Formed in 1957, the Long Beach Century Club is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, volunteer organization dedicated to the support of amateur athletics in the city of Long Beach, including the city's middle schools, high schools, and colleges. Members' dues and other fundraising efforts, including the Mayor's Cup Golf Tournament, allow the Club to contribute tens of thousands of dollars every year to local programs and athletes.
The Long Beach Century Club consists of over 500 men and women who care deeply about assisting youth who are involved in sports in Long Beach. The mission since 1957 has been to support these athletes and teams when they require financial assistance to enhance program growth and the opportunity to compete where they otherwise could not do so. This support has allowed individuals and teams to compete in all corners of the globe, often returning to Long Beach with national and world championships. Every local sport has benefited from Century Club funds. Continuous support is also given to athletes participating in the Special Olympics. Over the years our membership has contributed approximately $2.5 million to support local programs.
Our members are integrally involved in helping Long Beach athletes, schools, and colleges to enhance their athletic programs and, thereby, student athletes' experiences. Over the years, the Century Club has supported everyone from Billie Jean King (helping with her travel expenses to her first Wimbledon competition) to the Jordan football team (providing clean uniforms to their players), and a local soccer club needing assistance in paying rental fees to the city for a field on which to practice.
The Club hosts two banquets annually to recognize community athletes, coaches, and supporters. Now held annually in June, our Hall of Fame banquet honors high school, collegiate, and professional athletes plus coaches at all levels and supporters of athletics in all disciplines, all with strong ties to the City.
The Middle School Banquet is offered near the end of each school year, honoring the student-athletes from each of the championship teams in each sport offered by the Long Beach middle schools. For many who are not the most skilled or talented, it is often the last time they will be recognized for their athletic accomplishments.
The Club was unable to host the Hall of Fame Banquet in 2021 or the Middle School Banquet in 2020 and 2021 due to the restrictions on in-person gatherings.
Our annual golf tournament, the primary fund-raiser for the Club, was also cancelled in 2020 and 2021. In 2020, over $30,000 in scholarships were awarded to local high school student-athletes at the Hall of Fame Banquet, from the funds raised during the 2019 Mayor's Cup Golf Tournament
COVID-19 posed significant challenges to schools and teams in 2020 and 2021. For the most part, training and competitions were able to take place so far in 2022, but challenges remain.
Amateur youth sports clubs, school teams and athletic departments are typically underfunded, and during the COVID-19 shutdowns they were struggling without traditional opportunities to raise money. The Century Club generally donates $2,000 to each local high school, and even more to Long Beach City College and LB State, to help their funding efforts for equipment, entry fees, and travel. In addition, the club donated $500 to each of the 23 LBUSD Middle School in 2021 to help pay for team uniforms, and expects to do the same in this 2022-2023 academic year.