OAKHURST — The Oakhurst Boys & Girls Club (BGC), shuttered since the end of June by a lack of funding, could reopen in time for the start of the new school year, according to the organization’s board president Doug Macaulay.
Macaulay says the nonprofit is making “good progress” in raising additional funds necessary to reopen the club. Since closing at the end of June, the club has raised more than $15,000.
“And we’ve been able to cut back on some of our expenses and overhead costs, too,” Macaulay says.
“With the money we’ve raised and the money we hope to raise in the next week or two, when we reopen we’ll be starting off again on very solid ground.”
As president of the board of directors, Macaulay says he expects to make a decision “no later than August seventh or eighth” about when the club might reopen.
“Whether we can reopen as soon as the middle of August is still a little unclear right now.”
For many area families — and their kids — who count on the club for after-school supervision and activities, the club can’t reopen soon enough. According to Macaulay, the new school year usually starts off a little slowly at the club.
“Typically, only about thirty or forty kids come in the first few days. But the following Monday, we get the full contingent,” he notes.
During the school year the club sees between 80 and 130 members a day, according to Macaulay, a local insurance agent whose family has been instrumental in the nonprofit’s founding and continuing operation in Oakhurst for nearly 20 years.
In the past month, Macaulay has added a half dozen new members to the Boys & Girls Club board of directors. He’s also secured additional commitments from several local service clubs.
“Right now, we’re just about $10,000 shy of our immediate fundraising goal,” Macaulay explains. In order to be back in business in time for the start of the new school year, Macaulay confirms that the club needs to lock down a few more major commitments — “and cash a few more checks.”
“This is a crucial week coming up” in terms of fundraising, he adds. “And we’ve got to get power back on at the club and set up everything.”
The nonprofit has already scheduled nine different fundraisers between now and year’s end to help bolster the bottom line. “And all of these car washes the kids [club members] have been doing have been a big help, too,” Macaulay says.
“I think we’re making progress in every way. And we’ve still got feelers out there. Hopefully, a lot of them will be coming back in this next week with checks attached.”
Macaulay hopes to establish a reserve fund going forward and eventually begin paying back money the Fresno County Boys & Girls Club’s parent organization has loaned the Oakhurst club in recent years in order for it to continue operating.
Even with a formal decision about when to reopen still likely a week or so away, signs of life are stirring again at the Oakhurst Boys & Girls Club.
On their Facebook page, club manager Jennifer Simmons posted a flyer and online application for the winter basketball league —
“It is time to sign up! Completed applications may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or 40094 Indian Springs Rd, Oakhurst, CA. Please make checks payable to: Boys & Girls Club of Oakhurst.”
Macaulay hopes the worst is over for the nonprofit.”We’ve had good luck lately with our monthly recurring donations,” he reported this week. “People are getting behind us. But they also need to understand that fundraising is going to be a continual thing. That’s why its important for us to have a strong board.”
Macaulay anticipates that the nonprofit’s board will be at full strength soon.
“We’re just shy of having eleven people now,” he says. “Oakhurst Morning Rotary is going to provide us with a board member or two but they haven’t told us who that’s going to be just yet.”
Oakhurst Kiwanis has also contacted Macaulay about how that service group can support the club.
Macaulay likened the club’s current financial situation to “bankruptcy reorganization.”
“This is not a liquidation,” he affirms. “We’re coming out of this and we’re coming out of this better and stronger.”