Boys & Girls Club Blog

Mental Wellness is a New Endowment that Needs Your Support

Back in 1972, when Al Ackerman was a teenager preparing to graduate from high school and head off to college, he returned home one afternoon from football practice to find his mother taking a nap. After being home a while, he decided to attempt to wake her up, but to no avail. He then discovered an empty bottle of pills on her nightstand. Al didn’t know at the time what would happen to his mother. This is something he believes no child should have to experience.

Al, and his wife Sue (a board member at the Club), know firsthand what it’s like to go through the highs and lows every single day of someone struggling with mental health. When Al’s mother recently passed away this Spring after enduring the reality of living with a debilitating mental illness for over 50 years, Al and Sue discussed their options. They determined to start a Mental Wellness endowment fund through the Boys & Girls Club of Oshkosh to assist with mental health needs in our community which in recent years has seemed to only increase.

“Many of you have heard me explain that the reason I am involved at the Club is that growing up there was no Club in our community,” Sue explained. “My family would have benefited tremendously from having a safe place to go. And Al’s family would’ve benefited from having mental health services more readily available. My belief is that we can change the dynamics of families in one generation and that has been my life’s work in my own family.”

The Ackermans have placed $50,000 into the fund and are now asking the community to step up and raise another $50,000 for the new endowment. If mental health is a passion of yours and you would like to contribute to this fund, you may reach out to the Club’s CEO Marc Dosogne (, ext. 115) or the Club’s Director of Advancement Tracy Ogden (, ext. 116) on how you can make a gift to this endowment.

In total, the Boys & Girls Club of Oshkosh has six different established endowment funds in which donors can invest funds.

  • BGCO Mental Wellness Fund: Provides the support and resources necessary to foster mental wellness and resiliency for Club members and their families.
  • BGCO Unmet Needs Fund: Provides assistance to Club members and their families most in need with basic social, health and welfare issues.
  • BGCO Charles F. Hyde Youth of the Year Scholarship Fund: Provides support for Club members needing assistance with post high school education.
  • BGCO Operating Fund: Supports operations and capital expenditures for the Boys & Girls Club.
  • BGCO Alumni Fund: Supports programming and youth development activities at the Boys & Girls Club.
  • BGCO Outdoor Education Fund: Provides for maintenance or special improvement projects on buildings or equipment at Camp Radford and/or for scholarships for Club members to attend Camp Radford and other outdoor education opportunities.

Endowment funds are permanent charitable funds from which the Club can draw income every year while still maintaining the principal balance in the fund. This provides operational flexibility and stability, allowing the Club to focus on emerging needs.

You can help ensure the longevity of our organization and sustain our important work with our community’s youth by investing any amount to one of the Club’s established endowments or by starting a new endowment with a gift to the Club. Gifts of $100,000 or more allow you to establish a new endowment and give you exclusive naming rights for the endowment. Some Club donors have decided to include one of more of the Club’s endowment funds in their estate plans.

“Endowments are lasting and can be created by you to provide for whatever you are passionate about at the Club, the possibilities are infinite.” explained CEO Marc Dosogne. “Sometimes people don’t realize how many facets there are to being a youth serving organization. They think sports, meals and programs, but Boys & Girls Club is so much more than just those things. It’s college and career readiness, mentoring, meeting basic needs, health and wellness and more. Whatever it takes to start each youth who walks through our doors on a path to a great future. Endowment funds ultimately help ensure that the Club will continue to be here serving the needs of tomorrow’s youth long after we are gone, so they are a great investment.”