Changing lives

History of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City

For more than a century, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City has been changing the lives of at-risk youth. These milestones not only shaped our future, but the futures of thousands of children.

Honoring the past

Here’s a look at our history … the milestones that brought us to this pivotal point in the Boys & Girls Clubs Movement.

1912

Judge E.F. Porterfield’s group, Juvenile Improvement Club, raised $60,000 to open the Boys Hotel.

1916

Young boys are charged $2.50-$3 per week to live in the Boys Hotel. They can pay $4 for the luxury of a private room.

1921

The organization joined the Boys Club Federation, the forerunner of today’s Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

1932

The Boys Hotel closed.

1934

J.R. Battenfield, Joyce Hall, H. Roe Bartle and others from Rotary Club #13 concluded the Boys Hotel facility should operate as a Boys Club.

1935

The Club reopened and within a month, 997 boys between the ages of 7-18 were members.

1968

The John Thornberry Unit opened at East 43rd Street & Cleveland under Chairman of the Board Gordon T. Beaham, III.

1976

The Board of Directors voted to admit girls into membership under Board Chairman Col. Charles McGee.

1986

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City opened the 23rd Street Unit in the Bob Jones Memorial Building at the Niles Home. The Unit served youth until 1994.

1988

At the request of the Housing Authority of Kansas City, Missouri, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City opened a Club inside the Pennway West Plaza Housing Project through 1998. The project was funded by ACTION “Start-Up.”

1994

David A. Smith was hired as President of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City.

1996

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City entered into an agreement with the Kansas City Public Schools to operate Clubs in selected school locations.

1996

RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) became a program of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City.

2000

The John Thornberry Unit was renovated and expanded through a $12 million campaign with Genesis School to become the Thornberry Center for Youth & Families.

2004

A merger with Boys & Girls Clubs of Eastern Jackson County added the Independence (formerly Leslie) and Hawthorne Units to the organization.

2006

The new $7.5 million Wyandotte County Unit in the Breidenthal Youth & Families Community Center opened.

2012

The Clubs celebrated 100 Years of Building Great Futures for Kansas City’s youth!

2014

Celebrated the opening of a brand new $1.6 million Teen Center at the Independence Unit.

2018

Dr. Dred Scott was hired as President/CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City.

2019

Two new school-based 21st Century Community Learning Centers were approved to move forward by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and will be established over a five-year period.

Celebrating the present

Young people who drop out of high school are significantly less likely to secure a good job, earn an adequate salary and have a promising future. We help our members leverage their skills and strengths to graduate high school and plan for fulfilling careers.

A recent evaluation showed that we’re putting kids on the road to success:

83%

of Club seniors expect to complete some kind of post-secondary education

95%

of members completed 50+ hours of homework during Club Power Hour

87%

of teen members increased their knowledge around managing their finances and paying for college

Shaping the future

We are committed to expanding our services to reach more children – and we won’t rest until success is within reach for every child. With the help of supporters like you, we can create brighter futures for thousands of kids.

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