BGCT annual meeting celebrates supporters, 65 years of serving local youth

The 2024 executive board officers are, from left,
President-Elect Edmund Marquez, Secretary Jill Brooks, President Joseph Gulotta, and Treasurer Tom Thaller.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson celebrated their 65th year of serving our community’s children at their annual meeting, January 22 at Culinary Dropout, by honoring their supporters and the 4,000 kids and teens they served in 2023. 

In addition to staff, board members, donors and supporters, BGCT was honored to have in attendance James Clark, president and CEO of Boys and Girls Club of America, and Stacy Blackmon, BGCA’s vice president of metro services and director of organizational development for the Pacific region. 

With 5,400 clubs in the U.S., Clark said he chose to attend BGCT’s annual meeting “because of the great work that’s being done” here in Tucson. Denise Watters, BGCT CEO, talked about some of those initiatives in her report. 

“Over the past 65 years, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson has been a beacon of hope, supporting the dreams and potential of our incredible youth through the dedication of our staff, volunteers, and supporters,” she said. “We remain committed to providing a safe and nurturing environment where our members can learn, grow, and thrive, meeting challenges with resilience and turning ambition into opportunity.” 

Watters noted that the number of children participating in clubhouse programs reached pre-pandemic levels. She also reported that the summer program, which provides families with a safe, affordable outlet while school is out, was fully funded by the governor’s office.  

Awards, board reorganizations announced 

The annual meeting is also the venue for annual awards recognition and board updates: 

The Youth Impact Award was given to The Hazen Family Foundation, the philanthropic arm of local developer Hazen Enterprises. The award was created in 2016 to annually recognize an individual, couple or organization that has made a major impact on young people through innovative direct club programming and support. 

The Click for Kids Award, BGCT’s highest honor, was awarded to Julie and Dale Butcher, longtime Tucson philanthropists. Julie has served as BGCT board president, past president, and interim CEO, and she and her husband have single-handedly raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for BGCT. 

The new executive board officers are: 

  • Joseph Gulotta, president 
  • Edmund Marquez, president-elect 
  • Tom Thaller, treasurer 
  • Jill Brooks, secretary 

New emeritus board members are: 

  • Julie Butcher 
  • Vance Falbaum 
  • Ilene Sipe 
  • Cindy and Tom Robertson  

“Thank you to each and every one of you — our champions, advocates, partners and friends — for being an integral part of this remarkable journey,” Watters said at the meeting. “Let’s continue to work together, inspired by our past successes, and let us remain committed to our mission of supporting, nurturing, and empowering the incredible youth of Tucson.  

“Together, we can continue to build a better tomorrow for the generations to come.” 

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