This second issue of The Club Insider marks my ninth month on the job here as President & CEO and I am pleased to report a few of our most exciting highlights from the past few months.


  • We have completed a 3-year organizational strategic plan that will serve as our north star so that program staff, administrative staff, and board members are all rowing the boat in the same direction as we strengthen our team, programs, brand, development work, and partnerships.
  • We were among 71 Arizona non-profits selected to receive a grant through the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust’s Now is the Moment Grants Commemoration. This generous funding will make a substantial impact as we begin activating our new strategic plan.
  • With all of our Clubs open and providing After-School Programming, we are seeing our Average Daily Attendance numbers rebounding from 2020.
  • We have completed the build-out of STEAM Makerspace Studios in four of our Clubs (Virginia G. Piper Branch, Mary Ellen & Robert McKee Branch, Thunderbirds Branch, and Peach Springs Branch).
  • We have held our second quarterly All Teams meeting bringing all full-time staff together for training and seasonal awards and recognition. Take a look at our fall All Teams meeting recap here.
  • As a member of Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Membership Task Force, I recently traveled to Atlanta to work on the finalization of the new Phase 2 requirements for BGCA member groups. The requirements, focused on enhancing the safety of our Club members and staff, are being rolled out in three phases. Phase 1 requirements became active this past January. Phase 2 will activate in January 2022 and hase 3 will be completed in January of 2023.

We are building on this momentum as we approach the busy event season beginning with Live & Local, our annual fall food, beverage, and music festival on Sunday, October 24 at Desert Ridge Marketplace. More details can be found below. And 15 of our teen members are preparing for the first round of the Youth of the Year competition that will take place in November.


Please enjoy our September/October issue of The Club Insider!


Can you share a little bit about ECC and your mission?

Executive Council Charities is a 501(c)(3) Arizona nonprofit corporation dedicated to helping youth in our community. Our goal is to provide grants to programs and nonprofit organizations focused on helping youth in Arizona overcome adversity and reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.

Founded in 1972, our 70 Active and over 350 Life Members have been assisting youth-based organizations for more than four decades and have raised more than $10 million in the past five years alone.

How did the group first become connected with BGCS?

The Boys and Girls Club has always been an organization that we’ve wanted to donate to and support. We were originally founded as part of the Boys and Girls Club movement before the group branched off and formed Executive Council Charities. Helping the club has always been a passion of ours and a natural launch point to focus on our current mission which is raising money for youth-based charities across Arizona.

What motivates ECC to continue to support BGCS?

We’ve always been connected to the club; it’s where ECC got its start. Many of our members also grew up in Boys and Girls Clubs, doing programs and events as kids. It’s a passion for us to give back and help grow the organization. Especially with the clubs being in and serving the communities where our members live and work.

How have you seen ECC’s philanthropy shape the organization?

We’ve been fortunate to work with the club and build many great relationships over the years. This has helped us to give back in a number of different ways. We’re currently in year five of a ten-year commitment to provide a total of $1.25 million to support the Executive Council Charities Teen Center at the Hartley & Ruth Barker Branch. During that time, we’ve been proud to see the Teen Center become one of the best in the country, led by the incredible Mr. Beethoven Felix.

ECC gives back through our volunteer work too. Our members are very passionate about not just fundraising for the club but also volunteering and working directly with the BGCS team. We do a Speaker Series throughout the year, where our members come in and discuss a career topic with the Teen Center members. We’ve had talks about construction, real estate, starting your own business, and a lot more. It’s important for us to share our knowledge and talk to the members about how having a vision and a career path can really motivate them to excel and do something outside the box.

As you look back, what has been ECC’s most proud accomplishment in their work with BGCS?

For us, it’s been the collaborative relationship and friendship that we’ve built with the executive team, the staff in the Barker Teen Center, and the organization as a whole. We’ve seen BGCS and the Teen Center grow, and that’s made us even more passionate to do the work we do to support the Club’s programs and endeavors. We feel like a part of the BGCS movement; we know we always have a warm welcome to come in, and we have. It’s a family environment and we’re proud of that connection.


Tell us what you have been up to since graduating high school.

After graduating high school in 2014 I served a two-year proselyting mission for my church in Oklahoma. Soon after returning in the summer of 2016, I enrolled at Arizona State University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering. After my freshman year of college, my brother and I decided to start a construction company here in the Valley. We first started as a home remodeling business, however, we now specialize in custom home building as General Contractors. We work alongside architects and civil engineers for all things pertaining to homebuilding. In the coming year, we are on pace to get started in heavy civil work which includes transportation and road construction. A year before I graduated I was hired on as a civil engineer intern for a small firm and went on full time soon after I graduated in 2020. Last year I decided to take my skills and talents to one of the biggest locally owned Engineering firms in Arizona, EPS Group Inc. My current position is as a civil engineer in the Public Works department.  We cultivate innovative solutions in roadway design and project management for major transportation projects in public and private markets. During this past summer, I was admitted and accepted into the Masters of Architecture program at Arizona State University and the Masters of Civil Engineering program at Northern Arizona University. On top of all of that my wife and I welcomed our first child in March to our family. He has been nothing but a blessing and joy in our lives.

What impact did the Club have in helping you prepare for where you are now?

Career-wise the club was the major reason I was introduced to engineering. Through their programs, I was able to understand and experience firsthand how amazing the world of engineering can be for everyone. I was able to learn from real-life engineers and the purpose behind their work. Furthermore, character and leadership programs such as Keystone helped develop the person I am today. Their programs helped keep me engaged on a path to where I am today. The primary thing the club taught me is that nothing is given and everything is earned.

What would you say to someone who says Scottsdale kids don’t need Boys & Girls Clubs?

Personally, the Club was a second home for me. Everyone inside the Club is like a family. The Club has helped people I know be better prepared to enter both adulthood and the workforce. In the Club, everyone is held accountable and without the Club, many of today’s youth would not have the same foundation of success that they have now. Out of the numerous club member alumni that I know, some of them are teachers, parents, business owners, audio technicians, people who make up the very fabric of our communities. Without the Club, many of these people would not be where they are now.


Did you grow up at a Club?
Are you looking for ways to re-engage?
Can your story inspire others?

Sign up for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale Alumni Club to re-open the Club door in a brand new way.

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!