ATLANTA, March 20, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Boys & Girls Clubs of America announced a $5 million donation from The Coca-Cola Foundation today to support the organization's commitment to youth and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. With the suspension of schools and workplaces, the country, and especially kids and teens, are facing challenges unlike anything previously encountered. The Coca-Cola Foundation's generous support will immediately help ensure Clubs can continue critical COVID-19 response work and ready additional Clubs throughout the country who will soon emerge to do the same within their own communities.
"Together, we stand in partnership with The Coca-Cola Foundation as we provide support to our local communities, especially for the kids and teens who need us most during this difficult time," said Julie Teer, chief development and public affairs officer, Boys & Girls Clubs of America. "The COVID-19 crisis is urgent, and ever-changing. We're grateful to The Coca-Cola Foundation for their commitment. We hope others will join us in supporting Clubs in their local community."
In times of tragedy and crisis, Boys & Girls Clubs across the nation have stepped up to serve youth and their families. Boys & Girls Clubs throughout the country are partnering with state and local officials to help meet the larger needs of their communities. More than 4,700 local Boys & Girls Clubs serve over 4.7 million kids and teens annually in every community in America. Clubs have always played a critical role in communities— and that includes navigating the onset of COVID-19 and beyond.
"We are all concerned about the growing impact of coronavirus, especially on our youth," said Helen Smith Price, president, The Coca-Cola Foundation. "Through a grant to Boys & Girls Clubs of America, we will continue to support their efforts to engage our youth and provide relief, safety and stability during this critical time."
With the incredible speed at which this global health pandemic is evolving, Clubs play a unique role and are continually adapting to serve their communities in this time of need. Currently, 150 Club organizations across 400 communities are already working to provide meals and, in some cases, lending support to families of first responders, military, and healthcare workers. More Boys & Girls Clubs are expected to reopen in varying capacities in the coming days to respond and provide essential community services.
Boys & Girls Clubs of America is building a multimillion-dollar relief and recovery fund for kids, communities, and families across the nation and calls on others to join them in providing critical funding to some of the most vulnerable populations during this crisis.
The Coca-Cola Foundation's donation will help immediately ensure Clubs can continue critical COVID-19 response work. These services include providing immediate and near-term disaster relief efforts such as:
Distributing food, bottled water and other necessary supplies
Operating for longer hours, particularly in parts of the United States that are deeply impacted especially for families of first responders
Crafting and implementing contingency plans to meet community needs, including when and how to reopen, event planning contingencies, and more
Providing emergency relief funding to support Clubs in the communities hit hardest by the pandemic
The rapid, ongoing spread of COVID-19 has created uncertain and frightening times for the youth in the communities Boys & Girls Clubs serve. In America, approximately 30 million kids a day rely on government subsidized school meals — sometimes the only ones they can count on. And while schools are making every effort to deliver quality online programming for youth, this is uncharted territory and the risk of backsliding in critical academic subjects is strong.
Today, as the nation and world navigates this crisis, communities need Clubs more than ever. Currently, more than 2,800 Clubs are closed while thousands more are in conversations with state and local officials assessing how to meet the needs of youth and families. The support of The Coca-Cola Foundation will accelerate the capacity of more Clubs to serve local communities during this global pandemic.
Boys & Girls Clubs of America is also utilizing digital platforms to provide services and training to Clubs. Virtual platforms allow Clubs to engage youth and share resources with parents and families. In the days since the announcement of the pandemic, Boys & Girls Clubs of America has developed a series of resources to aid parents with caring for quarantined children, continue their learning and development during homeschool and responding to the emotional and psychological needs of kids who may be feeling the stress and anxiety of this concern.
To support Boys & Girls Clubs of America and the COVID-19 Response Efforts, click here.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of America For more than 150 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA.org) has enabled young people most in need to achieve great futures as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Today, more than 4,700 Clubs serve over 4.7 million young people through Club membership and community outreach. Clubs are located in cities, towns, public housing and on Native lands throughout the country, and serve military families in BGCA-affiliated Youth Centers on U.S. military installations worldwide. They provide a safe place, caring adult mentors, fun and friendship, and high-impact youth development programs on a daily basis during critical non-school hours. Club programs promote academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. In a Harris Survey of alumni, 54 percent said the Club saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta. Learn more at on Facebook and Twitter.
The Coca-Cola Foundation The Coca-Cola Foundation is the global philanthropic arm of The Coca-Cola Company. Since its inception in 1984, The Foundation has awarded more than $1 Billion in grants to support sustainable community initiatives around the world, including protecting the environment; empowering women; and the overall well-being of communities through education, youth development, arts and culture and economic development.