Thriving Boys & Girls Clubs Grateful to Its Longtime Leader

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When Ralph Capps joined the Raleigh Boys Club as executive director in 1973, it operated in a former church building near downtown Raleigh and had 200 boys as members.

Today, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Wake County serves nearly 5,000 young people ages 6 through 18 at seven clubs throughout the county and at a summer day camp in Nash County.

The organization kicked off the public phase of its recent major campaign in 2010, co-chaired by Prentiss Baker III, chairman of Baker Roofing; Michael Dickinson, vice president for wealth management at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney; and community volunteer Noel Lichtin. With funds from the campaign, the Boys & Girls Clubs aim to serve an additional 2,000 young people over the next decade.

Campaign funds are being used to build a new facility at the Zebulon Boys & Girls Clubs to serve 1,000 kids, replacing a trailer that has been serving 400 kids; build a new teen center on Raleigh Boulevard to serve 500 kids and house the organization’s administrative offices; and improve the current camp facility in Nash County. Funds also will be use to renovate buildings, buy new vehicles, provide startup funds to support programs in low-income areas the Clubs do not currently serve, and increase the Clubs’ endowment to $5.5 million from $2.5 million.

While the organization traditionally has counted on staff and long-time volunteers to raise money, the success of the campaign will depend on enlisting a younger generation of volunteers, Capps says.

“If we’re going to continue to have an impact on the community,” he says, “we need to bring in younger leaders to be part of the organization.”

CapDev had encouraged the tactic of bringing in the next generation of leaders in its work consulting on this successful campaign. The fruits of this effort now show in the strength of the organization’s board.

Capps says it best himself: “I’ve been in this business a long time and have been skeptical of fundraising counsel in the past, but CapDev’s Counsel has made me think differently. Their expertise, strategy and guidance have made all the difference in this campaign.”

Read more about Ralph Capps’ leadership in the following biography as he was inducted into the 2012 Raleigh Hall of Fame:

Through visionary leadership as Executive Director of Boys & Girls Clubs of Wake County, Ralph Capps has served Wake County’s youth with selflessness, compassion and dedication for nearly forty years.

After beginning his career in Chattanooga, Ralph moved to Raleigh in 1973 to become Executive Director of the Raleigh Boys Club. The Raleigh Boys Club had approximately 200 members and one building on Lane Street. Today, seven full-service clubs serve nearly 5,000 young people each year through the organization now known as the Boys & Girls Clubs of Wake County. 

For almost four decades of dedicated service, Capps has counseled, disciplined, fed, educated, medically treated and trained children of every age, race and creed. Educational programs have helped thousands attain their high school diplomas, with a graduation rate of almost 100% for students who have been club members for four or more years. Even after graduation, Capps stays in touch and encourages club members in their continued growth and development.

A role model for club staff, Capps sets a high standard for hard work while creating a supportive environment that promotes professional development. Many have moved on to leadership positions in other clubs. He provides exemplary leadership for the Boys & Girls Clubs’ Board of Directors, who routinely praise his vision, commitment and dedication.

Though laser-focused on the youth of Raleigh, Capps’ reach extends far beyond the Capital City. Throughout the state, clubs are led by professionals mentored by Capps, affectionately known as the “godfather” of Boys & Girls Clubs in North Carolina.  He is a sought-after presenter at regional and national conferences, and a valued advisor to club directors nationwide.

In addition to countless hours of service to Raleigh’s youth, Capps is a respected member of the Wake County United Way Agency Executive Council. He dedicates time each year to inspire others with examples of the powerful difference the United Way makes in the community. Capps is an active member of Temple Baptist Church, where he serves as a deacon and has led youth and adult Bible studies.  He is a member of the Raleigh Civitan Club, and a dedicated supporter of the Tammy Lynne Center, the North Carolina Boys and Girls Home and Ride Without Limits.

Capps has been honored as Tar Heel of the Week by the Raleigh News & Observer. He was the first recipient of the Outstanding Nonprofit Executive Award presented by the Lichtin Family Foundation, and was one of fourteen inaugural recipients of the Triangle Business Journal’s Legacy Leaders Award.

The mission of the Boys & Girls Clubs is to enable all young people, especially those who are in greatest need, to reach their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens. Since 1973, Ralph Capps has served this mission with a steady, consistent, and relentless drive to improve the lives of young people. Ralph Capps changes Raleigh for the better – one young person at a time – day in, day out, year in, year out.  His impact will resonate for generations to come.

Watch Ralph Capps’ video tribute here.

Many Thanks, Ralph, for all you do!

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