Our National Affiliation



​Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s tradition of service to our nation’s youth began in 1860, when the first Boys Club was established in Hartford, Connecticut. Since then, the organization has grown to serve some 4.8 million youth annually in more than 4,000 Boys & Girls Clubs across the country. The national organization, originally named Federated Boys’ Clubs and later Boys’ Clubs of America, was founded in 1906 by the 53 local Clubs in existence at that time. The purpose: to provide leadership and programs for its Club members, while helping to establish new Clubs in disadvantaged communities. The name became Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) in 1990 to reflect an expanded mission of service to all young people who need the support and guidance a Club provides. In recent years Boys & Girls Clubs of America has experienced dramatic growth, chartering more than 1,800 new Club locations since 1997. Many factors have contributed to this successful outreach effort, among them the dedication of national volunteers – men and women whose experience and knowledge are drawn upon to advise and strengthen the organization. Strong partnerships with committed corporations and foundations also provide invaluable support, helping raise funds and awareness on behalf of Boys & Girls Clubs of America and local Clubs.

BGCA’s efficient use of financial resources has won national recognition. In its latest “Philanthropy 400” report, The Chronicle of Philanthropy ranked BGCA as No. 15 among all non-profit organizations, while placing BGCA in the No. 1 position among youth organizations for the twelfth consecutive year. The survey, measuring private support, reported gifts to the national organization and local Boys & Girls Clubs totaling $630 million in 2005. Forbes, SmartMoney, Newsweek and U.S. News & World Report have all ranked BGCA among the top charitable organizations in America based on cost-effective use of donor dollars. WORTH magazine has ranked BGCA as one of America’s top one hundred charities, based on financial efficiency, strength of reputation, and program effectiveness. Boys & Girls Clubs of America continues to maximize its human and financial resources to reach more young people and communities in need. Some children live in urban areas; many face serious obstacles to achieving productive futures, but all deserve the chance to achieve their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens and leaders.

BGCA’s commitment to growth and quality is based on concern for deserving youth as well as the national interest – soon these boys and girls will become the mainstay of America’s economy. By aiding their development, all of society benefits. Among the children in greatest need are those living in America’s public housing developments. In 1986, fewer than 40 Clubs operated in public housing. Today, there are more than 400 Boys & Girls Clubs located in public housing. This number grows steadily, thanks to effective collaboration between Clubs, schools, housing authorities, government agencies and private funding sources.

BGCA continues to break new ground, reaching out to at-risk youth in non-traditional ways. Today, Boys & Girls Clubs work with young people in schools, homeless shelters, shopping malls and on military bases and Native American lands. While America’s youth face many difficult challenges, Boys & Girls Clubs continue their 147-year tradition of offering proven solutions that work. Clubs have provided millions of girls and boys with daily, guidance-oriented character development programs, firmly establishing a nationwide reputation as “The Positive Place for Kids.”

What is Boys & Girls Clubs of America? 

A national non-profit youth organization comprising more than 4,000 Boys & Girls Club facilities that help some 4.8 million young people connect with opportunities for personal growth and achievement.The only nationwide, facility-based youth agency with a primary mission of service to girls and boys from disadvantaged circumstances. An organization with affiliated Clubs in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and on U.S. military bases in the U.S., Europe and Asia and America’s fastest-growing youth development organization.

What does Boys & Girls Clubs of America provide to local Clubs?

Program research and development.

Personnel recruitment and training.

Facility design, construction and safety.

Fundraising, marketing and communications.

Evaluation of Club effectiveness against national standards.

Consultation with community leaders interested in establishing new Clubs.

Addressing legislative and public policy issues affecting young people.

What sets local Clubs apart from national Boys & Girls Clubs of America?
Each local Club is a private, non-profit agency with policy set by a volunteer board comprised of local residents. 
Each local Club is managed by a full-time executive director, assisted by full-time career professionals, part-time assistants and program volunteers. 
Each local Club is locally staffed and operates independently offering daily programs promoting the health, social, educational, vocational and character development of youth ages 6-18.

Our National Programs