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Local youngsters thrive thanks to Boys & Girls Clubs of the Bay & Lakes Region

It has officially been a year since three different communities came together under one umbrella as the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Bay & Lakes Region. This merger not only enhanced the programming and possibilities for local youth but also created efficiencies across the regional landscape.

As the Boys & Girls Clubs in Door County, Green Bay and Shawano strived to provide youth programming and services to their respective communities, the decision and commitment to come together in March 2023 under one administrative body — Boys & Girls Clubs of the Bay & Lakes Region — placed the three Clubs on a strong path for a sustainable and impactful future.

Over a year ago, the communities of Shawano and Greater Green Bay were serving local youth through safe spaces, caring adult mentors and quality programs. The same was being done in Door County, however, with a shared vision and mission, uniting as one regional Boys & Girls Club made sense. The many synergies and operational efficiencies formed a deeper partnership.

With a generous investment from the David L. and Rita E. Nelson Family Fund within the Community Foundation to support key integration elements, the regional organizational functions have become more efficient. A new governance structure was created, and key resources (human resources, finance, marketing and communications, fundraising, training and youth programming) were streamlined and enhanced.

We are pleased to say that a year into the integration the organization is now stronger, and together, more young people have opportunities to pursue their dreams and become future-ready!

Enhancements to localized community-focused programming and initiatives have been seen in many ways. Youth development experts have come together from all three communities, which has resulted in more specialized professional development for team members. A stronger staff now connects through monthly TEAM Development training days, improved impact evaluation and outcomes measurement capabilities leading to continuous improvements, the integration of youth mental health supports throughout all sites, and programmatic synergies that increase high-quality learning enrichment experiences for Club members across the region.

So much has been accomplished in the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Bay & Lakes Region’s first year as an integrated organization, and we are only just getting started!


The David L. and Rita E. Nelson Family Fund within the Community Foundation is a permanent, donor-advised endowment that generates millions of dollars in grants annually to charitable organizations reflecting the philanthropic interests of the late David and Rita Nelson and their family, primarily in the Fox Cities and Green Bay areas. These interests include parks, recreation and waterways; education; health care; community services and community centers; historic preservation and history — including lighthouses, museums and historical societies; and community catalyst opportunities.   Who were the Nelsons? Learn more about the David L. and Rita E. Nelson Family Fund and find out more about this couple here.

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