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Landmark Decision for Local Boys & Girls Clubs: Clubs in Lake and Porter Counties to Merge


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After several months of re-exploration and discussions the Board of Directors of both Boys & Girls Clubs of Porter County and Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest Indiana voted to merge the two entities into one organization. The guiding principle in the due diligence process was the best interest of all kids served by each organization.

Both organizations serve a combined total of more than 10,000 youth annually. This landmark decision was put to vote at two separate Board meetings on June 19. Bonnie Coleman, Board member and spokesperson for Boys & Girls Clubs of Porter County stated, "The key question throughout merger discussions was, would a reallocation of resources and assets allow us to serve our kids in a more efficient and effective way? When that answer became more clear as a resounding 'yes,' the decision to merge became easy as the best interests of all youth, no matter the county in which they reside, were taken into consideration.” Tanya Leetz, Board member and spokesperson for Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest Indiana added, “A merged Boys & Girls Club will allow us to combine resources, efforts and talent to move programming for our kids dramatically forward to meet today’s and future needs. Kids are kids no matter what county they live in, and our Clubs combined efforts will only strengthen our missions of helping youth realize their full potential as productive, responsible, and caring citizens.”

While the vote of merging both organizations has taken place, the actual unification will be accomplished over a period of time, with the goal of becoming a single entity by January 2018. A transition committee is in place to support efforts of operating as one organization. In the short term, Club operations will continue as they always have to ensure quality after-school and summer programming are accessible to youth and their families. In the long term, Club operations will not change significantly but many enhancements will be expected. However, both organizations working as one will see operating efficiencies, economies of scale, broadened outreach, and more resources allocated back into all ten Clubs. Additionally, new programs and services will be added and measurements will be reinforced to ensure positive outcomes in priority areas that include Academic Success, Good Character and Citizenship, and Healthy Lifestyles.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Porter County President and CEO, Ryan Smiley also has been serving as Interim President and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest Indiana since October of 2016 while both organizations are operating under a formal Memorandum of Understanding. A due diligence committee from both Boards formed and delved deeper into evaluating the benefits and challenges of a merger. The six-month process was guided by a due diligence committee with assistance from Boys & Girls Clubs of America. The committee’s leadership and expertise will continue through the transition process with approval and assistance from both organizations’ Board of Directors.

"The single most important issue in our country is ensuring that today’s generation of young people has the opportunity to achieve the American Dream. We believe that every young person deserves the chance to realize his or her full potential and achieve a great future," states Jim Clark, president of Boys & Girls Clubs of America. "Part of the vision to help youth achieve success is to ensure strong Club organizations in every community. To this end, and in this case, it is beneficial to explore alternate arrangements such as mergers, consolidations and shared services. Both organizations, serving as one, will grow a more sustainable Club presence with greater, positive impact for youth in Porter and Lake counties. This forward thinking decision will elevate all Northwest Indiana Clubs into the top 2% of Clubs nationwide in the number of Club locations, registered members, and average school-year attendance. The result will have a tremendous and lasting impact on thousands of children now and long into our collective futures. This decision has Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s full support to ensure not only its success, but the success of all Club members." Clark states further.

About Boys & Girls Clubs of Porter County:
Opening doors to GREAT FUTURES for Porter County’s youth since 1971, our mission is to inspire and enable the youth of our communities to realize their full potential as productive, caring, and responsible citizens. Boys & Girls Clubs of Porter County operates four Club locations in Chesterton, Portage, South Haven and Valparaiso; manages a Club in Culver, Indiana; and houses before and after-school childcare programs, known as Kidstop, in nine school locations throughout three school districts. Clubs are open after school and provide a great place for youth in grades K-12 to meet friends and have fun while in a safe, supervised environment. When school is out, our Clubs are in! Clubs are open during holidays and in the summer. For information on membership, volunteer opportunities, please contact your local Club, call (219) 464-7282 or visit bgcpoco.org. Great Futures Start HERE.

About Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest Indiana:
Our mission is to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Every child deserves the opportunity to be successful. Currently operating six Clubs throughout the region, Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest Indiana (BGCNWI) has been offering hope and opportunity to local youth since 1954 by providing a safe place for kids to learn and grow through life enhancing after-school and summer programming. With the support of highly trained professional staff and adult mentors, BGCNWI helps build great futures by offering fun, engaging and impactful programs to thousands of youth, ages 6 to 18, throughout the region. For more information, call (219) 881-1060 or visit bgcnwi.org.

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