Boys & Girls Club receives “challenge grant”

Published 6:56 pm Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Boys & Girls Club of Beaufort County needs help — and the community can contribute.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Coastal Plain is enlisting help for the remainder of the year as part of a “challenge grant” with First Citizens Bank and Pecheles Automotive.

Theresa Gilmore, chief development officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Coastal Plain, said that the Beaufort County clubs are short of about $88,000 in funding for club operational costs, and they need to raise the remaining funds by Dec. 31 of this year.

In hope of reaching the goal, Pecheles Automotive and First Citizens Bank have agreed to provide a matching grant, according to Gilmore.

“They will match every 50 cents on the dollar. If we raise $60,000 in the community, we will get the $30,000 from Pecheles and First Citizens Bank and we will be able to close the gap no problem,” Gilmore said.

Brian Pecheles, president of Pecheles Automotive, said the company has a history of giving back to eastern North Carolina communities, and it has been serving the Boys & Girls Club for more than 20 years. He said he hopes the support will encourage the community to help the cause, as well.

“We were informed of a need in Beaufort County, so we teamed up with First Citizens … to raise awareness and hopefully encourage others to support them,” Pecheles said.

The funds will go directly toward the Washington and Belhaven units. Gilmore said on average, the clubs serve about 125 children every day and staff members work diligently to provide a fun and safe place for children. The clubs also help children with homework, provide a hot meal and a snack and offer a place for children to go even when schools are closed.

She said public contributions and funds from the challenge grant will go to certain operating costs: improving programming, such as healthy lifestyles, and good character citizen programs, as well as ensuring the club is staffed with trained professionals who can work with the children.

“At this point, we want to generate the excitement and ask the community to rally around the two corporations,” Gilmore said.

Gilmore said the Washington club has continuously impressed her — and it’s impressed those in the community, as well.

“It’s a special club,” Gilmore said. “I’ve never gotten more compliments during tours from community members that come into the club and just say that those kids are proud of their club, that they look you in the eye, they give you a firm handshake, they smile.”

Gordon Jethro, area executive at First Citizens Bank, said the bank actively supports the mission of the Boys & Girls Club.

“Our employees live and do business in the communities we serve — Beaufort County included. We invite other businesses and individuals to join us in supporting the club,” he said.

Gilmore said it’s been a special year for Beaufort County clubs, including various grants from Lowe’s Home Improvement and The Cannon Foundation. Now, she said all eyes are on Beaufort County, with the hope for club improvements and the chance to impact more children.

“There’s something really special going around. Everyone’s focused the attention on them, giving them a chance just to improve their club,” Gilmore said. “The kids are ready, the staff is ready, the community just needs to rally around and close the gap.”

Donations to the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Coastal Plain can be mailed to 621 W. Fire Tower Road, Winterville, or can be made online at with “Beaufort Match” in the memo.