Posted by Matt Register

Mark Martin, friend of the show and the Development Manager for the Boys and Girls clubs of Greater Houston, talks about the recovery from Hurricane Harvey and their expanded operations to help evacuees.

Please excuse any typos in this hasty transcript.

Matt Register: Hey, welcome back to the show, Texas Business Radio. is the Web site. I’m you host Matt Register, here as always with Jay Curry in the co-host chair. We’re going to continue to bring you some, some needs that have arisen out of hurricane Harvey. I know we’ve got other things going on in the world but hurricane Harvey is going to take a long time to recover from. We have a charity in here that has an event coming up. And again, we were talking there, during the break. There is unlimited pit of need, especially here in Houston, for charities. But these guys are one of our favorite charities, do some really, really good work and need a hand. Jay what do you think?

Jay Curry: Absolutely. And you know, this is the Boys and Girls Club. And we’re big on supporting our youth. And they do a lot of good work, so we need to be supporting these folks.

Matt Register: Yeah, no doubt. Mark Martin is the Development Manager for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Houston. Mark, welcome back to the show.

Mark Martin: Thanks for having me. Good to be back.

Matt Register: So tell me a little bit about the impact of hurricane Harvey on the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Houston because this is a, this is a sizable organization.

Mark Martin: Yes.

Matt Register: And tell me, tell me how that affected you guys.

Mark Martin: So we have 14 clubs in the city. Three are shared space in different schools. Obviously those spaces aren’t open now because schools aren’t open.

Matt Register: Sure.

Mark Martin: So we’re not able to service there. Are other clubs, we all, we were able to open up most of the clubs. We have one or two that have a little bit of extensive damage. That we’re not quite sure when we’re going to be able to open those. But what we were able to do is open up some clubs starting last Thursday, right after Harvey and allowing kids to come in. We did kind of an extended hour situation, where we’re offering programs and services from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30pm. So that kids have a place to go and then also parents can go out, take care of business if they’ve got insurance issues, FEMA, you know we’re there.

Matt Register: Which all of them do. Right? I mean that’s…

Mark Martin: You know the amount of people that don’t is very small, I agree. Yeah.

Matt Register: So to back up just a little bit. You guys provide, really after school care for, for at risk kids. And provide them a place to go, provide them meaningful things to do and give them academic support. And, and what else?

Mark Martin: Physical fitness. You know, leadership. We do programs like the Youth of the Month, Youth of the Year. They compete for that. You know, we do cheer, dance. We STEM, we partner with NASA to do programs. So we just basically offering a lot of activities that you’re not able to get in school anymore.

Matt Register: Yeah, I got it. So some of the damage you guys sustained, you lost, you had extensive damage to one, one facility, minor damage to another. You lost a handful of vehicles. But now all of a sudden we had 10,000 people at the convention center. Right?

Mark Martin: Yeah.

Matt Register: And a good majority of those are our kids. So what do, you know, when did you guys make the decision and how did you guys make the call that you needed to be there?

Mark Martin: Well, it was no doubt, you know, these are kids that needed the service. This is what we do. You know, we, were not shelters, were not a lot of the other things that other entities offer. What our job is to make sure that our kids are taken care of. You know we have these kids here, who are in shelters and so we decided quickly we need to have a presence in NRG specifically. And we wanted to make sure that those kids had a distraction. And that the parents were able to also, you know, meet with reps there, take care of their business there. Some of our parents are back at work and still living in shelters. But these kids need somewhere to go or they need something to do. So we have brought in resources and at some of our clubs that aren’t open, those staff, so that we can keep them going as well, they’re working there.

Jay Curry: Now, these are very important because these are parents who need time to figure out how they’re going to recover from this. And you guys are really helping by giving the kids something to do. Not just entertaining but, but beneficial to them. And allow the adults to get out and get with FEMA and get with other charities and, you know, figure out what their situation is.

Mark Martin: And you can imagine the stress of a parent trying to figure out what, it’s enough for you as a parent by yourself. But then with your child involved, sometimes you need to step back and take a breath. And we were there for that support as well.

Jay Curry: Yeah. For yourself.

Mark Martin: Exactly.

Jay Curry: Yeah.

Mark Martin: It can be stressful. I’ve seen the stories. I’ve had, you know, to stop watching the news eventually because it just got so stressful for me, even watching some of the things that I couldn’t do for others.

Jay Curry: Yeah.

Matt Register: Well, you know as a father of two young boys, I love my boys to death. But after several days in the same house with them. Right. It was time. One of us had to go find something to do. Right?

Mark Martin: And you probably need to find the grocery store after that time too. They’re eating the food. Right?

Matt Register: That’s exactly right. So I can imagine being cooped up in a convention center at a…

Mark Martin: With a bunch of strangers.

Matt Register: That’s right.

Mark Martin: All good people. You’ve seen a lot of great things going over, the Houston Texans went over. You’ve seen great things but at the end of the day, it’s not your bed, it’s not your home, it’s not your car, it’s not your clothes, it’s not your food.

Matt Register: That’s it. And everything has disrupted school. The school isn’t even open for the most part. Right?

Mark Martin: Yeah.

Matt Register: Talk to me a little bit about some of the financial impact. I know you guys have an event coming up.

Mark Martin: Right.

Matt Register: Right? That’s your major fund raiser for the year, that just happens to coincide with the greatest need in the history of Houston for charitable giving. Right?

Mark Martin: Yeah.

Matt Register: Talk to me a little bit about the event and talk to me a little bit about what you guys are potentially facing budget shortfalls wise.

Mark Martin: Sure. So our Great Futures Dinner is coming up. This is actually our 65th year we’re celebrating. We’ve been doing a lot of service in the community since the 50’s, basically. And this year the subject is all about rebuilding to ensure great futures for our children. The event is on sat, I’m sorry, on Thursday, September 21st, 2017 at the Marriott Marquis. And again this is our annual fundraiser. You know people can, we still have tables available. We’re urging a support through purchasing tables. You can go to our Web site and donate there. And they just, you know, the needs are limitless for the youth that we serve.

Matt Register: Well, no doubt. And the Web site is BGCGH, Boys & Girls Clubs Greater Houston .org.

Mark Martin: That’s correct.

Matt Register: We are going to have that, that is a mouthful. We are going to have that linked right from Guys if you can, if you can spare it and I know there, we, we’re pushing you guys to give, give, give because there’s an unlimited need right now. But this is truly one of the deserving folks out of, out of Houston and they need a hand.

Jay Curry: Right. And it’s not just people in Houston. All over the state we need to be supporting, you know, these types of organizations. Now more than ever before and this is a great chance to do it. We’re going to put a banner up, right on our Web site.

Matt Register: Yeah, we’ll put a banner up on the Web site right there on the front page. Go buy a table even, even if you can’t or just make a donation even if you can’t make it to the dinner. Because these guys truly do need a hand. I find it remarkable that, that, you know, we have talked over the last, you know, couple of weeks about, you know, business continuity and disaster recovery. Right? How did, how do you take your business and operate, when none of your employees can get to your location. Right?

Mark Martin: Right.

Matt Register: You guys very clearly had a very solid plan for that. Because not only did you guys continue to operate, you all of a sudden called an audible and expanded operations. And did it all at a time when most people, you know, were lacking basic communication and the ability to operate. Right?

Mark Martin: Agreed. Yes. You know one of the biggest things for us is that I think it goes back to the leadership. We have great leadership, we have a great board, they’re very strategic. And what we do, they’re very precise and when they make a decision, we go with it. I was, I was on our, at our admin office the other day and there were about 15 people there that were all new employees that we’ve hired since Harvey to be able to go into other locations and to be able to make sure that we’re servicing the kids and our current facilities. Because you have to think about it. We’re not only offering to our current members, we’re offering to any kid that needs assistance. Our normal fees for membership are five dollars annually for the school year. We’re waiving that. So, yes we’re losing money. And we’re also losing money because the operations of extended hours. Funds are needed. You know we need, we can take a lot of equipment, a lot of supplies but funds are what keep us up.

Jay Curry: Nothing beats a dollar. I mean a dollar gives you some flexibility to best fit your needs.

Mark Martin: Most definitely.

Jay Curry: Yeah.

Mark Martin: Well, unfortunately, you have a multi variable problem here. Right? You have, you have increased expenses, you have damaged you got to recover from, you have an increased cost in operations going up. Right? And you have a very tight supply on the donated dollar. Right? It’s simultaneously.

Mark Martin: Well, you have to think about it like this, it goes beyond that. We offer services, after school programs, on a normal scenario. We use vans, we use vehicles, we use buses to pick up from these schools and our feeder schools. Right now we’re short on vehicles. So even when we recover fully from the current situation, we still have another obstacle to, to face.

Matt Register: Well, we wish you the best luck. We’re going to do our best to help you. If you guys can spare it, this is a deserving group. Please go to and click on the banner. Or go to BGCGH, Boys Girls Clubs Greater Houston .org will get you there. I know that’s a mouthful.

Mark Martin: You can get it though.

Matt Register: Yeah, I got it. Mark Martin, Development Manager for Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Houston. Mark thank you very much for joining us.

Mark Martin: Thank you. It’s always good to see you guys. I appreciate it.

Jay Curry: Thanks for the good work.

Matt Register: Wonderful. Unfortunately, we do have to go. We’ve got to go pay a couple bills ourselves. We’re going to be back right after this with a whole lot more Texan Business Radio. Don’t go anywhere.

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About the Author
Matt Register

Matt Register

In addition to hosting "Texas Business Radio," Matt is an investment banker and serial entrepreneur from Montgomery, Texas. He is the owner of RREA Media and Register Real Estate Advisors and a Managing Director and Principal at Corporate Finance Associates. He has a BS from the United States Military Academy at West Point and an MBA from Rice University in Houston. You can read more about Matt HERE.

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