Ivan Gilreath to take the helm as BGCS President and CEO

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale (BGCS), a youth development organization serving thousands of kids and teens at nine locations in and around the north Valley, announced that Ivan Gilreath will fill the role of President and Chief Executive Officer beginning Monday, Feb. 1.

“The BGCS Board of Governors is excited to begin this new chapter with Ivan in the top executive spot,” said Janet Caldarelli, Chair of the BGCS Board of Governors. “His more than two decades of corporate executive experience including success in strategic planning, growth, and community engagement will be an asset as we continue to expand our community alliances and strive to serve more kids and teens with an exceptional Club experience.”

Gilreath is relocating to the Valley from Omaha, Nebraska, where he served for 10 years as President and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of The Midlands. Prior to that, he spent five years as President of ING’s Employee Benefits Division and 20 years in Mutual of Omaha’s Group Insurance Division, respectively.

“I am excited to join BGC of Greater Scottsdale and work with the team and Board of Governors to bring quality, safe programming and to grow our membership in the Greater Scottsdale area,” said Gilreath. “I am very familiar with the area from my many trips to visit my children here, but I am looking forward to digging even deeper into what we can do to be even more effective in serving our community.”

Over the past year in response to COVID-19, BGCS adapted its youth development model to provide childcare and a place for kids to do their distance learning—an essential service for parents/guardians who are not able to stay home with their children.

Amidst the service adaptations and new comprehensive safety measures put in place, Caldarelli explained that the nonprofit also opened a community impact site in the north Phoenix community of Anthem and completed construction on its first dedicated makerspace focusing on science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) in the Virginia G. Piper Branch located in the Scottsdale Ranch neighborhood.

“Our board was unanimous in the selection of Ivan to be the next Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale President and CEO as we focus on impactful youth development programming and strengthening our community engagement,” said Caldarelli.

In Nebraska, Gilreath served on the University of Nebraska – Omaha College of Business National Advisory Board, the Jesuit Academy Board of Directors, the University of Nebraska Board of Trustees, the College of Saint Mary Board of Directors, and the University of Nebraska Foundation Governance Committee.

He received a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and an MBA from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

For the Kids – Donor Spotlight: Q & A with David Cohen

How did you first become involved with Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale?

I was asked to serve on the building committee for the Thunderbirds Branch in Grayhawk in the late 1990s to assist with the construction of that clubhouse. Soon thereafter, I was asked to join the board and served as chair of the facilities committee during the construction of the Mary Ellen & Robert McKee and Vestar Branches.


What motivates you to support BGCS?
Seeing the kids in the Clubs learning, creating, and having fun along with the annual Youth of the Year events which highlight the impact the Clubs have on local youth. I am also amazed that so many of the staff were once Club kids and decided to make it a career choice. It’s a real testament to the impact of our Clubs and the great job they do in creating future community leaders.


How have you seen philanthropy shape the organization?
Philanthropy has definitely shaped the organization over the 20+ years that I have served on the board. It has allowed the Club to serve so many more youth in our community and in the Native American communities. When I originally came on the board, none of our Clubs had dedicated teen facilities and very few teens came to Clubs. Today almost all of the clubs have dedicated teen centers with dedicated programs. It’s been awesome to see the changes and growth of the organization.


What are you most excited about as you look to the future of the organization?
I’m excited to meet the new CEO and get to know all the new senior leadership team. I’m also looking forward to seeing the clubs once again serving more kids and the sports programs opening up again as we beat COVID. I am also looking forward to in-person board meetings.

Where Are They Now – Alumni Spotlight: Q & A with Lizzie Erickson

Lizzie Erickson, a former Vestar Branch Youth of the Year, recently graduated college and has reached out to help build an Alumni Club for Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale.

Tell us what you have been up to since graduating high school.
I finished senior year a few weeks ahead of high school graduation and left for Vietnam with my best friend (another BGCS Club alumna). A proud fourth-generation Wildcat, I enrolled at the University of Arizona the following Fall. There, I pledged Kappa Alpha Theta and was elected Chief Executive Officer in 2020. I was disconnected from the Boys & Girls Club for the first time … that is until I earned an internship at Boys & Girls Clubs of America in Washington, DC (2018). I served with government relations and advocacy staff, primarily educating legislative aides on Capitol Hill and preparing for the National Youth of the Year celebration. This December, I graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in Public Management & Policy from the University of Arizona. Now, I am on the job hunt.

What impact did the Club have in helping you prepare for where you are now?
Without writing a novel about all the Club has given me, I’d sum it up by saying the Club has informed my professional trajectory and work ethic. The nonprofit and youth development world fits my interests and values like a glove. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. As for my work ethic, the Club definitely gave me a “first to come, last to leave” mentality that quickly became second nature. Nothing is “not my job,” and that mindset has served me so well in a variety of settings.

What inspired you to volunteer to help develop an alumni program?
As the initial chaos of March lulled into smaller, isolated fires, I cc’d Liz Byrne and Christian Sanft, both BGCS Branch Directors, on an email with the subject line, “BGCS Alumni Club: Does she exist; or may I start one?”. I tend to be the “gatherer” of the group—planning trips, dinners, (Zoom) happy hours—you name it, I’ve organized it. As President of my Fraternity, in the dead of lockdown, I wrote and mailed 243 letters to each member of my chapter. My brand of leadership is centered on care, undoubtedly because it was modeled by the Club when I was young. Helping people feel connected in the crowd is the noblest endeavor someone can take on. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale Alumni Club will strengthen the fabric of our family. If there was a single lesson to be learned in 2020, it’s that people crave connection, and I want to pass that gift on to my fellow alumni! 

This Is My Club, Vestar Branch Tour

Though traditional in-person guest tours of our Clubs have been halted as part of comprehensive COVID-19 safety measures, we are offering you a special virtual tour given by Vestar Branch youth members that will be sure to make you smile.

Click the link below for a less than two minute video tour with Avery, Alison, Bennett and Chloe as they tell you why they love their Club and show you their favorite rooms.

The Vestar Branch is located in the North Phoenix Desert Ridge community.

BGCS to Participate in Connect2STEM with Livestream Programming

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale is teaming up with the University of Arizona, Cox, and Arizona SciTech Festival to create engaging programming for Connect2STEM TV for children across Arizona.

Dr. Donna Jagielski (Dr. J), BGCS Director of STEAM Programming, along with members from our Virginia G. Piper Branch will be livestreaming the STEM project, “Makerspace Magic & Drones to the Rescue” on Saturday, February 13 at 11 a.m.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale Foundation – Your Act of Generosity, Our Future

Rick Baker

As the Chairman of the Foundation, I am honored to work alongside a deeply dedicated group of individuals devoted to improving the lives of thousands of youth in our community.  The BGCS Foundation Board of Trustees is entrusted with preserving the future of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale by managing and growing the endowment, made possible by the generosity of the Barker Family and past, present, and future donors.

Our goal is to grow the endowment to eventually provide 20 percent support to BGCS annually. We invite you to join us in supporting local youth on their journey to reach academic and personal success, today and TOMORROW.

Rick Baker, Chairman
Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale Foundation

Did you know?

You can support youth in our community with a bequest. A bequest is a gift made to your favorite charitable organization through your will or trust.  Learn More

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Making a planned gift through your estate can be a most meaningful experience. It is a loving accomplishment and testament to your life’s philanthropic priorities. Please visit our website to learn how you can help ensure that BGCS will be here for many generations of local youth to come.