This year, a group of local non-profit executives began meeting once a month after work to spend some social time together to commiserate on the difficulties our organizations have faced.
Executives from the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Los Angeles Harbor, Gang Alternatives Program, Harbor Interfaith Shelter, Toberman Settlement House, YMCA, Harbor Community Clinic and Rainbow Shelter get together to wind down and relax with a group of peers who understand the same pressures and struggles. Don’t get me wrong, we all love our jobs and I feel that I am one of the luckiest people on earth to be able to lead the Boys & Girls Club, my refuge as a child. But the reality is that we have been facing some very stressful times these past three years as funding has been difficult to secure while the number of youth, homeless, abused, without healthcare, hungry, neglected, obese and despondent who come through our doors increases, oftentimes needing so much more than we can hope to fully supply.
I am not writing this article to whine about the struggles and challenges these executives and I face each day. Rather, I strive to reinforce once again the great work each of these organizations facilitate and the thousands of lives we often change and even save. To put it bluntly, we need your support now more than ever.
The reality is that you can have the greatest programs, staff, volunteers and facilities known to man – but if you do not have the consistent and increasing funding support needed to meet the growing demand of so many more children, adults and families in need, then so many lives that could have been saved will be tragically lost.
Our community’s non-profits are often the lifelines needed by so many individuals and families that are struggling just to hang on for another day. Each of us has a Board of Directors who gives personally of their bounty and time to support the great work being done. However, a non-profit cannot be supported solely by a Board when there are so many to be served.
For our Boys & Girls Clubs, our daily attendance alone grew from 2,150 per day last year to over 2,500 per day the first five months of 2012. Since most of the organizations I listed do not charge a fee for service, we must raise millions of dollars annually to meet the needs of the children, adults and families we serve. That’s millions of dollars we must raise each and every year.
As our 75th Anniversary year comes to a close, the largest untapped opportunity for the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Los Angeles Harbor are our thousands of alumni who, like me, had their lives changed for the better because of the Club. This is a call for your help.
We need you – our alumni – to give back (and substantially) now more than ever. As I mentioned at the Club’s recent induction to the San Pedro Sportswalk – we are the “finished products” of the Boys & Girls Club. We are now law enforcers, restaurateurs, postal employees, company executives, teachers, longshoremen, elected officials, lawyers, union leaders, prima ballerinas, electricians, crane operators, CPA’s, Port employees, retired professionals, small business owners and doctors to name just a few. We are calling all alumni as we need your support now more than ever if we are going to sustain our great impact by continuing to change and sometimes save so many lives.
For the non-profits of our community, it really does take a village to continue to do our great work day in and day out. I want to thank all of the individuals and companies that support my organization and all the other worthy non-profits of our community – your generosity is truly appreciated and important. For the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Los Angeles Harbor, the last 75 years have been great. Let’s make sure the next 75 years are even better. spt