Boys and Girls Club in Decatur could be affected by struggling economy


The United Way funds a major chunk of the Boys and Girls club's budget and is now struggling to reach its fundraising goal by March 31st and the economy isn't helping.

To keep activities running, it takes about $600,000 a year. Forty-five percent of that comes from the United Way. With that agency struggling for money, it could mean cuts if this club doesn't get the funding it needs.

"Probably staff and then with that, then some programs and services, maybe we may not be able to be open five days a week," said Walter Smith, Boys and Girls Club Executive Director.

Smith hopes it doesn't come to that but he says they've been looking into alternate funding possibilities just in case.

The United Way of Decatur and Mid-Illinois has a goal of $2.5-million and Executive Director Denise Smith says it's now $108,000 short.

What that $108,000 really equates to be is over 2600 people that would not receive services through united way partner agencies," Denise Smith said.

That could include the Boys and Girls Club, which is already tight on cash.

"I feel we're operating at a bare bones as it is right now," said Walter Smith.

Still, it's able to help kids.

"I come here to play ball, basketball," said 14-year-old, Killiean Sanders. "I've got people to talk to, just take care of me."

After nearly 30 years as the club's executive director, Smith is hopeful donations will come through.

I truly believe Decatur will step up to the plate and provide the necessary funding," Walter Smith said.

The United Way fell short in its last fundraising campaign but pulled money from reserves. This year, the reserves are not there to protect programs like the Boys and Girls Club.

The Boys and Girls Club serves kids ages seven to 17. If you'd like to donate to the United Way to help agencies like the Boys and Girls Club, you can find a link on our website under sitewatch. Or call 422-8537 or send a donation to 202 E. Eldorado, suite b, Decatur 62523.

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