When I first thought about trying to do something like 50 Years and 1 Project, it was tough to decide who to select as the beneficiary.
Truthfully, I originally thought about several groups. I quickly narrowed my list down to 2. After a couple of months of meetings, conversations and careful consideration I selected the BGC of Buffalo's Food and Nutrition Program.
Some of my reasons are as follow.
First, a practical reason. If I'm going to donate money and time and if I'm going to ask friends to do the same, I want the organization to be accountable to me personally.
I'm a former board member of the Boys and Girls Club in my hometown of Elma NY. When I was more actively working with that club I was fortunate enough to meet several of the people who are key players with the Buffalo clubs including current Chief Professional Officer Diane Rowe. It'd be wrong to say that I am close personal friends with Diane but I am confident that I know her well enough to be secure when she tells me that our donations will indeed go into a fund for the Food and Nutrition Program in Buffalo and no where else.
I know that all 501(c)3 organizations have rules for using designated donations but it's just different when someone you know and trust looks you in the eye and says that they'll use your money efficiently.
Additionally, as I mentioned in the initial post of this blog, I greatly appreciate the wide ranging success that the Food and Nutrition Program achieves. As a reminder, it feeds children healthy meals up to 3 times per day. It teaches parents and children how to create healthful meals at home. It teaches parents and children how to shop for and purchase healthful foods. It teaches the club members who facilitate the program many of the social and professional skills that so many young people lack today.
Also, to a slightly lesser degree, I selected the Food and Nutrition Program to help me illustrate an important point about Boys and Girls Clubs. There are many who still believe today that BGCs are nothing more than a big basketball game.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Boys and Girls Clubs have educational opportunities, social opportunities, arts and crafts, and much more. Yes, sports still play an important role in BGC itineraries but if a member needs a computer to do some homework or if they want to paint a picture or if they want to just talk quietly with a friend or a club staff member, those options (and many others) are available.
Now, how about a stat that might just blow your mind.
Buffalo public schools graduate somewhere around 47 percent of the students. Conversely, for students attending Buffalo Boys and Girls Clubs an average of 3 times per week or more, the graduation rate rises to 87 percent!
Yes, regular attendance at Buffalo BGCs can very nearly DOUBLE a student's likelihood to graduate on time from high school.
Still think it's only about basketball???
In summary, I selected the Boys and Girls Clubs of Buffalo because of the outstanding benefits it offers its members and because of the fact that I'm confident that our money will be effectively spent.
CLICK HERE to support the BGC of Buffalo Food and Nutrition Program!