It definitely takes a village to keep vital community organizations going for future generations. Patrons and friends of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Saline County have been pulling together to create an endowment fund to secure the nonprofit’s longevity. A perk to their generosity is naming rights at the new facility being built as part of Benton’s latest premier development, Riverside Park.
A recent big gift comes from Anna and Chad Hendrix of Everett Buick GMC. Their $1 million contribution gives them the naming rights in the new gymnasium. The donation had nothing to do with recognition, however, and everything to do with wanting to provide stability to children who benefit from the organization every day.
“We’re very fortunate that we are in a position where we can help,” said Chad, who serves on the club’s board of directors. “We also know that position could change at any time, so while we’re in a place to help, that’s what we’re supposed to do. The club is a very special place, and it’s very humbling to be able to give back and help give children a secure environment to learn and play.”
Chad has been involved with the club since he was a boy when he played sports there. When he and Anna moved back to Saline County from Fayetteville in 2006, he was asked to join the board. He’s been a part of the entity ever since. “We really have a passion for helping kids,” he said. “And once you become a part of it, it’s hard to step away, because you continuously see the positive impact the club has on children. They learn lessons that last a lifetime.”
Everett employees also participate in giving to the club, Chad noted. Over the past year, employees from the wash bay team to sales managers have collectively raised $47,000, affirmed Emmy Rogers, director of development at the club.
“The new $8 million facility is filling a critical need for more space,” Rogers said. The current building, located on Cox Street in Benton, is a little more than 25,700 square feet. The new space, being built at Riverside Park (next to the Saline County Fairgrounds where the former Saline County Airport was located), will occupy 55,000 square feet of space.
“Year after year, we continue to have to put children on a wait list for our after-school and summer programs simply because we cannot fit more than 430 kids in our facility,” Rogers said.
“Everyone involved is looking forward to opening the doors of the new state-of-the-art facility,” Rogers added. “Inside these walls, we will be able to serve children the meals and snacks we currently do, but now it will be from our full-service kitchen in the food court.”
She added, “We have so many different rooms built in that will give us the chance to provide a more expansive list of enrichment activities and family services. For example, we have individuals and businesses in town who have donated clothes, some new and some gently used for years. We let the children and parents take these clothes, but our limited space right now doesn’t allow them the shopping and browsing experience they deserve. Our new club will have a Clothes Closet dedicated to this program and will give us the ability to grow it more.”
“Currently, $1.33 million had been raised, with a goal of $1.54 million,” Rogers said.
Donor Jennifer McCauley said she and her family chose to give to the organization as a way of solidifying their commitment to generations of children. “One word to describe the club is ‘opportunity,’” she said. “We have a lot of passion and pride for what the Boys & Girls Club does to impact lives. Partnering with the club has helped give clarity and definition to our company’s efforts to give and greatly influences our team culture.”
Fred LaMaster noted how the club exposes children to families from all walks of life. “Traditional, single parent, the struggling to the more comfortable, they all have the same goal of providing the best opportunities for their children. It doesn’t matter where you come from, the club is about providing a safe, social environment that offers physical activity and a place to study, research, explore and grow,” he said.
In addition, he said, “I know of no other organization that reaches as many youth or such a complete cross section of our society. We want to make sure others can enjoy and learn from this interaction. Benton will truly be a beacon for other cities to demonstrate what a town can accomplish when the welfare of our youth is the focus of the community.”
Anna and Chad Hendrix
Hendrix Family Court
Kim and Brad Glover
Glover Family Board Room
Jojo and Fred LaMaster, Aaron LaMaster, and Jenna LaMaster
LaMaster Family Tech Lab
Josh Lane of Access Control Devices
Access Control Devices Incorporated: ACDI Tech Lab
Holley and Greg Little
Admin Center and Clothes Closet named in honor of Greg’s parents and in memory of Holley’s parents
Jennifer and Mike McCauley
McCauley Services Food Court
Justin Moore Music Academy
Tonya and Jody Morgan
Morgan & Green Family Learning Center
Charles P. Phillips Admin Center