Meijer gift aids Muskegon Boys and Girls Club expansion project

A gift from Meijer is moving The Boys and Girls Club of the Muskegon Lakeshore (BGCML) closer to its dream of a new building along Muskegon Lake.

The gift is part of Meijer’s $1.2 million end-of-year-donation to two dozen Boys and Girls Clubs across Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin. 

Each of the 24 clubs will receive $50,000 to invest in educational and developmental programs for local youth.

"As a family-owned business, serving families, and especially children, in our communities is always important to us," Meijer President and CEO Rick Keyes says. "Boys and Girls Clubs offer safe places for children and teens to grow into the future leaders our communities will need, and we're pleased to support them through this donation."

The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Holland is also receiving a $50,000 donation from the Grand Rapids-based retailer. The Holland club will use the money to continue and expand programs such as the club’s “To Graduation & Beyond” program that has been designed to help high school members explore career interests, determine a path for secondary education after high school, and execute their plans to get there.

$6.5 million 

The donations are part of the retailer's 2021 end-of-year donation efforts, totaling $6.5 million that will support its key areas of giving: Hunger Relief, Diversity & Inclusion, Sustainability and Local Giving. As part of its year-end giving, Meijer previously announced a $300,000 donation to the National Minority Supplier Development Council affiliates serving its Midwest communities. More details on the remaining donations will be shared as information becomes available.

The Boys and Girls Club of the Muskegon Lakeshore purchased the building that sits on five acres on Muskegon Lake in May of 2021. The building had served the area as a fitness center since 1979. The Clubhouse MKG project aims to re-establish the property  at 900 W. Western Ave. as Muskegon County’s community center for all. 

Transformation 

The Clubhouse MKG now accommodates and will continue to house the Neal Fitness Center (NFC), an aquatics center, Bob and Merle Scolnik Boys and Girls Club, Shape Corp Teen Zone, and i’move. After the renovations, the building will also feature an administration wing sponsored by the Olthoff Family that will offer shared office space for additional community partners. 

The 44-year-old building will undergo a transformation on the inside and out, including an update of the HVAC system and adding a geothermal energy source. 

The club has received financial support from the BGCML board, more than 175 community members, 17 businesses, 12 foundations, and one local municipality, The Clubhouse MKG project has raised $5.8M and is a shovel-ready project. 

The Clubhouse MKG is more than 80% toward its capital campaign goal of $7.5 million. BGCML has raised money through donations and pledges, but naming opportunities are still available from $1,000 to $2M, which include a donor pathway brick, specific room dedication, and naming rights for spaces throughout The Clubhouse MKG.

The renovated Clubhouse MKG will also include a rock-climbing wall, multiple universal changing rooms with lockers and showers, a dry sauna, fitness studios, a music recording studio, a golf simulator, state of the art STEM lab, outdoor recreation areas, youth fishing pier, community lake access, and commercial kitchen.

From a small beginning

BGCML began as 30 kids in the basement of Nelson Elementary School and has expanded to 1,700 members with programs across six school-based sites, the Clubhouse, and multiple summer park sites serving youth ages 6 to 18. The Clubhouse provides a safe place for local youth to call home.

The new Clubhouse MKG would nearly double BGCML’s capacity to serve Muskegon’s youth and the community.

The outside of The Clubhouse MKG will display a monument dedicated to the original donors of the building.

Construction will begin only after community support bridges the funding gap for the shovel-ready project. To donate to The Clubhouse MKG capital campaign, visit ClubhouseMKG.com.

Read more articles by Andrea Goodell.