When Art Barker’s parents, Art and Martie, moved to Milliken in the late ’90s, they recognized right away that there was a need for a Boys and Girls Club location there. Having lived all over the world as a military family, they had seen firsthand how poverty impacted societies and cultures and were intent on helping kids in their new hometown.
“They had always been involved with social outreach wherever we lived,” says Art. “So when they were settled in one place and had the opportunity to help, they really wanted to provide kids with stability and a safe place for after-school activities.”
The Barkers pursued the idea of a Club in Milliken, getting interest from others involved with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Weld County, including Benny Garcia , now Milliken’s police chief. A few years later, the Art & Martie Barker Clubhouse opened in an elementary school, now in the Thompson River Parks & Recreation building.
“After my father passed away [in 2011], I got involved at the Clubhouse, helping my mother whenever there were functions, making sure she could go to all the ones she wanted to,” says Art, who lives in Fort Lupton. He rolled up his sleeves to help dish out the Thanksgiving dinners, and he even donned some other very distinctive sleeves—bright red with white furry trim—to play Santa at the Christmas parties, pre-Covid.
“Mom passed away during the pandemic, and it’s been hard getting involved again,” he says. “But I’m ready to get back into it, and I have an idea.”
Art’s idea is a good one: He wants to get the word out to others about cryptocurrency and how donating to the Club via that method offers benefits for the giver and the receiver.
Since cryptocurrency is considered property by the IRS—like stocks are—you can avoid the capital gains taxes you might have to pay if you donate cash, he explains. “You can now donate the cryptocurrency directly, without cashing it out first,” says Art, “and then the Club gets the tax benefit when they cash it out.”
Also, some people donate cash cards that have processing fees, but the processing fees
for cryptocurrency are a lot less. For a $1,000 donation by card, the fee could be around $75, but for a cryptocurrency transaction, it might be less than $10. “When you aren’t paying those high fees, more of what you wanted to donate is going to the Club,” he says.
Art also thinks the Club members themselves would benefit from learning more about cryptocurrency. “I think educating the kids in crypto would be a huge benefit for them,” he says. “Crypto lets folks—regardless of income—invest in their futures. Investing has always been sort of a rich person’s thing, but with crypto, people with less money can take advantage of the opportunities, and they’ll watch their investment grow over time.”
With a possible recession ahead, Art believes now is a good time for just about anyone to get started with cryptocurrency. But the most important message he wants to share is that anyone can help the Club, even if it’s not with crypto or cash.
“My parents didn’t have a lot of disposable income, but what they did have was time, a
nd a willingness to support these kids however they could,” he says, adding that his parents were both dedicated board members as well.
“Everyone’s participation is important, whether or not it involves money. Do you have time to spend with these kids, even if it’s helping to serve up turkey and stuffing? That’s just as important to them.”