The Massachusetts Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs – The Power of Organizing
Historically, the 39 members clubs that comprise the Massachusetts Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs sought individual earmark funding for their local organizations through the annual state budget process- an inefficient and unpredictable process for obtaining state dollars. They also advocated for policy issues on an ad hoc basis, diluting their voice on Beacon Hill when it came to key discussions on legislation and regulations related to kids and teens.
Working in close partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Club officials across Massachusetts, Ventry Associates helped unite these organizations into a single state funding access point and advocacy organization. We then built a lobbying plan to teach Clubs how to steward their legislators on an ongoing basis; from congratulating new representatives and senators on their elections, to in-district events, and an annual lobbying day on Beacon Hill, which remains one of the most successful and well attended events on the State House’s calendar. As part of our effort, we track legislator outreach across all member Clubs, devise tailored stewardship plans for Clubs and their board members, and have successfully secured seats for Alliance representatives on numerous governmental boards and advisory commissions dealing with youth issues. As a result, the Alliance has become the gold standard for youth advocacy in Massachusetts- and a model for Boys & Girls Club Alliances throughout the country.
This standing was perhaps best demonstrated during the COVID-19 pandemic, when we successfully secured over $15 million in stimulus funding specifically for the Alliance, in addition to helping create industry coalitions to advocate for millions of dollars in additional grant opportunities to help address their ongoing workforce and operational needs. In addition, we advocated on behalf of the Alliance across multiple state agencies (including the Department of Early Education and Care, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and the Department of Public Health) for balanced and effective health & safety protocols in the fields of early education, afterschool, and summer camp.
Over the course of our engagement, Ventry has secured more than $40 million for the Alliance, spoken at multiple national conferences to share this success story, and received the 2016 Governmental Relations Professionals of the Year Award from Boys & Girls Clubs of America in recognition of our achievements.