The Crucible Slavonic Club is a private club where members can purchase alcohol, food and gamble. However, according to club stewart or manager, Tamatha Pratt, what most people don’t know is that the club donates over half of its gambling profits to projects and organizations throughout Greene County.
“Everybody always thinks these clubs are nothing but drinking,” Pratt said. “I want people to know it’s a place to relax and eat and join friends, but it’s also a good place to where we as members and officers get together and outreach to our community.”
A licensed gambling tavern like the Crucible Slavonic Club “may use up to 40 percent of its games of chance proceeds per calendar year for expenses of the club licensee. Any proceeds not used for expenses must be used for public interest purposes,” the state’s Dept. of Revenue states. “So a club licensee must use, at a minimum, 60 percent of its proceeds for public interest purposes.”
The annual funding calendar runs from January 1-December 31. This year the club has a donation fund of $45,000, Pratt said. When she took over management three years ago, the annual donation fund was around $36,000. During her second year as manager, it was $39,000.
“The more we grow, the higher it goes,” she said. “We’re getting bigger.”
Pratt said the club’s donations go toward local schools, annual festivals, fire department little league sports and more. The club donates $2,000 to the organizations and events they help annually, such as Jefferson-Morgan Little League, Riverfest, Colby’s Stars Foundation, Buoniconti Fund and the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Annual donations of $250-$1,000 go to each school for cash bashes and fundraisers for sports and bands. The amount varies depending on previous donations and the type of event.
“In the summertime people really hit us hard because they need money for their events,” she said.
Other donation amounts are given on a case by case basis and the club also uses its donation fund to buy whatever the community needs. Pratt said the club chooses donation recipients based requests from community members or if club members recognize a need within the community.
“We try to keep it close to our area, but we don’t discriminate going out of our area either,” she said.
Pratt said the Waynesburg boosters club requested help with an upcoming fundraiser on July 13 at Tommy Boys. The Slavonic Club is now donating 50 chickens to the event.
“We’re going to be there cooking the chickens,” she said. “We donate the chickens, they make all the profits from it.”
On Sept. 7 the Crucible Slavonic Club is hosting a fundraiser, open to the public, with live music to enjoy. Club members will sell chickens.
“Whatever money we raise that day we donate it to the senior center in Carmichaels,” Pratt said.
Crucible’s Slavonic Club has 300 active members and 15 officers. Pratt said it began in 1936 and is similar to the international network of Slavonic clubs, which celebrate and promote Slavic heritage, but all act as private nonprofits with their own guidelines.
“There are Slavonic clubs all over the country, but membership is private, our members cannot go to other clubs,” she said.
With a revived focus on celebrating Slavic heritage, the club’s new flag and t-shirts will feature the Slovakian flag in the middle of a Greene County outline. Last year, Pratt said, the club sponsored a Fayette County hockey player, so he could play in the world championships in Slovakia. His team earned second place.
According to Clarence Romines of Carmichaels, the Crucible Slavonic Club headquarters started off as old chicken coop that club members eventually replaced with a building. Romines, 82, has been a club member since the 1970s and said over the years he’s noticed how the members have gotten younger.
Pratt said the club’s been working to remodel its headquarters since the beginning of June. Funding to update the interior and expand the size of the building comes from the club’s gambling revenue. The project will be completed by the end of July.
“It’s really grown from back in the 70s,” Romines said. “I like going there. There’s some good people who goes there.”
The membership fee to join is $20. Members then pay a $10 fee each year, while anyone over 62 pays an annual fee of $2 dollars.
For more information or membership inquirers, call the Crucible Slavonic Club at 724-592-6350.