Closing The BCC
Letter from the Board of The Buffalo Christian Center
– See FAQ below
Dear friend of the BCC,
We are writing to you because you have been a faithful friend of the Buffalo Christian Center. Today we have some important news to share with you about the future of the BCC.
Fifteen months ago, we began looking at how we could leverage our unique building to better accomplish our mission: to serve local at-risk youth with ministry and development programs.
Through this strategic process, we learned that the building would need over $5 million in renovations. We talked with key stakeholders — including industry experts, community leaders, and top donors — about what this investment would mean practically. We also had a consulting group create a business plan that accounted for the large capital expenditures needed to renovate the building.
After a time of fasting and prayer, while reviewing all the facts, we came to the conclusion that the best course of action was to sell the building for two reasons. First, the likelihood of procuring the $5 million was low. Second, and more importantly, the level of impact the ministry would have on the community would not correlate with the dollar amount needed to modernize the building.
We then considered which paths would allow us to best accomplish our mission once we moved on from 512 Pearl Street. Some of the options we reviewed included relocating, merging, and dissolving.
Ultimately, we determined that the best way to accomplish our mission was to spin off our three primary programs (Teen MOPS, Merge youth outreach, and Bills Night Out) to reputable ministries, and use the proceeds from the building’s sale to open a foundation with the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo.
We are deeply enthusiastic about the future of this foundation. Moving forward, every year we will grant thousands of dollars to organizations in Buffalo with similar missions — organizations that are making a measurable impact among youth in the community.
The needs of Buffalo’s youth are vast, ranging from jobs training to educational programming to many others. In particular, the opportunity to proclaim and demonstrate the gospel has never been better! We are inspired by the prospect of funding effective ministries and assisting new initiatives.
As we make this decision, we are thankful for our rich history as a Christian organization. The BCC has been a beacon of God’s love for the people of WNY for generations. The Center has been on the corner of Pearl and Tupper Streets in downtown Buffalo since 1958, when our name was “YouthTime Evangelism Fellowship.”
Over the years, the BCC has had a positive influence on many youth who have committed their lives to Christ. The BCC hosted Saturday night youth rallies, where local churches helped gather hundreds of youth at a time. Founder Alan Forbes hosted “Good News at Noon,” a popular radio broadcast reaching thousands of Buffalo listeners. The Center Festival Choir, WNY’s largest non-denominational choir, was formed at the BCC. The annual concert “Artist Series” brought popular performers to the BCC’s Forbes Theatre. The BCC’s Christian Bookstore offered books and materials to city churches and community members. Upon learning of the sale of the BCC, founder Alan Forbes said, “I am delighted that the Lord has so clearly directed the new mission for the former BCC building and ministry.”
In recent years, our ministries have focused on unchurched, inner-city youth, drawing over 40,000 visits on a yearly basis. Our ministries have included Friday night “Merge” for teens with youth discipleship “cell groups,” Teen Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS), Night Out with the Buffalo Bills (in partnership with Athletes in Action), Summer Camps, Open Center Saturdays, mission teams, basketball leagues, Strengthening Urban Churches (SUCH), Friday Bible study lunches, and more.
While focusing on youth and sharing the message of salvation through Jesus Christ, the Buffalo Christian Center has had a broad impact in the city of Buffalo and Western New York. We are certainly grateful that God has used us in such diverse capacities over the years.
Please join us as we take the first steps down this new path. Your continued involvement is important to us as we seek to reach Buffalo’s youth for Christ. Please consider continuing your support of the BCC’s programs as they transition to other organizations (see attached “Frequently Asked Questions Sheet” for more information).
We will name our new foundation ‘YouthTime’ in order to recognize all the organization has accomplished in its past, and in anticipation of the impact it will have on Buffalo’s youth in the future. It is with thankfulness, hope, and excitement that we look to this future. We appreciate your prayers as we move forward into a new chapter of serving Christ in our city!
Executive Director and the BCC Board
Frequently Asked Questions
Does the BCC still exist?
o The YouthTime Foundation now has the ability to operate in perpetuity, but the BCC will no longer be a legal entity.
How can I continue giving to the BCC’s primary programs (Merge, Bills Night Out, and Teen MOPS)?
o Three BCC programs have transitioned to other local organizations. Your support is still greatly needed and can be continued by contacting the following:
- The Merge Teen Program meets weekly and provides an environment for at-risk teens to have fun, hear the gospel through Bible teachings, and grow spiritually through life-on-life discipleship from caring adults. Merge will transition to City Vision, a ministry that has been committed to providing a leadership team for Merge, as well as staff and volunteers who are involved in life-on-life discipleship with the Merge teens. City Vision also has a local church for the teens to transition to as young adults.
- Contact info: City Vision | Jim Swearingen | 149 Bird Ave., Buffalo, NY 14213 | 614–580-1769 | www.city-vision.org
- Teen MOPS is a Christian-based support group for teen and young moms that offers a caring, safe, and fun environment. Moms can build friendships, participate in parenting and life skills discussions and activities, and grow closer to God.
- Contact info: Renovation Church | 567 Hertel Ave., Buffalo, NY 14207 | 716–819-4100
- Bills Night Out is a unique event allowing inner city kids to be “up-close and personal” with some of the current Buffalo Bills players and their wives/girlfriends. Kids who attend are impacted by the testimonies of the Bills players: the players share how their personal relationship with Christ influences the challenges and pressures they face as NFL athletes. The players who attend are part of the Bills’ weekly Team Bible Study and are seeking to grow in their faith. The players/wives assist in leading and planning this event by being emcees, being interviewed, answering questions asked by the kids in attendance, and ultimately by sharing the gospel. A commemorative autograph book is given to everyone who attends and features players’ action photos accompanied by each player’s favorite verse.
- Contact info:Athletes in Action Pro Ministry/Buffalo | Fred Raines, Director | 54 Crownview Ter., Hamburg, NY 14075 | 716–646-0538 | firstname.lastname@example.org | www.aiabuffalo.com
What is the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo?
o The CFGB is a 501©3 public charity dedicated to helping donors make the most of their generosity. For more than 90 years the Foundation has managed endowment funds for individuals, families, and organizations, and is currently home to over 750 named funds.
- For more information, please visit www.cfgb.org
Who will serve at the new YouthTime Foundation?
o Initially, the Foundation will be lead by the current BCC board of directors. The Foundation will be actively recruiting new advisors to augment the current group of advisors.
How will the YouthTime Foundation give grants?
o The Foundation will release information on funding guidelines in the next year.
Who was involved in the sale of the building?
o Todd P. Danni of Coldwell Banker brokered the sale and represented the BCC in obtaining the buyer.
What will the building be used for in the future and who is the buyer?
o The purchaser of the property was Ellicott Development Company. There future use of the space is yet to be determined. Please refer all questions about the future use of the building to Ellicott Development Company.
What will happen to current church tenant, The Buffalo Dream Center?
o The BCC is contractually assured that the Buffalo Dream Center can continue to operate in the building (if they choose) until the end of 2014.
Questions, comments, or concerns?
o Please call the BCC at (716) 856‑7495 ext. 319 and ask to speak to Brad.