DeSoto Boys and Girls Club

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Interior view

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Overhead view

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Recent Picture of Front

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Basketball Courts

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Construction of new 37,500 sq. ft. recreational facility providing services to 2,400 low-income children annually

Since its establishment in 1946, more than 40,000 children have passed through the doors of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County (BGCMC). After decades of use, one of its facilities, the 50-year old DeSoto Club, was deteriorating and its resources were becoming obsolete for 21st-century education. The Boys & Girls Clubs conducted a capital campaign to raise funds for the construction of a new building, but rising construction costs kept the fundraising goal just out of reach.

With financing through the NMTC program, BGCMC is building a new 37,500 square-foot building that more than doubles the capacity of the former facility and will reach an

estimated 2,400 children and youth annually, 75% of whom are low-income. BGCMC programs include academic excellence, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. The new clubhouse includes an upgraded computer lab, space for mentoring sessions with local elected officials and entrepreneurs, an art workshop, a new gymnasium, nutrition classes in a commercial kitchen, and space for other community activities and events designed to inspire these students to become future community leaders.

The success rate for BGCMC program participants is high, with 95% expected to graduate on time and 93% on grade level for their age. A study estimates that each dollar invested in a Boys & Girls Club returns nearly ten dollars in benefits to the community by increasing earning power and lowering costs associated with healthcare, public assistance, and incarceration.

Although often misunderstood as simply “recreation centers,” many Boys & Girls Clubs serve as the only choice in disadvantaged communities that youth have to turn towards after school. Beyond academic support and teaching financial literacy and good citizenship, Clubs provide a safe place, where they can build a sense of community and trust with other kids and adults, and often is the only chance for a square meal for kids coming from single-parent households or families in dire financial situations.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee is proud of its alumni and what they have accomplished. Students who participate in BGCMC programs frequently go on to be pillars of the community, such as a city councilman, a lung cancer research scientist, a county sheriff, and a professional baseball player. Many of these “Club Kids” alumni continue to support current students as mentors and with financial support.

Located near the State College of Florida, Bayshore High School, and IMG Academy, the new facility is a centerpiece for county-wide youth services. Upon completion, the old building will be demolished and the land used to catalyze additional local economic development to generate revenue for BGCMC. The new facility also aligns with 4 area redevelopment plans: Manatee County Comprehensive Plan, Southwest County Urban Services Area, Priority Redevelopment Corridors, and Manatee County Children’s Services Annual Plan.

Florida Community Loan Fund (FCLF) provided $10.5 million in federal NMTCs for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County. PNC Bank provided the NMTC equity, and dditional commercial loan financing was provided by Synovus Bank.

“Without NMTC, it could have taken years to pull together financing for this project,” said Nelson Black, FCLF’s Chief Lending Officer. “The time to mentor children and youth is right now – not years down the road. The new Boys & Girls Club will reach thousands of students every year, in their own back yard; and it will reach them right now.”

According to Neel Shah, President of Shah Capital Advisors, an NMTC consulting firm that supports project sponsors, “Many youth call the Boys & Girls Clubs their ‘second home’ and years later ‘Club Kids’ say that their Club saved their life – as an alternative to getting trapped in a gang, ending up in jail, or even worse becoming a casualty of street violence. What amazing examples of how the NMTC program can help provide low-income youth with a path up and out of the cycle of poverty.”

  • DeSoto Boys & Girls Club, 5231 34th St., Bradenton, FL
  • Total Project Cost: $11.5M
  • NMTC allocation: $10.5M from Florida Community Loan Fund
  • Investor: PNC Bank
  • Other Financing: Synovus Bank
  • Jobs: 200 temporary and 34 permanent jobs estimated
  • Children served: Estimated reach of 2,400 children and youth annually
  • Timing: Construction began June 2018; ribbon cutting & youth services begin at new site August 2019