Building Up the Boys Clubs

  • Prosperity
  • 1936

Herbert Hoover, now remembered mainly as a President, was both a wealthy businessman and a prominent humanitarian and donor. Orphaned at an early age, he had a lifelong devotion to children’s causes. In 1936 he became chairman of the Boys Clubs of America, and he devoted time, treasure, and organizational expertise to turn it into one of the country’s largest charities by the time of his death a quarter-century later. He added hundreds of clubs to help city youths at risk of delinquency, offering them, in the words of one observer, “a place to play checkers and learn a trade, swim in a pool, and steal nothing more harmful than second base.” Today, Boys and Girls Clubs serve over four million children in over 4,000 autonomous local clubs that head off gang membership, crime, drug use, and violence by means of proven formulas: supportive adults, challenging activities, and a place where young people feel they belong.