[soft country music]


Something that I remember was taking my first sports photo in that park where this building now stands. And I think about those days, still, when I'm sitting in this building and it makes me smile. Shortly after graduating from college, I had the opportunity to work part-time at a Boys & Girls Club, and that gradually turned into me being a Program Director. And I stayed with the organization, climbing the ladder, and then the opportunity came for me to be the Executive Director, and I jumped at it. I thought this was an opportunity to make a huge difference, right in the same community and neighborhood that I grew up in. 

One of the other things that I realized when I got here was that we had facilities that were in woefully bad shape. The kids and the families needed state-of-the-art clubhouses. So we had a decision to make as an organization. At a board meeting, we had the conversation: we need to consider putting up a brand new facility. I'm so happy to say that the board made the decision: let's go for it.

In order for us to pull this project off, we needed to raise $10 million or so. We had raised an enormous amount with individuals and corporations and foundations. However, even with all of the support, it was a very big moment when JPMorgan Chase decided that it would select this project to be the equity investor in our new market tax credit program. That, combined with our relationship with New York State, got us across the finish line and created this youth development super center here in the heart of Schenectady.

So we created this beautiful facility. We had a grand opening in January of 2020. Everyone's excited, we had hundreds of people here and we were open for a solid two months. And then COVID struck and we had to shut everything down. 

[heavy sigh]

It was heartbreaking to think about what our families and many other families in Schenectady were going through during those moments. And we knew that we had to play a vital role in some way during this pandemic. So as a result, a coalition was formed. And I'm proud to say that it was headquartered here in this new facility. We had dozens of volunteers, 20 other organizations and businesses all coming to our facility every day, putting together care packages, life bags full of food, toiletries, PPE, dog food, baby food, diapers, and delivering over 16,000 packages to the porches of people in our city in need. And we had an emergency call center taking calls, transferring the data to our data center. We're putting together routes, so we knew where we had to deliver all of these care packages. In addition, we prepared over 40,000 hot meals that we served out in front of our facility in grab-and-go style. I don't think that this facility could have played a more important role than it did. And I think it really is a miracle it was finished in time for this pandemic. 

We could not be more proud of how our organization has responded to this health crisis. With that said, we can't rest on that. We have to think about the future. And we're coming out of this pandemic. Right now at COVID levels, we're able to serve about a hundred every day. And we have been doing that since the summer of 2020. The day is coming where this building opens up again and it becomes truly what it was designed to be, which is a massive opportunity for hundreds of young people in our community to come in and use the facility. But I want to be clear on this: a brand new facility is incredible and it's wonderful, but what I really wanted this building to symbolize to the kids was to know how much people loved them in this community. That's what this symbolizes.

[music crescendos]

COVID-19 forced many organizations—including the Boys & Girls Clubs of Schenectady—to switch gears. Executive Director Shane Bargy played a critical role in that pivot. But his work started long before the pandemic.

  • Coming home: Bargy can recall taking his first sports photos in Schenectady, N.Y.’s Mt. Pleasant Fields in the 1980s. Today, he still spends time in the park, but he’s no longer playing baseball. Instead, Bargy is working as the Boys & Girls Clubs of Schenectady’s executive director, where he helps young people reach their full potential. When Bargy received the job offer, he couldn’t pass it up. “This was an opportunity to make a huge difference right in the same neighborhood and community I grew up in,” he said. 
  • Building a youth development supercenter: When Bargy started his job, the organization’s facility was in bad shape. But he worked hard to change that, first by securing enough votes on the board to approve a new facility, then by raising the funds necessary to build the structure. The facility opened in January 2020, thanks to help from New York State, private donations and JPMorgan Chase’s New Markets Tax Credit equity investment of $2.4 million.
  • Delivering for Schenectady: Unfortunately, COVID-19 hit the area just a few months later, shutting down regular operations. “We knew that we had to play a vital role in some way in this pandemic,” Bargy said. Soon, dozens of volunteers and 20 other organizations occupied the space, where they operated an emergency call center and assembled care packages. The facility helped organizations deliver 16,000 care packages and serve more than 40,000 hot meals. “It really is a miracle [the facility] was finished in time for this pandemic,” Bargy said. Courtney Nolan, Commercial Banker, Community Development Banking New Markets Tax Credit Group, was impressed with how quickly Boys & Girls Clubs of Schenectady adapted. “If you would have told me at the grand opening event in January that the building would be used for this, I never would have believed you,” she said. “It’s so great to learn that all of these community organizations are coming together to keep Schenectady moving forward.”

Connect with a banker

By checking the boxes below I consent to JPMorgan Chase using the personal data I have provided to send me:

Opting in for industry insights and invitations is not required to request that we contact you. Learn more about our data practices in our privacy policy.

Equal Housing Logo Credit is subject to approval. Rates and programs are subject to change; certain restrictions apply. Terms and conditions subject to commitment letter. Products and services provided by JPMorgan Chase Bank.

ABOUT THIS MESSAGE: J.P. Morgan, Chase and JPMorgan Chase are marketing names for certain businesses of JPMorgan Chase & Co. and its subsidiaries worldwide. In no event shall J.P. Morgan nor any of its directors, officers, employees or agents be liable for any use of, for any decision made or action taken in reliance upon, or for any inaccuracies or errors in or omissions from, the information herein. © 2023 JPMorgan Chase & Co. All rights reserved.