihood of youths staying out of the system goes up and up the more they attend, she said.
“We measure our success by how our kids do. There are a few who didn’t graduate on time but are still working on their degree. If they have a healthy lifestyle and feel good about themselves, then it’s a success.”
Contact the Sequim Boys & Girls Club, 400 W. Fir St., at 683-8095.
Reach Matthew Nash at firstname.lastname@example.org.