On Thursday May 28, the Boys & Girls Club of Thurston County (the Club) will host their first-ever virtual Foundation for the Future Breakfast. Although this year’s event will unfold from kitchen tables and breakfast nooks across the county, the mission remains the same. This event raises awareness about the positive impact the Club has on the lives of local youth and their families. Nearly 3,000 youth and their families benefit annually from the programs and services provided by the Club and this event is essential in generating the funds that makes that possible.

Although the in-person greeting committee will be missed this year, the Boys & Girls Clubs’ Foundations for the for Future breakfast will still feature stories about positively impacted youth. The whole family can attend from home! Photo courtesy: Boys & Girls Clubs of Thurston County

This year’s breakfast will be broadcast on Facebook Live and via the Club’s website, at 8:00 a.m. Television personality John Curley will host the event. As always, real stories about Thurston County’s youth and the Club’s positive impacts will be shared throughout the event.

“We feel very supported by the community,” says Mindy Crump, the Club’s Director of Resource Development. She reiterates her gratitude toward the members of the local business community who are stepping up to ensure the Club’s work can continue during these critical times. Many of the youth and teens served by the Club right now have parents who are first responders or essential workers. They are offering essential services such as engaging programs, mentoring, breakfast, lunch and a snack.

Thanks to the virtual format, a number of exciting new elements are involved in this year’s Foundation for the Future event. Throughout the month of May, community business leaders will be challenging each other to donate gift cards from local stores and restaurants, which will then be used as giveaways throughout the virtual breakfast event.

Kevin Hayward, a Lacey-based State Farm agent, kicked off the gift card challenge by purchasing $100 worth of gift cards from Eastside Big Tom. Big Tom will match that by donating another $100 worth of gift cards. Big Tom nominated Northwest Beerwerks, where Kevin Hayward has purchased $100 worth of gift cards. Beerwerks will match that by donating another $100 worth of gift cards. Beerwerks plans to nominate Well 80. Over 30 businesses have already agreed to be a part of the challenge.

Children of first responders and frontline workers enjoy breakfast at the Tumwater Club. Donations made at the Foundations for the Future Breakfast help keep kids fed! Photo courtesy: Boys & Girls Clubs of Thurston County

By the morning of the breakfast, Mindy and her team hope to have thousands of dollars’ worth of gift cards for Thurston County businesses ready to incentivize donations during the event. “This really is a win-win,” says Mindy. “We’re supporting local businesses, bolstering the economy, and encouraging our donors to support these businesses either curbside or when they re-open.” Throughout the breakfast, John Curley will call out incentives such as, “the next four people to donate $100 or more will win.” They will also be used as raffle prizes.

In another fun new twist, all virtual attendees will be encouraged to take a picture of their breakfast on the morning of the event and post it on their social media page. Anyone can vote for their favorite breakfast picture by giving it a “like.” The person who posts the picture with the most likes as of the evening of Sunday, May 31, will win a $100 gift card to Hash.

The intent of the gift card challenge is to stimulate the local economy while also providing incentives for attendees of the breakfast event to donate generously to the Club. Any business that participates will receive a sign they can use in pictures for social media and will be recognized at the event.

A portion of the fundraising that happens at the Foundation for the Future Breakfast covers scholarships that help lower financial barriers that might keep a family from enrolling their children in the Club. “Seventy percent of the students we serve need this scholarship support to attend Club,” Mindy explains, “and we may likely have more families in need on the other side of this pandemic.”

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Thurston County will honor this year’s Youth of the Year, Faith Doctor, at the Foundations for the Future Breakfast. Photo courtesy: Boys & Girls Clubs of Thurston County

How can you get involved? Anyone can register for the Foundation for the Future Breakfast and be ready to make a one-time donation of any size or set up a recurring monthly donation during the event. If you’re especially passionate about the Club’s work and mission, consider becoming a virtual table captain and inviting your friends and colleagues to attend the event. You can even host a Facebook “watch party” or a Zoom session to turn this event into a virtual networking opportunity. Contact Shea Wahlstrom by email to sign up to be a virtual table captain.

If you’re a business owner or community leader, consider starting a gift card challenge chain. Please contact Mindy Crump by email to start the process. If you’d like to be a formal sponsor of the event, check out the sponsorship packet.

“Kids in our community need us and we need your support,” says Mindy. “We’re helping families of first responders and essential workers and ready to serve all Club families when the time is right. These are parents that really need us and we’re there. We are excited to garner support so we can continue to be there for our community.”

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