Going into 2010, the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula is $56,000 short of what it has budgeted for regular operating expenses.
On Dec. 7, Bob Schilling, executive director for the clubs, sent a letter to parents of the Sequim and Port Angeles clubs' members saying that the financial reserves are at "an unacceptable level" and that they need help.
Schilling told the Sequim Gazette his intent was to educate parents.
"Too many rumors and 'what ifs' are circulating and we wanted to let them know we fell short and by how much," he said.
"The plan is to let the need be known and see what kind of response we can get and, secondly, to let them know if we don't receive these monies, then we will reduce the clubs' hours."
In the two clubs, non-core programs have been cut such as a program that teaches teens how to cook. Core programs endorsed by the Boys & Girls Clubs national organization still are in place.
Staff has not been cut, Schilling said.
He added that often the member to staff ratio is 20 to one in the game and
multi-purpose rooms and even higher in the gymnasium.
"We are down to minimum staffing. That's why we put out a request for people to volunteer through our unit directors," Schilling said.
The clubs have more than 100 volunteers.
Will the clubs
Schilling said there are no plans to close the doors at either club on a short-term or permanent basis.
The Sequim and Port Angeles' clubs are designated as units because their memberships are more than 100 children. The national requirements are that a unit needs to be open only 10 months a year, but Schilling doesn't see closing as viable.
"The staff can't afford to work under that condition. The parents can't either," he said. "What are they supposed to do if we're closed? Closing for a period of time is a last resort. We're not there."
Finances and budget
Receipts came up short for the clubs' two largest fundraisers, Campaign for Kids and the annual auction. Some of the smaller events, such as their golf tournament, raised more money this year.
In mid-November, the auction, the biggest fundraiser, was $25,000 short of the $175,000 goal.
Schilling said funds raised from the auction were delegated for 2010 and have not been used to cover the 2009 shortfall.
Donations continue to be slim despite the holiday giving season.
As of Dec. 28, the Boys & Girls Clubs had received $11,000 in December. Last year, they received $29,500 around this time, Schilling said.
This time of year, club memberships become due, at $30 a year per child with more than 300 members in the two clubs.
"What everyone needs to know is that it costs $4,000 a day to run this program and it's about $80,000 a month," Schilling said.
"To some people, $9,000 is huge, but in the longevity of our program it's small."
He, club staff and the board of directors have finalized a 2010 budget that anticipates $975,000 in income and $963,000 in expenses.
"For the first time since I've been here, we're looking at spending less than $1 million," he said.
Some timely donations have come in recently.
Port Angeles, Sequm and Port Townsend Safeway employees chose the clubs as the group to receive a portion of their check that they donate each month. They gave $12,614 to the club for the year.
Schilling said this donation puts the clubs' December donations closer to last year's total.
He and the clubs' board of directors have been brainstorming ways to find new donations in the first quarter of 2010.
Schilling said they hope to find $100,000 from new donors in the first 90 days of 2010 with one or more of these ideas:
_ Wine and cheese party
_ Radio fund with local stations
_ Bingo night
_ Taste of Sequim or Port Angeles
A growing resource for the clubs is its Web site, www.positiveplaceforkids.net.
Schilling said several donations have come in through the Internet.
People who donate online receive a receipt in the mail.
Donations also can be dropped off at 400 W. Fir St., Sequim, or mailed to P.O. Box 4167 Sequim, WA 98382.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula can be reached at 683-8095.
Reach Matthew Nash at email@example.com.
The Sequim Gazette is located at 147 W. Washington Street in Sequim.
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