Like many Edmontonians, William Butler wanted to help make his community a better place. After years of donating to numerous non-profits, he decided to be more intentional with his philanthropy by establishing the Butler Family Foundation in 2007, along with the help of four other family members.
Since 2008, the Butler Family Foundation has given BGCBigs close to $120,000, helping fund some of the agency’s amalgamation costs incurred by merging Boys & Girls Clubs of Edmonton and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Edmonton, creating BGCBigs in 2011. The Foundation’s financial support also went to BGCBigs’s Cool Moves program, which is incorporated into all nine Club sites encouraging active play and healthy lifestyles.
Most recently, BGCBigs was one of 10 local charities awarded a grant from the Butler Family Foundation in October 2014. That funding will go towards the Eat Smart program, enabling all BGCBigs to feed children and youth a healthy snack and supper every day they attend one of the clubs.
Shannon Butler, William’s daughter and the Foundation Coordinator, notes factors that make BGCBigs align with what the Butler Family Foundation likes to fund: the number of kids affected by the programming (nearly 5,000 children and youth last year alone) and the impact on the community. Mentorship, part of the programming BGCBigs provides, can make the difference between a child’s current reality and their future one, Shannon says.
Indirectly, parents also benefit from knowing their children are in a safe place after school or in the summer time. Many parents of children accessing BGCBigs’s Club sites work multiple jobs to make ends meet, therefore a safe, free and accessible after-school program for their children helps in so many ways. Parents, teachers and community leaders have also commented on the visible, positive affect BGCBigs’s Club, in-school and corporate mentors have on the children.
“We have some really well-established relationships with charities I consider to be bang on with what we’re looking to fund,” Shannon says, which include family and community; sport and recreation; education and life-long pursuit of knowledge; and personal development and creativity.
Shannon has first-hand knowledge of the Clubs and the extended reach BGCBigs has. She had three or four program tours in Clubs and last year, she went to Youngstown School with BGCBigs Service Delivery staff who read to students during Read In Week.
“I love going to those tours,” she says. “When you walk into one of those club houses and you see how caring the staff is and the volunteers are, what a difference it makes to those kids, and how careful the leadership is about making every dollar count. For us, that’s huge.”
Grants and support from funders like the Butler Family Foundation enable BGCBigs to continue helping thousands of kids each year by providing them with healthy snacks, active lifestyle knowledge, homework help, mentorship and safe places to go after school. On behalf of the nearly 5,000 children and families we serve, we would like to thank the Butler Family Foundation for caring about our community’s kids!