GE Foundation Awards Grant to Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland

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$15,000 award will support college readiness, citizenship programs.

The GE Foundation has awarded a $15,000 grant to Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland in support of BGCC programs that help youth get ready for college, build character and become better citizens.

The grant will help fund BGCC’s Diplomas to Degrees, a college-readiness program that engages teenage Club members in a series of workshops focused on planning for their post-secondary education, and two signature character and citizenship programs, Torch Club and Keystone Club. The Torch and Keystone Clubs provide middle – and high school-aged youth with opportunities designed to cultivate character and leadership skills in a supportive, small-group context.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland provides safe, fun places for kids after school. BGCC serves more than 8,600 youths annually at 15 sites in Cleveland, East Cleveland, Cleveland Heights and Garfield Heights.

“We are grateful for the GE Foundation’s commitment to our kids,” said Ron Soeder, BGCC’s president and CEO. “This grant supports important programs that help youth prepare for college and become better citizens. We serve the kids who need us most – those who live at or below the poverty line – and we could not do our work without the support of partners like the GE Foundation.”

In the 2014 – 15 school year, 92 percent of local high school seniors who regularly participated in BGCC activities graduated from high school, and 64 percent of teens aspired to complete post-secondary education.

Diplomas to Degrees is a college-readiness program that engages teenage Club members in a series of workshops focused on planning for their post-secondary education. Workshop topics include career and higher education options, understanding the college application and financial aid processes, and staying on course during the transition from high school to college. Throughout their participation in Diplomas to Degrees, youth are engaged in discussions and activities that help them to better understand what it means to be “college ready,” what steps make up the college application and acceptance process, and how to develop a college plan that synthesizes their academic interests, personal strengths, and career goals.

Such transitional support is crucial for the youth population served by BGCC, many of whom are the first in their family to attend college.

In addition to guiding Club youth through important academic milestones, BGCC is committed to preparing youth to be leaders in their communities. Two signature character and citizenship programs, Torch Club and Keystone Club, provide middle – and high school-aged youth with opportunities designed to cultivate character and leadership skills in a supportive, small-group context.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland has been serving youth ages 6 – 18 in Cleveland since 1954. BGCC’s mission is “to inspire and enable young people who need us most to reach their full potential as productive, responsible and caring adults.” Clubs offer programs for athletics, academics, music, art, urban farming and more.

The GE Foundation, the philanthropic organization of GE, is committed to building a world that works better. We empower people by helping them build the skills they need to succeed in a global economy. We equip communities with the technology and capacity to improve access to better health and education. We elevate ideas that are tackling the world’s toughest challenges to advance economic development and improve lives. The GE Foundation is powered by the generosity and talent of our employees, who have a strong commitment to their communities.

We are at work making the world work better. Follow the GE Foundation at GEFoundation.com and on Twitter at @GE_Foundation.

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