The Boys & Girls Club of the West Valley has created a new fund in honor of Gary M. Thomas, a former chamber of commerce executive and chairman of the youth organization.

Thomas, the former president of the United Chambers of Commerce of the San Fernando Valley, served as the club’s board chairman for nine years, and was succeeded this year by Martin Cooper, former vice chairman of the board.

The Gary M. Thomas Fund for Kids will further support the club’s programs. It will be initially underwritten by $7,000 in donations from the board, and as additional funds are donated, Thomas will be in charge of overseeing how the funds are allocated for the club’s use.

During Thomas’ time in leadership, the club acquired its 12,000-square-foot location in Canoga Park, more than doubled its membership to 2,900 children, and instituted numerous programs including a College Bound program aimed to motivate youth to pursue higher education.

“Gary, along with an exemplary staff led by President and CEO Jan Sobel, has taken the Club to new heights,” said Cooper in a statement. “His leadership abilities, creativity and selfless contributions have played a most significant part in bringing the club to its current level.”