Kohl extends Boys & Girls Clubs summer programs with $500,000 gift

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee will extend its summer programming for thousands of area youth after receiving a $500,000 donation from former Senator Herb Kohl.

The donation, announced during a press conference on Tuesday, will allow the nonprofit organization to keep 36 of its clubs operating through August, according to Vincent Lyles, president and chief executive officer.

Of those clubs, 30 sites will remain open through Friday, Aug. 14, and six will operate through Friday, Aug. 28.

This summer is the first that the organization has been able to elongate its youth programming, Lyles said.

When Boys & Girls Clubs kicked off summer programming, it had 40 clubs open. Without Kohl’s donation, the organization would have been able to continue running 14 clubs through the end of summer.

Kohl has been a “longtime supporter” of Boys & Girls Clubs, according to Lyles. In addition to supporting the organization’s focus on education during his term as senator, he was also active with the nonprofit when he owned the Milwaukee Bucks, donating game tickets to Boys & Girls Clubs students.

“I think Senator Kohl appreciates our rich history and our commitment to excellence around supporting kids,” Lyles said.

“I think he saw us as a logical partner for this,” Lyles said of Kohl’s support for the nonprofit’s summer programming.

The $500,000 gift will back the organization’s full-day activities for more than 5,000 kids age 5 through 18, activities including visual arts programming, music lessons, sports, college preparation, career exploration and community fieldtrips.

“We want to make sure that kids are safe and healthy and being academically enriched throughout the entire summer,” Lyles said.

Kids benefiting from Boys & Girls Clubs summer programming also receive meals through the organization with help from partners Hunger Task Force and Milwaukee Public Schools. More than 70,000 meals will be served to students during the summer extension period.

“I believe Boys & Girls Clubs are a valuable resource for our city, and I am happy to be able to contribute to the enrichment and safety of local youth for the entire summer,” Kohl said in a statement.

Earlier this year, Kohl was recognized at the Boys & Girls Clubs’ MVP Salute to Youth event for his continued support of the organization and advocacy work on its behalf.

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