Loss of federal grant funding and smaller donations have led to staffing changes at the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Lowcountry.
Debbie Szpanka, director of donor relations, public relations and marketing, and Jan Gourley, vice president of resource development and marketing, have had their positions scaled back from full-time to project-by-project. The two will continue to work for the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Lowcountry, but as independent contractors.
The shift is expected to save the organization about $150,000 in salary, benefits and other expenses, said executive director Doug Berry.
"The economy is affecting our fundraising, like every other organization," Berry said, adding that federal grants to the clubs have declined by nearly one-third.
More people have donated to the organization, but the level of contributions has declined significantly, he said.
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Hilton Head Island Town Councilwoman Kim Likins has been named unit director of the Hilton Head Island Boys & Girls Club.
She replaces interim director Laura Vogel, who will stay on as an assistant director, overseeing day-to-day operations.
Vogel was named interim director in July, replacing Joyce Wright, who left after six years with the club.
"(Likins) brings an in-depth knowledge of the community, extensive leadership skills and has worked in the nonprofit sector since 2005, working with children," said Doug Berry, executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Lowcountry. "We believe having both on board will make us a premiere nonprofit on Hilton Head Island. Kim will be a real asset to our organization and the children in our community."
The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Lowcountry consists of five clubs in Beaufort and Jasper counties, including the one on Hilton Head.
Likins worked for 20 years for McKesson Corp., a health care software-development company, before forming a publishing company in 2003 and writing a series of children's books about Hilton Head.
Also in 2003, Likins helped raise money to create The Sandbox: An Interactive Children's Museum, which opened in 2005. Likins was the museum's first executive director before becoming executive director of the Main Street Youth Theatre.
She resigned from the theater in July after the nonprofit organization decided to hire a full-time director with a theater production background.
Likins, a 17-year resident of Hilton Head, said she hopes to use her experiences to help boost the club's development, marketing and fundraising.
"It's more important now than ever to have support systems for children to stay in school, graduate and go on to college and achieve their full potential," she said. "That's where the Boys & Girls Club plays a crucial role. It provides a safe and secure place where business leaders, civic groups and individuals can use their talents to expose them to new, enriching experiences -- and it does it better than any other group in the country."
Club programs focus on fostering academic success, athletic performance, artistic expression, civic involvement and character development.
The Hilton Head club won national recognition in June from the Boys & Girls Clubs of America for its use of technology in extra-curricular activities, using computer software to help students learn complex math and science concepts by building robots, solving fictional crimes and composing music.
The club serves more than 6,000 kids annually, including local and out-of-town children who attend events such as concerts and sports, according to its website.
Follow reporter Tom Barton at twitter.com/EyeOnHiltonHead.