Through many of the 40 years that the Boys & Girls Club of Watertown has been serving youth, the Watertown Area Community Foundation has been at its side. Since the first Foundation grant awarded to the Club in the early 80s, more than $300,000 in grant monies have helped the Club and its mission. Now, 30 some years later, the Foundation is awarding the largest grant in its history to this long-time friend that continues to be a friend, itself, to youth and families in our community. The $500,000 grant will be split with $250,000 matching capital campaign donations and the other $250,000 matching donations to the Club’s endowment fund at the Foundation.
The Club’s $3.5 million capital campaign will mean 25,000 square feet of additional space, improved facility safety, more quality programs, expanded and enhanced art, education, teen and tween areas and more. It’s all about meeting the growth and the needs, said Liz Christianson, the Club’s executive director. The Watertown Area Community Foundation has been a stepping stone for us and we’ve been able to add great things and services because of them.
If you opened a scrapbook highlighting this partnership, you would see photos of grants supporting everything from programs and Legos to computers, kitchen equipment and even the Club’s first capital campaign.
This campaign will also bring the Club a larger and better equipped kitchen to assist in preparing the more than 100,000 snacks and meals that are served annually.
I remember when this kitchen was new, recalled Jan DeBerg, WACF executive director. The Foundation awarded a grant in 2003 for kitchen improvements. It’s hard to believe the Club’s cooks have been able to do the quantity and quality they do through the current situation. That grant supported the installation of an automated dishwashing system, commercial grade oven/stove, fire safety system and additional food storage.
Whatever the grant, the Foundation has been glad to be a part of the Club’s growth and impact to our youth, DeBerg said. Donors have always been the ones who make it happen. The Foundation, as well as the Club, are so grateful for the generous support of so many whether that be individuals, families, businesses, churches and other organizations. That’s really where this partnership started.