More than 2,650 participants from 24 states and three countries joined together for the 3rd annual ZGravy Chase to benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Boone County. This family-friendly event welcomed strollers, dogs and participants ranging in age from infant to 87 years old! The 2.0- and 4.4-mile course started and finished on the historic cobblestone Main Street of Zionsville.
In the 2.0-mile division, Mike Cole was the first male across the finish line in 10:50.95 followed by the female runner, Azmi Carlson with a time of 13:43.53. On the long course, in the male division, Jackson Martin crossed the finish line in 20:12.25 and Tamara Nelson took home the female honor with a time of 27:21.70.
“Our goal in starting this event was to create a lasting revenue source for the Club and the youth in our community, especially those who need us most. In addition, we wanted to bring a race to Boone County to start a new family and friends tradition on Thanksgiving Day that will remind us how thankful we are for this community and all of the individuals that help make this a great place to live, work and play.
As the board president, I am overwhelmed by the hard work and generosity of the staff, volunteers, sponsors, Town of Zionsville, and thousands of participants. ZGravy Chase is truly a community-wide event! Race Maker Productions took a chance on promoting our event in 2017 and has been an incredible partner helping to produce and grow ZGravy Chase.”
Rob Schein, Board President for the Boys & Girls Club of Boone County
The Boys & Girls Club of Boone County serves more than 450 kids every day in Lebanon, Whitestown and Zionsville with before and after school programs. In addition, the Club offers sports leagues, summer camps and community activities for our youth serving more than 3,000 kids each year. In the Lebanon Unit, the Club feeds an average of 85 Club kids each day. The mission and core beliefs of Boys & Girls Clubs fuel our commitment to promoting safe, positive and inclusive environments for all.
Significant funds are needed to sustain daily Club operations. Forty-eight percent of the $1.56 million budget is raised from special events, corporate support, individual donations and grants. Proceeds from the ZGravy Chase race will go directly to serve the youth in our community. This year’s event raised more than $75,000 to fill the $409 gap between membership fees and the cost of running the Clubs.
ZGravy Chase kicks off our end of year giving campaign. The Club has two anonymous donors who have pledged $35,000 in matching funds. The goal is to raise $150,000 between Thanksgiving and New Year’s to serve the youth in our community.
The Board of Directors for the Boys & Girls Club is thrilled to announce Mark Branch as the organization’s new CEO. Branch was selected from a competitive field of applicants after a 3-month executive search. Over the past year the Club has undergone a merger and has three unit locations in Boone County – a Lebanon Unit, a Whitestown Unit and a Zionsville Unit. The hiring of this CEO is the final step in the process.
“We are beyond excited to have Mark Branch serving as our new CEO. Mark has a proven track record of strong leadership and has unmatched experience with the Boys & Girls Club. Boone County – and most importantly the youth of Boone County – will benefit from his leadership.” said Board President Rob Schein
Branch began his career as a Unit Director for the Boys & Girls Club in Indianapolis. After seven years at the helm of an Indianapolis club, Branch moved to Cleveland, TN where he was the Executive Director and oversaw two units and served 1,800 kids. After receiving two merit awards, he moved to South Carolina and oversaw three Units. In a three year period, he increased those three Units to 5 Units while also leading a capital campaign which raised $7.5 million – exceeding the original $5 million goal. After his success in South Carolina, Branch returned to his roots in Indianapolis and served as Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Club of Indianapolis for seven years. There he was responsible for overseeing staff of 22 full-time and 90 part-time employees that served 12,000 youth in Marion County. He joined the national staff of Boys & Girls Club of America in 2006 and most recently served as Lead Director where he was responsible for managing Clubs in the Midwest, Southwest and Pacific-West Regions of the country.
After serving Clubs nationwide, Branch was eager to return to a CEO role that would allow him to utilize his three decades of experience and leave a lasting legacy. He has supervised and developed countless staff members, which makes him the perfect compliment to our long-tenured Unit Directors.
The Boys & Girls Club of Boone County has seen a 60% increase in members in the past 10 years, creating a huge community need. The three Units collectively serve 450 members daily in before and after-school programs. In total there are 3,000 members who participate in sports leagues and summer camps. At the Lebanon Unit, dinner is fed to 75-100 children, five days a week. Without the meal provided by the Club, most of these kids would go hungry until school the next day. Under Branch’s leadership the Club is poised to launch into its next phase and provide unmatched service to the youth of Boone County.
The Boys & Girls Club of Boone County (BGCBoone) hosted the 36th Annual “Tee It Up for the Kids” golf outing on Friday, August 2 at the Golf Club of Indiana. This year’s event marked the 10th year Ameriprise Financial Endeavor Group, has been the presenting sponsor.
Eric Bilitz, President of the Endeavor Group states, “How can you beat a day like today when you get to play golf for the benefit of the kids in the community and the organization who mission is to help those kids be the best they can be?” In addition to the presenting sponsorship for the golf outing, Ameriprise has been contributing to the Club for 20 years, supporting sports, capital projects and the annual campaign.
This year’s event was the first joint golf outing since the merger of the Lebanon Area Boys & Girls Club and the Boys & Girls Club of Zionsville into the Boy & Girls Club of Boone County. The outing raised more funds for the youth in the county than the independent outings have raised in past years, over $25,000. Rob Schein, BGCBoone board president states, “Thanks to partners such as Ameriprise, the Club is able to keep our member fees low in order to serve all the youth of Boone County. 48% of the $1.56 million budget is raised through special events, corporate sponsors, individual donations and grants.”
The Boys & Girls Club of Boone County– Lebanon, Whitestown and Zionsville– serves 425 members daily and currently has 3000 total members. In addition to their daily programming, they offer sports leagues and summer camps. In Lebanon, they feed an average of 85 kids, five days a week. Without the meal provided by the Club, most of the kids would go hungry until school the next day. The mission of the Boys & Girls Club of Boone County is to enable all area youth, especially those that need them most, to develop the skills, fitness, and character they need to reach their full potential as productive, caring, and responsible citizens.
In addition to Ameriprise, Global Plastics and PWG/Levitetz Family Foundation were presenting sponsors for the event. 120 golfers enjoyed a beautiful day on the course with box lunches and a post golf cookout in the Clubhouse. The Florida scramble format with a putting contest, game cards, silent auction and a raffle were enjoyed by the golfers. We look forward to hosting the 37th annual event in August of 2020.
Congratulations to our recent Karate Competition Winners! We had three students compete in the 2019 Haynes Apperson Battle Of Independence on July 6th. Alex, an orange belt, placed 2nd in Kata, 1st in Chanbarra, and 1st in sparring. Lauren placed 2nd in kata, and 4rd in Self Defense. Jyri, a green belt, placed 1st in kata, 3rd in sparring, and 3rd in Chanbarra.
Since my son started attending the Boys and Girls Club of Boone County at age 5 he has made huge improvements in his social, emotional growth and overall social skills. I do not know what I would do without the support and consistency the Boys and Girls Club has provided my family and our community.