The Milton Area Youth Center (MAYC) will get a $2,500 boost from the Green Bay Packers Foundation to purchase new sports equipment, the organization announced Tuesday.
MAYC was one of 145 groups in Wisconsin to receive a portion of the $450,000 in grant funds distributed by the foundation. In a press release, Green Bay Packers Foundation Chairman Charlie Lieb said the number of organizations that will benefit and the amount of money donated are new records for the organization.
“We’re honored to recognize the efforts of this year’s recipients,” Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy said at a luncheon Tuesday at Lambeau Field. “We congratulate each of them for the tremendous impact they make in their communities.”
According to the Green Bay Packers Foundation website, the organization has distributed more than $2 million since 1986 to help fund “activities and programs that benefit education, civic affairs, health services, human services and youth-related programs.”
MAYC Director Pamela Thomas was at the luncheon to accept the grant check, which will be used to purchase new sports equipment like basketballs, portable basketball hoops, volleyball nets, soccer balls and soccer nets. Currently, the youth center’s sports equipment is limited to leftovers from rummage sale fundraisers.
“We have old, holey baseball gloves and basketballs that need to pumped up every time you use them,” Thomas said. “That’s definitely a need that the youth center has.”
Thomas wrote the grant early last fall. Sometime in late September or October, Lieb came to visit the center and told Thomas MAYC was being considered for a grant.
Lieb was wearing a Super Bowl ring during his visit, Thomas said, and he even let her try it on.
Thomas said the Packers Foundation receives hundreds of grants every year. Once the grant submissions have been narrowed down, foundation trustees split up and do investigations of the applicants, looking at budgets and reviewing visions and goals.
“He said, ‘Normally we don’t grant to an organization that’s younger than three years old, but we feel your organization is exceptional,’” Thomas said of Lieb. “When he said that, though, I figured they probably weren’t going to grant us.”
Thomas was pleasantly surprised when she was notified between Christmas and New Year’s Day that MAYC was going to receive the grant.
She said the grant from the Green Bay Packers Foundation was about more than the financial support. The award establishes a new relationship with the Packers and potentially boosts MAYC’s profile in the community.
“There’s a good portion of Milton that knows what we do there, but we’re hoping recognition from the Packers will broaden our reach into the community and that more people will take notice of the center,” Thomas said. “If the Packers recognize it as an organization that’s doing good in the community, we hope other people in the community will feel compelled to get involved because of that. We could always use more volunteers.”
The Milton Area Youth Center, a faith-based non-profit organization, began operating in March 2011 with the goal of providing a positive social environment for seventh-, eighth- and ninth-graders in the community. Teens can grab a snack, participate in activities, socialize, work on homework and engage with mentors after school and during weekdays in June and July from 3-6 p.m. MAYC is located at Crosspointe Community Church, 44 Second St.
Although thankful for the grant from the Packers Foundation, Thomas said fundraising for MAYC is an ongoing process.
“The youth center is completely funded by donations and grants,” Thomas said. “We’ve received about half of the grants we’ve written for, which is a very good success rate for grant writing. Grants are for specific projects, but we need other donations and funding to keep the lights on and feed the kids.”