Question: What do President Clinton, Michael Jordan and actor Denzel Washington have in common?
Answer: All are alumni of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, which for 134 years have been promoting the education and health of America's youth. We believe that SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, as a leader in the field of sports journalism, should also play a role in helping educate young people. So in conjunction with our 40th-anniversary celebration this year, we have embarked on a partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs to further that goal. Last month we ran the first of a series of public-service ads featuring Boys & Girls Clubs alumni as an initial step toward heightening awareness of the organization among our readers. Appearing periodically throughout 1994, the ads will feature familiar faces from among the clubs' four million former members, including Washington, Olympic gold medal marathoner Joan Benoit Samuelson and other well-known athletes.
Today, two million youngsters between the ages of six and 18 participate in the same B&GCA programs that these alumni did when they were kids, including after-school tutoring, career exploration, team sports and drug and alcohol education. "There's no better way for SI to celebrate its 40th birthday than to support an organization that does so much for so many children," says Art Berke, SI's director of communications, who is coordinating the magazine's efforts to assist the clubs. Boys & Girls Clubs president Thomas Garth, who was a Boys Club member (the organization changed its name to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America in 1990) in St. Louis four decades ago, believes that it is time for the clubs to reestablish ties with many of its alumni: "We need to get our message to more people throughout the country, and our alumni can help."
So can SI. This summer we once again will hold SPORTS ILLUSTRATED Sports Festivals at each of the seven Six Flags Theme Parks. During each festival one day will be designated Boys & Girls Clubs day, on which selected club members will gain free admission to the park. SI will also donate books, magazine subscriptions and sports videos to 40 new Boys & Girls Clubs in cities across the U.S. and will make a cash donation to assist in the construction of other clubs.
We hope you will lend your support too. To make a contribution, call 1-800-854-CLUB. Who knows what future athletes and actors—or even presidents—are waiting in the wings.