Louisville’s four Salvation Army Boys and Girls Clubs will close this month and it remains uncertain if and when a merger with Kentuckiana Boys and Girls Clubs will happen. It’s hopeful that clubs will reopen by year’s end, said Michael Hawley (pictured), the Salvation Army’s Louisville area commander.
At best, Kentuckiana Boys and Girls Clubs will reopen three of the four operations, but it has not yet decided if it can remain financially stable if it decides to resume responsibility. But even with a merger there will be a period of time the clubs will close, said Hawley. A gap between operations is necessary to transfer responsibility between the organizations, but if Kentuckiana takes over the clubs, it may actually be a good thing, he said.
“As the community minds have put their heads together, we think that relinquishing the charter for the Boys and Girls Clubs is in the best interest of the Boys and Girls Clubs,” Hawley said. “ And we hope that the fundraising for the Boys and Girls Clubs in the future will be more streamlined it’ll be clearer where it goes and where it goes to and it will be continued to be served as much as possible,” he said.
Kentuckiana Boys and Girls Clubs is still searching for donations before it decides to take over operations of three Salvation Army clubs, said CEO Jennifer Hegelson.
Metro United Way is a major donor for both organizations and it has previously said it will continue its funding if a merger occurs. But that’s still leaves around $500,000 Kentuckiana needs to make up, said Hegelson.
“We are talking to some local corporate groups that we have had affiliations in the past with and we are also looking just at individuals who might have an interest. So individuals, corporate, foundations, grants, those types of services is what we would be looking for,” she said.
It’s still too early to give an estimate on when clubs could resume service, said Hegelson. For now, the four Salvation Army clubs will close Oct. 21. Kentuckiana will not pursue the South Louisville club at this time.
The Salvation Army clubs have five full-time and over as dozen part-time employees. Hawley says they will be given precedent with Kentuckiana if a merger occurs.