During the heat of the COVID-19 pandemic, as many organizations and companies were cutting their losses and trimming back services, the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Fox Valley doubled down on its mission and fundraising goals. Its 2020 Great Futures Campaign was its core strategy to help meet the increasing needs of the area’s youth population. This multi-faceted campaign pushed the organization to raise over $10 million and set it on a path to enhance critical services such as STEM, career readiness, and professional mental health counseling, increase the average number of young people served each school day by the Club from 1,300 to 1,700 and expand and improve its facilities and improve safety.
“Our team is extraordinary. I am incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by so many dedicated and selfless people who show up every day wanting to do whatever it takes to make a difference in kids’ lives.”
Greg Lemke-Rochon, CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of the Fox Valley
The organization completed a 15,200 square foot addition to its Menasha, WI, facility. The two-story addition features a new career readiness lab, a sensory room, and dedicated spaces for no-cost licensed counseling services, the Home Base program that serves children and families who are facing homelessness, and the Center for Grieving Children. New safety and security systems were implemented at this location and its Appleton, WI, facility.
In 2021, the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Fox Valley opened two new school-based Boys & Girls Clubs at James Madison Middle School in Appleton, WI and Little Chute Intermediate School in Little Chute, WI. These Clubs provide a wide array of positive youth development programs in the core areas of education, health and wellness, workforce readiness, character and leadership, and the arts. The Club also has plans to open three additional locations later this year. The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Fox Valley accomplished these goals all while evolving to meet the ever-changing needs of the community’s youth and families impacted by the pandemic.
In 2020, the Boys & Girls Club of the Fox Valley opened its doors to support the youth of essential workers, provided more than 85,000 meals at its Club locations and through drive-through meal assistance, shared virtual Club programming daily, provided virtual counseling and grief support, as well as offered student support through the Club’s many positive youth development programs and targeted support services.
Since opening its doors in 1998, the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Fox Valley have grown to serve up more than 15,000 area youth each year at multiple locations. The Club provides youth development programming, a diverse array of no-cost mental and behavioral health services such as the Center for Grieving Children, the Home Base program for youth who are homeless, Youth & Family Counseling, and educational support through the Club’s STAR initiative, truancy intervention services and more.
Q&A with Greg Lemke-Rochon
Greg Lemke-Rochon is the current CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Fox Valley and has been serving children and youth in need for over 30 years. Greg was recognized for his contribution to youth in 2019 with the Blue Spirit Award, the highest honor bestowed by the President of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Greg is also the recipient of the Executive of the Year for the Association of Boys & Girls Club Professionals for the Midwest and has the Horizon Award from the Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Midwest Region.
Q: What are some things you know now that you wish you knew when you first started as a nonprofit leader?
A: When I started, I thought I needed to be the “expert” at everything programs, accounting, board governance, advocacy…the whole list. I’ve since learned especially as we’ve grown over the years, that my job isn’t to know everything, but it is to cascade leadership throughout the organization. Collectively we get a lot more done this way!
Q: What has been your biggest source of pride as executive director?
A: Our team is extraordinary. I am incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by so many dedicated and selfless people who show up every day wanting to do whatever it takes to make a difference in kids’ lives.
Q: What are your three biggest accomplishments in your career as a nonprofit leader?
A: Our biggest accomplishment is figuring out how to measure and track the complicated and multi-faceted work we do so we know we’re having the outcomes we’ve set out to achieve.
Another big win for us is the development of a strong and talented leadership team.
Finally, I would say creating a culture that allows our team members to perform and their best and highest levels. We focus on trust, autonomy, a growth mindset, and, of course, why we do what we do.