TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Acting on a commitment to expand children’s programs, and address food insecurity problems, Cherokee Nation has donated almost $15,000 to the Delaware County Boys and Girls Club.

The $14,873.33 donation was awarded on Monday when Principal Chief Chuck Hoskins Jr. and Deputy Chief Bryan Warner met with Boys and Girls Clubs representatives and unveiled plans to invest $5 million into Boys and Girls Club programs in the Cherokee Nation reservation over the next two years.

“This is important to us all,” said Mike Shambaugh, Speaker of the Council and a former Boys and Girls Club of Delaware County board member. “We do this to further the programs we have for our kids, and it’s not only our Cherokee kids, but when we can do something that’s positive for any child.”

Shambaugh said he has learned a lot about what it means to be in a safe learning environment because of the work of the Boys and Girls Clubs.

Cherokee Nation leaders met with representatives of local Boys and Girls Clubs on Monday as Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. and Deputy Chief Bryan Warner unveiled plans to invest an additional $5 million into Boys and Girls Club programs over the next two years.

Over the past four years, Cherokee Nation has given nearly $1 million to the Boys and Girls Clubs across the Cherokee Nation Reservation.

Of the $5 million in funds, Cherokee Nation will be setting aside $2.7 million for a childcare pilot project that will help the local Boys and Girls Club programs on the reservation with grant opportunities that could provide funding for holiday and summer programs.

Other Boys and Girls Clubs within the Cherokee Nation reservation receiving funds were:

  • Tahlequah, $96,535.73
  • Adair County, $67,384.00
  • Chelsea, $14,935.95
  • Sequoyah County, $11,773.41
  • Nowata, $5,761.46
  • Bartlesville, $5,417.02
  • Green Country, $3,319.10

Cherokee Nation will also contribute $100,000 each to nine programs for food security initiatives and another $100,000 to nine clubs for capital projects over the next two years.

Funds can be used to support existing food programs or create new programs to help students and their families through food donations, food cards, nutrition classes or other similar programs and provide grants that support maintenance and equipment projects.

“When it comes to the Boys and Girls Clubs, these programs do important work,” said Chief Hoskin in a  prepared statement.

Cherokee Nation is always looking ahead seven generations, thinking in generational terms, and naturally, we look to the young people across the reservation, he said.

“So much of what we aspire to do for young people are things our local Boys and Girls Clubs are already doing,” Hoskin said. “We cannot measure what it means for a young person to have a place to go after school during those crucial hours, or to have a place where they find nutrition programs and healthy meals.”

These new investments will yield immeasurable results for Northeast Oklahoma for years and years to come, he said.

The additional investment to area Boys and Girls Clubs was recommended by the Cherokee Nation Early Childhood Task Force, which was created by Chief Hoskin in March of 2022 to identify areas of opportunity and areas of unmet needs regarding early childcare within the Cherokee Nation reservation.

The Early Childhood Task Force was assembled as part of the Verna D. Thompson Early Childhood Education Act. It invests up to $40 million to replace or rehabilitate all of the tribe’s Head Start centers.