Children are often the reason that communities come together, to make sure they realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens. Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana ensures this mission is fulfilled daily, and they have found a sound partner in the City of Hammond.
Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott Jr. presented a $400,000 donation on behalf of the city on Monday to Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana as part of the city’s ongoing commitment to making improvements and providing resources to organizations making a positive impact on the community. The donation is part of the city’s commitment to a $1.6 million capital campaign launched to completely renovate the Hammond Boys & Girls Club, and the check presentation served as the kickoff of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana’s public phase of the campaign.
“Once this project is completed, nearly 300 families are going to use this facility in their everyday lives,” McDermott said. “And that’s so incredibly important, especially in this part of our city where poverty is so close to home – giving working parents and families a place for their kids to go when they’re at work.”
“The City of Hammond has been so supportive of everything we are doing here, program funding, and grant opportunities – Mayor McDermott and the rest of the City of Hammond really understand our vision,” said Ryan Smiley, CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana.
Smiley and his team initiated a strategic plan that modernizes and updates Clubs in the Region to make sure children have a safe and productive place to go. The new Hammond facility is expected to be completed in August. The Hammond Club opened in 1979 at the former Miller School and moved to its current location on Calumet Avenue in 1993. It has since outgrown its space while programming has dictated the need for an updated approach.
“We are going to have a new modern dedicated teen center with its own entrance,” Smiley said, “along with several other updates such as a digital music recording studio, a teaching kitchen, a two-story rock climbing wall, a STEM room, and a community conference room, among others.”
The new Teen Center at the Hammond Club is particularly special for Boys & Girls Club of Greater Northwest Indiana.
“This is the first time we will ever have our own separate teen entrance,” said Stephanie Hamilton, Director of Marketing for Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana. “We are giving them their own space, helping teens have a place between their home and the new high school – which is being built adjacent to our current location.”
The City of Hammond’s donation on Monday follows the generous donation of an anonymous community donor, who offered a lead gift of $500,000 and an opportunity for a dollar-for-dollar match up to an additional $500,000. When that happened, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana embarked on a silent phase of a capital campaign to raise the $1.6 million to renovate the Hammond Club, including securing donations from corporations, municipalities, and private individuals. Having raised the $1.49 million of its initial $1.6 million goal, the organization is now opening the campaign to the public in an effort to raise the remaining funds.
This isn’t the first time Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana has had an anonymous donor help drive a capital campaign. In 2019 the same anonymous donor helped fund renovations for the East Chicago Katherine House Club. Due to the success of that campaign, the Clubs opted to model the Hammond campaign after it.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana has been opening doors to great futures for Porter and Lake county youth for 66 years. Clubs are open after school and provide great places for youth in grades K-12 to meet friends and have fun while in a safe, supervised environment.
Smiley thanked the anonymous donor, Mayor McDermott and the City of Hammond, and all Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana Board members. Every one of them gifted toward the project.
The Hammond location will be moving to Lafayette Elementary School and will remain open while renovations happen. It will be business as usual.
If you are interested in helping Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana, please consider donating at their website at https://www.bgcgreaternwi.org/give/