Chesterton Tribune



Boys and Girls Clubs of Porter County and NWI announce merger

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The Boys and Girls Club of Porter County and the Boys and Girls Club of Northwest Indiana--the latter serving Lake County--have announced their merger into a single organization.

According to a joint statement released on Wednesday, “After several months of re-exploration and discussions the Board of Directors of both Boys & Girls Clubs of Porter County and Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest Indiana voted to merge the two entities into one organization. The guiding principle in the due diligence process was the best interest of all kids served by each organization.”

The matter was put to vote at separate board meetings on June 19.

Together the two organizations serve more than 10,000 youth annually.

Bonnie Coleman, board member and spokesperson for Boys & Girls Clubs of Porter County stated, “The key question throughout merger discussions was, Would a reallocation of resources and assets allow us to serve our kids in a more efficient and effective way? When that answer became more clear as a resounding ’yes,’ the decision to merge became easy as the best interests of all youth, no matter the county in which they reside, were taken into consideration.”

Tanya Leetz, board member and spokesperson for Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest Indiana, added, “A merged Boys & Girls Club will allow us to combine resources, efforts, and talent to move programming for our kids dramatically forward to meet today’s and future needs. Kids are kids no matter what county they live in, and our Clubs’ combined efforts will only strengthen our missions of helping youth realize their full potential as productive, responsible, and caring citizens.”

The actual unification will be accomplished over a period of time, with the goal of becoming a single entity by January 2018, the statement said. “A transition committee is in place to support efforts of operating as one organization. In the short term, Club operations will continue as they always have to ensure quality after-school and summer programming are accessible to youth and their families.”

“In the long term, Club operations will not change significantly but many enhancements will be expected,” the statement noted. “However, both organizations working as one will see operating efficiencies, economies of scale, broadened outreach, and more resources allocated back into all ten Clubs. Additionally, new programs and services will be added and measurements will be reinforced to ensure positive outcomes in priority areas that include Academic Success, Good Character and Citizenship, and Healthy Lifestyles.”

Ryan Smiley, president and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Porter County, has been serving as Interim president and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest Indiana since October o 2016, while both organizations are operating under a formal Memorandum of Understanding.

“A due diligence committee from both Boards formed and delved deeper into evaluating the benefits and challenges of a merger,” the statement said. “The six-month process was guided by a due diligence committee with assistance from Boys & Girls Clubs of America. The committee’s leadership and expertise will continue through the transition process with approval and assistance from both organizations’ Board of Directors.”

“The single most important issue in our country is ensuring that today’s generation of young people has the opportunity to achieve the American Dream, said Jim Clark, president of Boys & Girls Clubs of America. “We believe that every young person deserves the chance to realize his or her full potential and achieve a great future. Part of the vision to help youth achieve success is to ensure strong Club organizations in every community. To this end, and in this case, it is beneficial to explore alternate arrangements such as mergers, consolidations and shared services.”

“Both organizations, serving as one, will grow a more sustainable Club presence with greater, positive impact for youth in Porter and Lake counties,” Clark said. “This forward thinking decision will elevate all Northwest Indiana Clubs into the top 2 percent of Clubs nationwide in the number of Club locations, registered members, and average school-year attendance. The result will have a tremendous and lasting impact on thousands of children now and long into our collective futures. This decision has Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s full support to ensure not only its success, but the success of all Club members.”

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Porter County was established in 1971; the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest Indiana, in 1954.


Posted 6/22/2017





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