ST. LOUIS – After years of discussing a partnership, the boards of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis and Boys & Girls Club of Bethalto, Illinois unanimously voted to merge in hopes of strengthening the organizations and providing more youth access to low-income, life-changing programs and services for children and families across the bi-state area.
The combined organizations will now serve nearly 9,000 youth in the region, and that number is likely to rapidly increase.
The Boys & Girls Club Bethalto has had a waiting list of over 100 children for nearly two years. The merger into the BGC Clubs of Greater St. Louis will give them more access to funds and enhanced fundraising which, in return, will allow them to provide better resources in their area, and open a new site in the future.
“I’m excited about this unique opportunity to combine efforts with the Boys & Girls Club of Bethalto. We have a shared goal to provide the best possible services to our youth members and believe our collective efforts will produce powerful results for the Greater St. Louis community,” said Dr. Flint Fowler, president of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis.
“This decision was made following months of exploration, benchmarking, and analysis. The unanimous conclusion is to merge our organizations to create a more effective, efficient, and results-oriented enterprise for members, as well as staff.”
Kathy Wilson, executive director of BGC Bethalto, says she is most excited about the career development and mentorship programs that her community will now have access to through the merger.
“They have a huge youth employment program that we currently do not have. We do not have the capacity or the staff for that,” said Wilson. “They have so much more to offer than our small club over on this side of the river and there is a great need in Illinois that we have not been able to expand and serve.”
While each organization continues to integrate and develop and working foundation normal operation at all locations will continue, and members of all organizations will continue to attend their home clubs ensuring positive outcomes in priority areas that of academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles.
“I think our goal is to be able to serve children but be able to serve them either better, and hopefully not have waiting lists because every day that goes by without children having access to programs and opportunity means that they missed out on a chance to become their best selves,” said Dr. Fowler.
Fowler and Wilson will work hand-in-hand with on-staff development and training to establish an across the board standard for all Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis.