Boys And Girls Club of America

The Boys & Girls Clubs of America (B&GCA), established in 1860, is a national non-profit youth organization comprising more than 3,300 Boys & Girls Clubs facilities that help some 3.6 million young people connect with opportunities for personal growth and achievement. It's the fastest-growing youth development organization, and has chartered more than 1,500 new Clubs since 1997.

Forbes, Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report, and SmartMoney have all ranked B&GCA among the top charitable organizations in America based on cost-effective use of donor dollars. For the last two years, Worth magazine ranked B&GCA as one of America 's top 100 charities, based on financial efficiency, strength or reputation, and program effectiveness.
BGCA’S Youth Advocacy Campaign Unveils New "BE BRAVE" Billboard in Little Rock
Encourages Youth to "BE GREAT”

Little Rock – July 21, 2009 – As part of Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s (BGCA) new national advocacy campaign – BE GREAT – retired Four-Star General and Boys & Girls Club alum Wesley K. Clark today unveiled a new billboard in his hometown of Little Rock, featuring his photo as a youth, and an aspirational message – BE BRAVE. General Clark joins some 25 prominent alumni in the campaign to help increase public awareness and understanding about the key issues facing America’s youth, and the positive impact of Clubs.

Former Club member General Wesley Clark discusses his Boys & Girls Club experience as BGCA unveils a billboard featuring Clark as a youth. The billboard, themed BE BRAVE, encourages all to reach their full potential.

From academic failure and gang violence to poverty, drugs and obesity, America’s young people face a daunting array of problems – with serious consequences and fewer safety nets at home and in the community. According to a 2007 BGCA alumni survey conducted by Harris Interactive, 57 percent of alumni reported, "The Club saved my life,” while another 28 percent credited Boys & Girls Clubs with keeping them in school.

"It’s an honor to join our alumni ambassadors in talking about the impact Boys & Girls Clubs have on young people, because I’m one of them,” said Clark. He says his first leadership experience happened at the Boys Club in Little Rock. "I have always gone back to the lessons learned at the Club. We discovered there was something higher than ourselves, and that giving back to others was what really mattered,” Clark said. A star swimmer and athlete at the Club, Clark says it was Jim Miller, the Club’s swim coach, who taught him how to overcome obstacles in life. "He made you stretch and challenge yourself. He taught us about courage and commitment.” Those qualities helped Clark earn his Club’s highest honor when, in 1962, he was chosen as Boy of the Year from among 5,400 other members in Little Rock.

General Clark’s theme – BE BRAVE – ties to his distinguished career in the military. He rose to the rank of four-star general after nearly 40 years of service in the U.S. Army. As NATO Supreme Allied Commander he led NATO forces to victory in Operation Allied Force, saving 1.5 million Albanians from ethnic cleansing without the loss of a single American soldier. His awards and honors include the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the U.S. Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the U.S. Army Distinguished Service Medal, the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. General Clark is one of the most highly decorated military leaders since General Dwight D. Eisenhower. Clark is the CEO & Chairman of Wesley K. Clark and Associates, Chairman of Growth Energy, and Senior Fellow at the UCLA Burkle Center for International Relations.

Other Club alumni joining General Clark in the BE GREAT advocacy campaign include: Academy Award-winning actor and national spokesperson for BGCA - Denzel Washington, Muhammad Ali, Ashanti, Swin Cash, Bill Clinton, Bill Cosby, Cuba Gooding Jr., Michael Jordan, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Queen Latifah, Mario Lopez, John Mellencamp, Edward James Olmos, Shaquille O’Neal, Smokey Robinson, Jimmy Rollins, Martin Sheen, John Singleton, Ruben Studdard, Usher, Courtney Vance, Mark Wahlberg, and Kerry Washington.

"We are very proud to call General Wesley Clark one of our own, and we’re thrilled that he has joined the BE GREAT campaign, to help us impact the lives of the young people who need us most today,” said BGCA President and CEO Roxanne Spillett. "From first in his class at West Point to NATO Supreme Allied Commander, there is no finer role model for today’s young people, or a more effective advocate and ambassador for the work of our Clubs in today’s world, than General Clark.”

General Clark will collaborate with BGCA and other alumni to urge the country’s political and business leaders to make the young people of America a priority and encourage every citizen to make a difference by supporting organizations such as Boys & Girls Clubs – ensuring that every child has a safe, supervised and structured environment during the critical after-school hours.

BE GREAT is a nationwide initiative by Boys & Girls Clubs of America to highlight the major issues affecting today’s young people, and the key role community-based organizations like Boys & Girls Clubs play in helping kids graduate from high school, achieve a healthy lifestyle and develop good character traits. The integrated campaign, created pro bono by McCann Worldgroup in San Francisco, focuses on successful alumni who serve as living proof that Club programs work. It includes a new web site ( containing useful resources and compelling stories about the diverse lives touched by Boys & Girls Clubs. The site also includes a Club locator to help visitors find a nearby Boys & Girls Club where every child is welcome and volunteer support is appreciated.

The billboard featuring General Clark is one of a series of ads depicting the childhood photos of Club alumni, the BE GREAT message and Web address. Thanks to a partnership with the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA), the lead trade association representing the outdoor advertising industry, thousands of billboard postings will be donated by local companies across the country. In Little Rock, Lamar Outdoor Advertising donated the space for today’s unveiling, and will be posting General Clark’s billboards pro bono throughout the year.

Additional campaign components include: TV/radio PSAs, print ads, outreach to teens via BGCA’s My Club My Life Web site ( and a YouTube channel, an op-ed series addressing key issues facing young people, and issue-based forums and media templates to help local Clubs advocate on behalf of youth.

About Boys & Girls Clubs of America
For more than 100 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America ( has helped kids "Be Great," providing hope and opportunity for those who need it most. Today, more than 4,300 Clubs serve some 4.5 million young people through Club membership and community outreach. Known as The Positive Place for Kids, Boys & Girls Clubs can be found throughout the country and on U.S. military bases worldwide, providing young people 6-18 years old with guidance-oriented character development programs conducted by trained, professional staff. Clubs positively impact lives and help young people reach their full potential as productive, caring citizens. Key programs emphasize leadership development; education and career exploration; community service; technology training; financial literacy; health and life skills; the arts; sports, fitness and recreation; and family outreach. In a recent Harris Survey of Club alumni, 57 percent said the Club saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta.

About Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Arkansas
Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Arkansas was formed as a result of a merger of the Little Rock and North Little Rock Boys & Girls Club organizations, continuing a proud tradition spanning more than 95 years in serving the Central Arkansas community. The Little Rock Boys & Girls Club began in 1912 as the Citizenship Club, formed by a group of Little Rock newspaper carriers. In 1917, with 700 members, they became the Little Rock Boys Club. The first permanent facility was constructed in 1931. Membership was opened to girls in 1971. The North Little Rock Boys & Girls Club was organized in 1923, and chartered by the State of Arkansas in 1931 as a non-profit corporation with the purpose of providing boys and girls with skills for social, cultural, educational, recreational and physical development. Today Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Arkansas operate eight facilities, serving more than 8,000 young people.

About OAAA
The Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA) is the lead trade association representing the outdoor advertising industry. Founded in 1891, the OAAA is dedicated to promoting, protecting and advancing outdoor advertising interests in the US. With nearly 1,100 member companies, the OAAA represents more than 90 percent of industry revenues. The OAAA's strategic focus is on government relations, marketing, communications, membership, and operations. For more information, please

The BE GREAT outdoor ads are part of a nationwide partnership between BGCA and OAAA, resulting in the posting of out-of-home messaging across the country in a variety of venues, including billboards, bus shelters, shopping malls, taxi tops and airports. BGCA was named an OAAA national public service partner in 2008.

"In my neighborhood the Boys Club was the center of everything. It was my whole world, just about,
from the time I was 6 years old."
Denzel Washington,A Hand to Guide Me
Guiding, Shaping and Inspiring
Boys & Girls Clubs ofAmericaspokesperson Denzel Washington knows that you "don't go it alone." As a young boy,Washingtonfound hope, purpose and direction from his local Boys Club. He attributes much of his success to Billy Thomas, the staff member who starred in BGCA's popular public service announcement some 10 years ago.

InA Hand to Guide Me, the Academy Award winning actor shares the positive influences from his boyhood which helped to shape and guide him. More than 70 legends and leaders also reflect on the mentors who made a dramatic difference in their lives.

Some of the contributors include Hank Aaron, Yogi Berra, Jimmy Carter, Wesley Clark, Bill Clinton, Jamie Farr, Antwone Fisher, Whoopie Goldberg, Roxanne Spillett, and many, many more.

Denzel Washington is donating the royalties to Boys & Girls Clubs of America.Availablein stores now.

Financially Active Teens Unaware of the Implications of Their Adult Spending Habits

SAN FRANCISCO, April 19, 2006 — Teens are growing increasingly more active as financial consumers and have strong fundamental values about money, but are in urgent need of learning more of the ABCs of money management to temper their new forays into the world of credit and debt. That’s one of the key findings of Teens & Money, an annual survey released today by the Charles Schwab Foundation.

While teens ages 13-18 clearly know how to spend money, they seem to be far less aware of the consequences of their actions. For example, the majority of teens say they are knowledgeable about how to write a check (61 percent) and use a debit card (54 percent), yet fewer than half (41 percent) know how to balance a checkbook. Further, while the majority of teens say they know how to shop for the best deal when making a purchase (66 percent), fewer than half understand how to budget their money (48 percent).

One startling finding is that teens are already starting to accumulate debt, with nearly a third of those surveyed (31 percent) owing money to either a person or a company. On average, teens owe $230, with older teens 16-18 owing significantly more than younger teens 13-15 ($351 vs. $84). Fourteen percent of teens 13-18 say they already are more than $1,000 in the red, and this percentage rises significantly for teens 16-18 (22 percent).

Moreover, nearly half (46 percent) of all teens who owe money admit being concerned about paying it back. This finding is particularly alarming in light of the fact that teens are beginning to use plastic to make purchases: 34 percent of survey respondents say they get money from a debit or credit card—either in their own or their parent’s name. In fact, about two in ten teens (18 percent) say that if given the choice they would rather make purchases with a credit card than cash.

"We were surprised to find so many teens engaged in adult spending habits, some of which are clearly not in their best interest,” said Carrie Schwab Pomerantz, president of the Charles Schwab Foundation. "If we want to stem the tide of excessive consumer debt, we need to do a much better job of teaching our kids money management basics at an early age.”

According to the Federal Reserve Board, consumer debt in the United States has reached some $2.2 trillion dollars, roughly double the level ten years ago. This equates to an average of approximately $7,400 in consumer debt for every American, according to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.

All in the Family

Most teens (61 percent) believe they will be more successful financially than their parents and in fact express concern (56 percent) about their parents’ financial well-being. The areas they believe their parents are most concerned about include paying utility bills, saving for college, paying car expenses, and paying the mortgage/rent.

In spite of this, most teens report that their parents or guardians are their preferred and primary money mentors, awarding parents high marks for teaching them about money management (88 percent give their parents/guardians a grade of "A” or "B”). Teachers/schools are the next most frequently cited source of financial education, with 63 percent of teens grading them with an "A” or "B.” The news media earns the lowest scores for providing financial education, with the majority of teens (63 percent) giving magazines, newspapers, and TV grades of "D” or "F.”

The survey showed that teens do want to learn more about how to manage money, with nearly three-quarters (74 percent) agreeing that it should be a required course in school. Nearly all American teens (93 percent) believe it is important to know how to manage money to live within one’s means and to stay out of debt (86 percent).

The Great Gender Divide

In other survey findings, a distinct split exists between boys and girls when it comes to money knowledge and habits. Among the findings:

�� Many more teen girls than boys report being knowledgeable about writing a check (73 percent vs. 49 percent) and how to use a credit card (54 percent vs. 42 percent).
�� Teen girls are much more likely than boys to get money from credit or debit cards (43 percent vs. 26 percent) and are also more likely to be in debt (40 percent vs. 23 percent).
�� Teen girls feel a greater responsibility to contribute to family expenses, with 32 percent saying they contribute vs. 23 percent for boys.
�� Fewer girls than boys are apt to say that learning about saving, spending and investing money is interesting (66 percent vs. 76 percent).

Financial Literacy Programs Make a Difference

Now in its third year, the Teens & Money survey is an offshoot of the Money Matters: Make It CountSMprogram, launched in 2004 by Schwab in collaboration with Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA), to promote financial literacy among teens from disadvantaged circumstances. To date, approximately 760 Boys & Girls Club locations around the country have adopted Money Matters, with more than 37,000 teens completing the program.

In addition to the national sample of teens polled in the Teens & Money survey, a separate sample of BGCA teen members were surveyed. The BGCA sample included teens who had completed the Money Matters program, as well as those who had not.

Survey findings show that the program is working. Club members who have completed the program:

�� Owe less money on average than Club members who haven’t ($107 vs. $193).
�� Are more likely to strongly agree that it is important to have good money habits to be successful in life (64 percent vs. 53 percent).
�� Are more likely to agree that learning about saving, spending and investing money is interesting (70 percent vs. 61 percent)

In addition to the efforts to reach teens through Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. has launched an initiative to provide parents, grandparents and other interested adults with tools and resources to help raise money-wise children. A new site on,, includes practical tips on how to educate children, a financial quiz, and links to a series of "Ask Carrie” columns by Schwab Pomerantz that feature topics of special interest to people who care about raising the next generation to be savvy about money.

The site also features a link to a replay of the April 18 Webcast featuring Schwab Pomerantz and Bryan Olson from the Schwab Center for Investment Research, addressing money issues facing kids and advice for parents.

In addition, Schwab branches in select locations across the country will be hosting Money-Wise Kids workshops for parents/guardians, grandparents and others interested in passing along this important information to the younger crowd.

About the Teens & Money Survey

The Teens & Money survey was conducted by StrategyOne, an applied research consulting firm, on behalf of Schwab and Boys & Girls Clubs of America. The nationally-representative online survey polled 1,013 American teens between the ages of 13-18 to better understand their views, behavior and knowledge of spending, saving, borrowing, and earning money.

The survey, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 at the 95 percent confidence level, was conducted using the field services of Harris Interactive. The survey was also fielded among 352 Boys and Girls Club members, 145 of which participated in the Money Matters: Make It Count program and 207 of which were non-participants. The Money Matters participants (145) sample has a margin of error of plus or minus 6.9 at the 90 percent confidence level, and 5.7 for non-participants (207).

Additional survey details are available

About Charles Schwab

The Charles Schwab Corporation (NASDAQ: SCHW) is a leading provider of financial services, with more than 325 offices, 6.7 million client brokerage accounts, 512,000 401(k) plan participants, 175,000 banking accounts, and $1.3 trillion in client assets. Through its operating subsidiaries, the company provides a full range of securities brokerage, banking, money management and financial advisory services to individual investors and independent investment advisors. Its broker-dealer subsidiary, Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. (member SIPC,, offers a complete range of investment services and products including an extensive selection of mutual funds; financial planning and investment advice; retirement plan and equity compensation plan services; referrals to independent fee-based investment advisors; and custodial, operational and trading support for independent, fee-based investment advisors through its Schwab Institutional division. The Charles Schwab Bank, N.A. (member FDIC) provides banking and mortgage services and products. The company’s other operating subsidiaries include U.S. Trust Corporation (member FDIC) and CyberTrader®, Inc. (member SIPC, More information is available at

The Schwab Center for Investment Research is part of Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.

Funded by the Charles Schwab Corporation, the Charles Schwab Foundation is committed to giving back to the community by supporting employee-selected causes and fostering financial literacy through funding, involvement and expertise.

An Ounce of

Jonathan Alter


A social program that works. Where's the funding?
Oct29, 2007
One of the strangest things about social policy in this country is that we know what works and yet don't do more of it. Take high-school dropout rates, which currently stand at roughly 50 percent for Latino and African-American males. The half who don't graduate (about a million kids a year) are often dooming themselves to a Hobbesian life that is "nasty, brutish and short." The wasted human potential is dooming the United States to second-class status as a global economic power.

We all know that the trouble starts early, with bored, unsupervised kids hanging out after school—the time when most crimes by young people are committed. Nearly 600,000 black males are currently serving time in prison, while only 40,000 will earn a college degree.Murders committed by black male teenagers are up 52 percent since 2002, which doesn't take us back to the bad old days of crack in the 1990s but is scary all the same.

Thousands of commendable small programs try to address this problem, but only one has achieved the scale to actually dent it. It's an institution you've heard of but probably know little about—in part because its facilities nowadays are only in the worst neighborhoods, a good hike from affluent areas. Last week I heardDenzel Washingtonand Cuba Gooding Jr. talk about how it changed their lives, and the same goes for Colin Powell, Wesley Clark, Michael Jordan and Alex Rodriguez.

The 101-year-oldBoys and Girls Clubs of Americais an astonishing success story, second only to the black church as a source of stability in the inner city. It has more than doubled in size in the last decade, to 3,700 clubs in all 50 states (including 400 clubs in public housing projects and 200 on Native American reservations), serving 4.4 million young people after school. That's still less than a third of the estimated 15 million at-risk youth, but it's a model that actually holds the potential to end this national shame—if we as a country could only focus on it.

In case you haven't been in one for a while, these clubs are about a lot more than sports. In fact, Shaquille O'Neal recently donated $1 million with the stipulation that it not go for basketball, since, as he put it, there are only 400 jobs to aspire to in his line of work. The funds will instead be devoted in part to Project Learn, which engages kids between six and 18 in academically beneficial club activities that are also (usually) fun, helps them with their homework and guides them to graduation.

Denzel Washington told a story that stuck with me. He was about eight or nine years old and attending a club in Mount Vernon, N.Y., when a local politician came to visit. The young Denzel asked the politician a question, and afterward an adult from the club told him, "Hey, you're smart." He was stunned: "This was a totally new concept to me, that I could do something in the world." Washington remembers a few years later looking up at the pennants from all the universities attended by alumni of that club and thinking for the first time that he might actually go to college.

Some 46,000 teens voice their opinions about their future, issues important to youth, relationships and their view of America. This report was compiled as a result of a national project implemented through Keystone Club, a small-group leadership program sponsored by the Taco Bell Foundation.

National spokesperson Denzel Washington, famed actor and Boys & Girls Club alumnus, discuss how Clubs help children excel in life. Each of us can mentor a young person and, in the process, make a positive change in a young life.
BGCAPresident Roxanne Spillettis chosen as one of 15 people who make a difference in America!Newsweektakes time to recognize those who devote themselves to helping others.
Guest columnist Charles Richardson visits a Boys & Girls Club in Georgia and remembers his boyhood Club in California, a safe, fun place within his neighborhood.
The Hartford Courant
Boys & Girls Club Succeeding in Hands of Active Director
Hartford, Conn., news columnist Tom Condon examines the success of his hometown Boys & Girls Club.