CEO, Michael Baker, with UBGC members. (United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County photo)

‘Tis the season for giving…and giving back. The holiday season is the perfect time to show those around you how much you care. Noozhawk has teamed up with local nonprofits to encourage you to giveback on #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving fueled by the power of collaboration.

Noozhawk had the opportunity to speak with Michael Baker, Chief Executive Officer at United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County, to learn more about how the nonprofit impacts youth development in our community.

United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County

Question: What is the name & mission of your nonprofit?

Answer: United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County. Our Mission: “To enable all young people, especially, those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, and responsible citizens.”

Q: Why is your mission important to you?

A: We believe that every child, regardless of his or her economic situation, should have the same opportunities in life, and we help make that happen within our club locations.

Q: In what ways does your nonprofit utilize it’s funding?

A: We use our funding to make sure that any child that needs our services, in the communities that we serve, is never turned away due to his or her economic situation.

Q: What is one best kept secret or fun fact about your nonprofit that not everyone knows?

A: We go out of our way to make sure we reach children that need our services but have no way to get to us and transport them for free to and from our facilities. This is a program we call “Outreach” and it has changed the way people look at our organization as we now go beyond our walls to reach those that need us the most.

Q: Can you tell us one success story from your nonprofit?

A: There are literally thousands of people that grew up in our organization that are now productive members of society all over Santa Barbara County. If I had to highlight one I would point to our current Board President, Tony Vallejo, who is a CPA and grew up in our Carpinteria Club. He has held significant leadership positions on many boards as well as being on City Council in Goleta.

Q: What makes your nonprofit different from others?

A: Nobody stretches the dollar better than us. When times have been really tough we have expanded our services because our families needed it even more then. The bottom line is we are relentless when it comes to helping reach those that need our services the most.

Q: How do people get involved/volunteer for your nonprofit?

A: You can stop in for a tour and see our programs in action or you can easily start the process by visiting our website and filling out a volunteer application.

Q: What is the biggest obstacle your nonprofit has faced or currently faces and how did you overcome it?

A: Probably our biggest strength here….over the past 2 years we have had to deal with the Whittier Fire at our Camp, We had flooding at our Carpinteria Club and the Thomas Fire shut down access to our Carpinteria Club. During all these challenges we expanded our services at all sites, never closed for a single day of operation and have expanded our Camp operations for future growth.

Q: Can you tell us one short-term goal and one long-term goal that your nonprofit has?

A: Short term goal is to have Camp Whittier pool and ropes course sponsored through naming opportunities. The long-term goal is building our endowment to $10,000,000 so we can say that 100% of our “overhead” costs are covered through earnings off our endowment and then 100% of all donations and special event funding goes directly into program services….100%!

Q: What types of fundraisers and/or programs does your nonprofit run?

A: We have five major fundraisers per year, A Beer / Wine tasting Casino night event in Solvang, A traditional Auction and dinner at our Carpinteria club, The Rally 4 Kids Car Rally, The United Boys & Girls Clubs Annual Golf Tournament at La Cumbre Country Club and our Fall Gala.

Click HERE to make a donation to United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County.