Yesterday, Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County (BGCPBC) held a ceremonial groundbreaking on the site where the new Smith & Moore Family Teen Center will open in Belle Glade. More than 120 donors, staff, elected officials, and supporters attended the ceremony for the career-readiness facility.
The organization has reached the $6 million goal of phase 1 of its capital and programming endowment campaign triggering the beginning of construction.
Thanks to the private support as well as a generous donation of land and a gymnasium by the Palm Beach County Commission, the facility will be constructed without debt to the organization. BGCPBC is now moving to phase 2 of the $10 million campaign and is seeking to raise another $4 million that will go toward an endowment fund that will help keep the facility running in perpetuity.
Former Town of Palm Beach Mayor Lesly S. Smith and her daughter Danielle H. Moore, current president of the Palm Beach Town Council and Chairman of the Board of BGCPBC, announced a $1 million challenge grant which will match dollar-for-dollar all donations to support the endowment fund. They are the namesake of the building after giving a lead gift of $1 million to kick off the campaign four years ago.
“Through the kindness and generosity of many, we are building a facility that will allow so many young people to experience new beginnings and a future that has no boundaries,” said Moore. “They will receive academic support, preparation for post-secondary credentials and be able to explore careers in the arts, music, science and technology, culinary arts, construction trades and so much more. Our hope is that our supporters will continue giving to help ensure that the doors of the Club will never close.”
Mike and Julie Connors also gave a $1 million challenge grant and many people, foundations and businesses donated to match the funds.
UTC Climate, Controls & Security announced its donation of $500,000 toward the campaign earlier this month during the official unveiling of the UTC Center for Intelligent Buildings, its new headquarters in Palm Beach Gardens.
“These families and corporations have been pivotal in providing the necessary resources for us to reach more youth for generations to come,” said Jaene Miranda, president and CEO of BGCPBC. “It is our goal to serve over 900 teens annually from the Glades communities, increasing our impact by over 200%. We are going to set the standard as the number one advocate for Belle Glade youth during out-of-school time.”
The two-story, 13,000 square foot state-of-the art Clubhouse is designed by Raul Ocampo & Associates.
Serving the community for nearly 50 years, BGCPBC offers life-changing after school and summer programs to more than 8,500 underserved children ages 6 to 18 at thirteen Clubs throughout Palm Beach County.
“The children we serve have the misfortune to be born into their circumstances – it was not a choice,” said Smith. “They grow to recognize these circumstances as teens, but fortunately, their dreams of wanting more for themselves and their families are not dashed. So many families will be positively impacted in the Belle Glade area through our efforts and we are proud to be a part of it.”
“Our goal is to be a safe outlet for kids during non-school hours where they can express themselves and become productive, caring, responsible citizens,” said Mark Casale, VP of Philanthropy at BGCPBC. “We aim to provide a world-class Club experience that assures success is within reach of every member who walks through the Club doors and to give them the resources to graduate high school and have a plan for the future.”
As a result, 100% of members graduate high school and 75% have plans for post-secondary education.
In addition to Smith, Moore, and the Connors, other significant donors include Julie Fisher, Mr. and Mrs. Dwight Schar, Diana and E. Llwyd Ecclestone, Publix, Tom Quick, Florida Crystals, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Schumacher, Patricia Quick, Michelle Kessler, Picotte Family Foundation, and Pitt Foundation among others.