Study: Florida Boys & Girls Clubs Members Graduate More, Behave Better, Save Florida Millions of Dollars

Tallahassee, FL, April 15, 2008 – Young people who attend Boys & Girls Clubs in Florida show higher high school graduation rates and better behavior, resulting in increased lifetime earnings and hundreds of millions of dollars in savings for the state in costs for health care and incarceration. These results, announced today by Florida Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp, were the findings of a research study conducted by the Florida TaxWatch Research Institute.

Florida TaxWatch Research Institute, Inc. (known as Florida TaxWatch), a non-profit, non-partisan research institute based in Tallahassee, with assistance from MGT of America, Inc., conducted a comprehensive study of the economic impact of Florida Boys & Girls Clubs (FBGC) on local communities throughout the state.

"An investment in our children is an investment into our future,” said Lt. Governor Kottkamp. "The study’s results are proof that Florida’s Boys & Girls Clubs continue to influence our young people and our economy, both for the better.”

Education and Behavioral Impact

The study showed that Boys & Girls Club members achieved:

  • Lower high school dropout rates.
  • Greater overall achievement levels in reading and math, according to the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT).
  • Lower rates of absenteeism.
  • Lower rates of criminal offenses.

Economic Impact

The study found more than improved behavior and academic performance. It showed a strong, positive economic impact when a Boys & Girls Club member graduates from high school:

· If the statewide dropout rate had been as low as the rate for the Florida Boys & Girls Club members in the study, there would have been more than 11,000 additional high school graduates statewide in the 2005-06 academic year.

· Personal Income: High school graduates earn $6,935 more than dropouts, resulting in increased personal annual income earnings of more than $78 million.

· Medicaid: A savings of more than $157 million in lifetime Medicaid costs.

· Juvenile justice referral and detention costs: A savings of more than $214 thousand in total to the state.

"The Florida TaxWatch study shows that organizations like Boys & Girls Clubs of Lakeland & Mulberry can utilize state support to save taxpayers large sums through proven and effective programs,” said Rex Perry Executive Director, Boys & Girls Clubs of Lakeland & Mulberry. "Young people with higher levels of education will become more productive members of society, have a reduced need for government support programs, and pay more in taxes to state government, everything from employment and property taxes to higher retail spending.”

The purpose of the study was to assist the FBGC in assessing the level of success in accomplishing their mission, which is; "To enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.”

The Florida TaxWatch study, The Florida Boys & Girls Clubs: A Comparative Analysis of Student Performance, is available at www.FloridaTaxWatch.orgor by contacting Florida TaxWatch in Tallahassee at 850-222-5052.

About Florida TaxWatch

Florida TaxWatch is a statewide, non-profit, non-partisan research institute that over its 29 year history has become widely recognized as the watchdog of citizens’ hard-earned tax dollars. Its mission is to provide the citizens of Florida and public officials with high quality, independent research and education on government revenues, expenditures, taxation, public policies and programs and to increase the productivity and accountability of Florida state and local government. Its support comes from homeowners and retirees, small and large businesses, philanthropic foundations, and professional associations.

About Boys & Girls Clubs of Lakeland & Mulberry

Known as "The Positive Place for Kids,” Boys & Girls Clubs of Lakeland & Mulberry provides guidance-oriented character development programs on a daily basis for children 6-18 years old, conducted by a full-time professional staff. Key Boys & Girls Club programs emphasize leadership development, education and career exploration, financial literacy, health and life skills, the arts, sports, fitness and recreation, and family outreach. In Lakeland & Mulberry, Boys & Girls Clubs provide services at four locations, serving more than 2000 young people.

Boys & Girls Clubs of America (www.bgca.org) comprises a national network of more than 4,000 neighborhood-based facilities annually serving some 4.8 million young people, in all 50 states and on U.S. military bases worldwide. National headquarters are located in Atlanta.