North Dakota has a childcare crisis. Because of this crisis, state leaders joined Governor Doug Burgum and Lt. Governor Brent Sandford on Sept 13, 2022, to announce a childcare proposal to address the availability, affordability, and quality of childcare services in North Dakota.
According to the North Dakota Department of Health and Human Services, childcare costs account for 15% to 40% of the average household budget in North Dakota, which often is not sustainable for young working families. Lack of available, affordable care also contributes to workforce shortages in the state.
Charitable gaming is helping the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Red River Valley (BGCRRV) provide some relief to these problems.
“Childcare is a workforce issue and it’s getting a lot of attention. It’s a major issue right now,” confirms Robin Nelson, Chief Executive Officer for the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Red River Valley. “For us, charitable gaming proceeds are one of the key revenue sources that allow us to maintain high quality care with our amazing staff, resulting in positive experiences for our youth and families.”
Chartered through the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, BGCRRV is a non-profit organization that serves 1,400 children annually. The Fargo chapter is an award-winning program that has been nationally recognized as one of the most impactful clubs among the 4,500 clubs in the United States. They provide before and after school programming, all-day prep programs in the summer and on holidays for K-5th grade students, as well as a Teen Club for 6-12th grades in the Fargo area.
“Parents have peace of mind knowing that their kids have a safe place to be with constructive things to do after school, and they are more effective employees because of that. We provide healthy snacks, and fun evidence-based curriculum, with learning along the way,” explains Nelson. “We have a Teen Club for grades 6-12 that’s only $10 a year for membership. The teens do a lot of career and workforce readiness initiatives, work on homework, make their own healthy meals, and learn healthy life skills with their peers. These programs are made affordable through supplements from charitable gaming.”
Electronic pull tabs have also been beneficial to the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Red River Valley. Prior to the pandemic, the childcare workforce shortage was common, but it became more competitive both during and after the pandemic. Revenue sources from charitable gaming, along with grants and donations, has allowed BGCRRV to pay staff more and not pass that cost along to families. That has helped to retain staff.
“I am extremely proud of the way our staff cares for and works so well with our kids. We provide a tremendous service to the families and the communities, but mostly, our kids receive such quality care when they are with us,” Nelson said.
BGCRRV is in 10 schools across Fargo, plus own two youth centers. Nelson adds:
“We’re affordable for everyone and that’s a big deal.”
Charitable gaming benefiting the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Red River Valley can be found at Fargo Billiards and Gastro Pub, and in West Fargo at the Work Zone.