New Boys & Girls Club of Northeast Ohio Merges Four County Chapters

The new Boys & Girls Club of Northeast Ohio is expected to serve more children than the four clubs did individually, according to Interim President and CEO Ron Soeder.
The new Boys & Girls Club of Northeast Ohio is expected to serve more children than the four clubs did individually, according to Interim President and CEO Ron Soeder. [Ken Wood / Boys and Girls Clubs of Cleveland]
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The Boys & Girls Club of Cleveland this week merged with the Akron, Lorain and Erie chapters to form one Northeast Ohio entity.

The new organization will serve some 8,500 children across 36 sites and provide more resourcesa tmore sites, serving at-risk youth through local programs, such as food assistance and academic services.

The motivation for the merger was part of a 2025 vision with four main goals, says interim CEO Ron Soeder.

"We need to strengthen our organizations," said Soeder. "Number two, we need to provide consistent program quality across all the organizations. Number three, we need to think about growth and serving more children, and number four, we want to be the number one advocate for children in America."

Julie Johnson, CEO of Boys & Girls Club of Akron, says she hopes one of the merger’s priorities will be addressing gun violence in Akron.

"The Boys & Girls Club offers a safe place for students to go after school and during the summer hours, giving them the opportunities to not be exposed to violence or not be in the wrong place in the wrong time," Johnson said. The Clubs offer children constructive outlets for their energy and creativity and works with older kids to help focus on college and career development, she said.

Soeder says the merger will also aid in streamlining fundraising across chapters, but donors can still give directly to their local Club. 

More specific plans will be discussed once a permanent CEO is selected.

The Cleveland chapter opened in the Slavic Village neighborhood in 1954 for boys only. It began accepting girls in 1976.

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