Date ArticleType
2/13/2017 Chamber News
Leadership St. Pete® Class of 2017 to Raise Funds for Renovation Project at Historic Royal Theater Boys and Girls Club

February 14, 2017

Leadership St. Pete® Class of 2017 to Raise Funds for Renovation Project at Historic Royal Theater Boys and Girls Club

ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA – The Leadership St. Pete® (LSP) Class of 2017 has selected Boys and Girls Clubs of the Suncoast (BGC) at the historic Royal Theater as the beneficiary of this year’s class project. As one of the oldest leadership programs in America and a division of the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce® and its 501(c)(3) Foundation, LSP is responsible for making a difference in the community by working with a local nonprofit organization to further its goals. The project generally takes the form of a physical facility improvement for the beneficiary organization. Class members provide planning, fundraising and physical labor to execute the project.

"Our LSP classes work hard each year to demonstrate their care, concern and interest in our city. The class projects make a difference to those being served and demonstrates the intense passion our leaders have for making St. Petersburg shine," said Chris Steinocher, president and CEO of the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce.

Originally a movie theater for the African-American community from 1948-1966, the Royal Theater today provides a homebase for one of the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Suncoast in the heart of South St. Pete on 22nd Street South. BGC has been serving Pinellas County for over 50 years, helping local youth (5-18) learn life skills for a successful future. Of the Royal Theater club members, 94 percent live at or below the poverty line, but through the club’s support, many are able to break out of the cycle of poverty. The LSP class selected the Royal Theater Club for their project because of the services it provides to neighborhood children and the capital improvements it requires to sustain its mission serving the South St. Pete community. It’s a safe place for children who may not have one in which to grow up with positive role models and high impact programming during non-school hours.

“We are honored and excited to be selected by the 2017 Leadership St. Pete® Class as the project recipient for our Royal Theater Club,” said Freddy Williams, CEO of Boys and Girls Clubs of the Suncoast. “It is inspiring to have our community’s leaders and representatives come together for the best interest of our youth and local neighborhoods. The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Suncoast is fortunate to be a part of such a great partnership.”

The LSP class, comprised of professionals from a variety of St. Petersburg businesses, toured the Royal Theater and met with management and staff to discuss their needs. The theater is in need of many interior and exterior upgrades to reflect the safe, positive environment Boys and Girls Club cultivates for the youth it serves. As an historic arts facility, this Boys & Girls Club focuses programming around the arts, giving these children opportunities they may not otherwise receive. Planned improvements include exterior cleanup including paint, landscaping and signage restoration, and interior space upgrades including paint, storage and furniture. The projected costs of improvements is $55,000, which the LSP class will raise by the end of April in order to complete the project by May 20, 2017.

The 39-member LSP Class of 2017 is presently seeking donations from individuals and businesses or in-kind contributions of products or services to complete the project. Send tax deductible funds or inquiries about in-kind donations in support of this project to Brittany Walsh ? The St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce or email Please make checks payable to “LSP Project” or donate online at

Please direct media inquiries regarding Leadership St. Pete to one of the following media contacts:

Matt Dieter
LSP Marketing Committee Chair  

Paul Stellrecht
Chair, LSP Class of 2017

Janette Dean
Chair-Elect, LSP Class of 2018

Mission: To enable all young people living in Pinellas County, especially those who need us most, to reach full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.
Vision: To be the leading youth development agency in Pinellas County and the catalyst for community change and collaboration in youth development.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Suncoast serves youth ages 5 to 18 by providing guidance-oriented character development programs conducted by trained, youth development professionals. Boys & Girls Clubs of the Suncoast serves nearly 3,000 youth at 6 Club locations across Pinellas County. For more information visit online at

The mission of LSP is to identify, recruit and develop leaders who represent the diversity of our city and who will assume future leadership roles in our community. The LSP program is made possible through the generous support of community partners like Duke Energy, Eckerd Leadership Development Institute and Collaborative Labs at St. Petersburg College, Patron Sponsors of the Class of 2017. Learn more at

The St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce®, originally founded in 1899, now serves over 1,200 member businesses. Finding ways to create and enhance opportunities to do business in St. Petersburg, the Chamber works to improve the local economic climate and to build a thriving business environment. The Chamber is the voice of local business in St. Petersburg, providing leadership on important business and community issues. Learn more at