To continue supplying a budget for year-round activities while also mounting a multiyear capital campaign, adult leaders of the Boys & Girls Club of Bulloch County hope to call on established supporters and new funding sources.
One supporter they won't have to win over is Karl Peace, Ph.D., the medical research biostatistician and professor who endowed the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health at Georgia Southern University in honor of his late wife.
Over the last seven years, Peace and various donors who have met his matching-gift challenges have supplied about $250,000 to the Boys & Girls Club.
"No one that I have known or met came up in a more poverty stricken, underserved or abusive environment than I," Peace said in an email. "A few adults expressed belief in me and my ability - essentially extending an emotional and confidence-forming hand-up. This helped me to rise above the conditions of my environment."
He sees the Boys & Girls Club providing the same kind of hand-up, he said in response to a question about why he gives. Often providing talks on the "fun, magic and importance of mathematics," Peace also volunteers time with the boys and girls.
"Many of the kids ... benefit from knowing that others believe in them and from knowing the importance of education," Peace wrote.
In 2009, he offered to match contributions in the club's annual campaign and wound up giving $74,000 to equal the total from other donors. In recognition of this and his several in-kind gifts, the club named its classrooms and computer lab the Karl E. Peace Center for Academic Achievement.
This year, when the club sent out requests for support for scholarships to its summer program, Peace responded with an offer to match what board members gave personally, reported Mike Jones, Boys & Girls Club of Bulloch County executive director. The board members gave about $21,000, so Peace gave about $21,000 more.
Justin Houston helping
With sponsorship from Wild Wing Café, Justin Houston, Statesboro-born outside linebacker with the Kansas City Chiefs, is hosting two Boys & Girls Club of Bulloch County benefit events this weekend. A number of professional and university football players are scheduled to attend.
The Celebrity Basketball Game will be held Friday at Statesboro High School. Doors open at 6:45 p.m., with tipoff at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free for children and $5 for adults. Attendees also may buy raffle tickets for a 50-50 Half Court Shot and autographed memorabilia.
The Free Football Camp is expected to host about 300 Bulloch County youth, ages 8-18, Saturday at Statesboro High School from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. The registration address is justinhoustonevents.com.
The Boys & Girls Club of Bulloch County has an $850,000 current-year operating budget, Jones said. A little more than half of that comes from government and agency grants, and three major federal grants secured last year enabled the club to increase its funding to that level after a previous reduction to about $500,000.
The nonprofit organization employs about 35 paid staff during the year, including a number of teachers and teaching aides, as well as using volunteers.
Al Hackle may be reached at (912) 489-9458.