Thursday, April 26 , 2018, 11:59 pm | Fair 55º


Local Companies Step Up to Help United Boys & Girls Clubs Bring In $300,000 in 60 Days

Businesses uniting to meet challenge of Santa Barbara County nonprofit organization's urgent fundraising campaign. Here's how you can help

[Noozhawk’s note: This article is one in a series sponsored by the Hutton Parker Foundation.]

When Mike Sheldon, CEO of Network Hardware Resale, heard about the financial plight of the United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County and the urgent campaign to raise $300,000 in 60 days, he knew what he needed to do. He issued an email fundraising challenge to his Goleta-based company’s employees announcing a 24-hour donation drive.

His email said, in part, “I’d like to help this local organization. I was asked to be on their advisory board a few years ago and it is remarkable what an impact they have on our community. Many of our kids have played basketball there, and more than that, they help educate and keep thousands of local kids in Santa Barbara, Lompoc, and surrounding communities safe and off the streets.”

Network Hardware Resale’s employees eagerly agreed, because within 24 hours they had donated $7,500. As a result, NHR, the privately held global industry leader in the reselling of pre-owned network equipment and lifecycle solutions, decided to match their gifts, making a grand total donation of $15,000 to the United Boys & Girls Clubs.

              |  United Boys & Girls Clubs Special Series |  Complete Series Index  |

“We were absolutely thrilled when we picked up the check,” said Mike Rattray, CEO of the United Boys & Girls Clubs. “What a truly important and necessary gift. Network Hardware Resale’s donation will help us make our March payroll and will help us to maintain our significant programs at our clubhouses.”

In fact, as a result of an $800,000 decrease in foundation and individual gifts since 2006, the United Boys & Girls Clubs has had a difficult time meeting its budget. In the last two years, since Rattray’s hiring, the nonprofit organization has implemented multiple budget cuts, including reducing the administration of the umbrella operation to three employees from eight and slimming the club’s budget for its four clubhouse programs without making significant budget cuts.

“I have indicated to my staff and the board that if our monthly cash flow doesn’t improve quickly that services will have to be reduced, meaning less youth members could be served,” Rattray said.

Facing economic challenges is nothing new for nonprofit groups in Santa Barbara County. Many are resorting to using their reserves or endowments to keep operating. (Endowment funds are essentially the investment account of the nonprofit organization that offers a “safety net” of funds. Nonprofits are known for using the interest off of these funds for operations; but, in recent years, many have resorted to using the principle, too.)

The United Boys & Girls Clubs depleted its endowment over the last several years to cover program shortfalls and payroll while waiting for grants from philanthropic foundations. Because the grants ended up being seriously reduced as a result of economic impacts on foundation investments, the club faced a critical shortfall.

Sheldon and Network Hardware Resale aren’t the only community-based companies to rise to the United Boys & Girls Clubs’ fund raising challenge. Deckers Outdoor Corp., a Goleta-based global footwear company with six lifestyle brands, donated another $15,000. Deckers CEO Angel Martinez is a strong supporter. And, another $24,460 was raised from companies donating by check or through the United Boys & Girls Clubs’ Web site.

The Whale Beach Foundation of Flagstaff, Ariz., also stepped up to help United Boys & Girls Club by issuing a $50,000 grant.

“Both of these generous gifts bring us that much closer to saving the programs that are so important to the kids,” Rattray said. “I cannot tell you how grateful I am to everyone for their fundraising efforts. I am just in awe and pleased. Each gift makes a difference in the lives of the kids.”

The United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County serves more than 900 students each school year through clubhouses in Carpinteria, Goleta, Lompoc and on Santa Barbara's Westside.
The United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County serves more than 900 students each school year through clubhouses in Carpinteria, Goleta, Lompoc and on Santa Barbara’s Westside. (Nancy Shobe / Noozhawk photo)

To date, $109,460 — or 36 percent — of the goal has been raised in a little over two weeks by community-based endeavors, a number tracked by a bold-faced thermometer on the United Boys & Girls Clubs’ Web site. And, the fundraising has only just begun.

Gary Jacobsen, owner of The Brewhouse, 229 W. Montecito St. in Santa Barbara, is holding a four-day St. Patrick’s Day fundraiser with 100 percent of the proceeds from corned beef kabobs sold at the restaurant and brewery through Sunday, March 18, to be donated to the Boys & Girls Clubs’ Learning Care Centers. (The Learning Care Centers are located in the four clubhouse locations: Carpinteria, 4849 Foothill Road; Goleta, 5701 Hollister Ave.; Lompoc, 1025 W. Ocean Ave.; and Santa Barbara West, 602 W. Anapamu St.)

If it all goes as planned with corned beef lovers and a little bit of Irish luck, The Brewhouse will be bringing in a “pot o’ gold” for the United Boys & Girls Clubs.

The United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County serves more than 900 students each day during the school year, and 600 students in the summer. More than half of the students are Latino, and more than half come from single-family households. Free and reduced lunches are served to more than 70 percent of the children. And 70 percent of the club’s members are at or below the federal poverty level of $22,350 for a family of four.

The mission of the United Boys & Girls Clubs is to enable all young people, especially those who need the most help, to reach their full potential as productive, caring and responsible citizens. In addition to its four main clubhouses, United Boys & Girls Clubs also runs the 55-acre Camp Whittier a residential camp located off of Highway 154 near Lake Cachuma.

Click here for more information on the United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County, or call 805.681.1315. Click here to make an online donation.

It will take an entire community of corporations, foundations and friends to help the United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County reach its $300,000 goal in 60 days. The challenge is on.

              |  United Boys & Girls Clubs Special Series |  Complete Series Index  |

Noozhawk contributing writer Nancy Shobe can be contacted at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or follow her on Twitter: @shobebiz. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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