Our story

In the beginning, there were only boys.

Our movement has deep roots.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of America – a chapter of which is Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland – began in 1860 as the Boys Club in Hartford, Conn. After that, the Boys Club movement quickly spread throughout the United States.

In 1954, the first Boys Club opened on Broadway Avenue in Cleveland’s Slavic Village neighborhood. It was established by a group of corporate executives from Republic Steel (now ArcelorMittal) and Cliffs Natural Resources. The second Cleveland Club opened in the Mount Pleasant Neighborhood in 1972.

In 1976, the Boys Clubs of Cleveland took a step that earned it distinction as a national thought leader. It began to accept girls as members and became the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland. This progressive step occurred a full 14 years before the national organization became the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

In 1985, we opened our third Club, the West Side Club, followed by the King Kennedy Club in 1992 and the Heights Youth Club in 2007. In 2009, BGCC began expanding into Cleveland Municipal School District buildings. BGCC also opened a Club at Saint Luke’s Manor (2013).

In late 2015, BGCC took over management of Cleveland Peacemakers Alliance, which works to combat crime through community outreach, intervention and hospital-based violence interruption. Peacemakers Alliance is a wholly owned subsidiary of BGCC.

BGCC exists so we can provide children who are most in need a safe place to grow, learn and realize their full potential. They will become tomorrow’s parents, workers and leaders. With a wide range of programs, we support healthy lifestyles, academic success, character-building and leadership development.

What is it like at our Clubs? Watch this video.

Our professional staff and dedicated volunteers are expertly trained to be strong role models and are committed to helping children move forward as well-rounded, confident, contributing citizens. We are the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland – life-changing, life-enhancing, life-empowering. We are a place of hope, promise and opportunity.

We invite you to help us pursue our mission.