Our Clubhouse​

As you can see from these pictures of other Gilda’s Clubs, they don’t all look alike.

Club Site

An appropriate club site will be an important factor in the accessibility, visibility and attractiveness of the club. The club will be located in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire. The clubhouse will need ample parking and handicapped accessibility. On site parking is important. A minimum of 30 parking spots will be needed.
The location should be in a quiet area either near a residential neighborhood or in a light commercial area adjacent to a residential neighborhood. It can’t be in an area that is zoned residential. Since many meetings will be in the evening, the clubhouse must be in a safe area.

Building Size

The clubhouse can either be an existing building that can be adapted to the new use or constructed on land that will accommodate a new building and parking. We need to start with at least 4,000 sq. ft., if possible. The greatest need for large spaces is in Noogieland, the kitchen and in the Community Room. A useful rule of thumb is that at capacity, more than 12 weekly group meetings, or about 80 people at a potluck supper, must be accommodated comfortably. All program activities must be accommodated with appropriate rooms, ready to go, on opening day.


The clubhouse is not only a meeting place, but the most visible and enduring symbol of the organization’s philosophy and program. The relationship of the space in a clubhouse to the program is key. Builders and decorators of the clubhouse have the task of providing a warm and welcoming homelike setting, while paying close attention to what each detail conveys to members and visitors about the nature of the program. Above all, nothing should suggest an institution, a social service agency, or an office.
A description of the ideal environment for a CSC program is filled with paradoxes. The clubhouse must be:

  • Homelike but nonresidential
  • A showcase but distinctly not “decorated”
  • Comfortable but completely functional
  • Fresh and new – and worn and lived in
  • Intimate, but spacious enough to accommodate large numbers
  • Private and quiet but centrally located
  • Close to parking
  • Unobtrusively accommodating of administrative functions


​Since warmth conveyed by color has regional definition, the choice up to each affiliate. It is better to use color instead of flat white paint, which communicates “sterile” and “institutional.”

Try for an “Undecorated” Look

Many well-meaning people may offer help that won’t provide the desired look. A decorator attracted by the clubhouse concept may want to put his personal stamp on the building. Fund-raisers will want to invite different decorators to “do” rooms and charge for tours. A single local store will want to provide all the furnishings, which will then reflect the style of the store’s merchandise. To avoid all of these problems and achieve a comfortable, homelike atmosphere, try to collect furniture from donors and supplement it with some purchases or gifts of new or special pieces. If a decorating committee is formed, you can sidestep the politics of aesthetics by having one member responsible for final decisions



There should be space for exercising and social activities out of doors – preferably at least partially screened from view. Exterior lighting should be on a timer, since most of it won’t be needed when we are closed. 


There should be space for exercising and social activities out of doors – preferably at least partially screened from view. Interior lighting should be on a timer, since most of it won’t be needed when we are closed.


The clubhouse’s red door can be any size and shape, just so long as it’s red, red, red. The entry mural should reflect the local culture and make a whimsical statement about Gilda Radner and relevant features of her personality. Scenes should transcend cultural boundaries and convey universal good feeling. (hiking, fishing, motorcycle?)

Photo Gilda’s Club Seattle…


This is the most visible spot where administrative and program functions meet. The receptionist greets members here and handles their sign-in, but also answers the telephone and frequently performs clerical tasks.

Community Room

The Community Room will need to accommodate at least 60 people seated at tables. This room is multi-functional, serving as lecture hall, party place and meeting room. In some clubhouses, the community room will also be used for meditation, exercise and other activities. Furniture should be movable, easily cleaned, and comfortable (to some people this means a straight-backed chair, so offer a variety of seating). There should be an adjacent kitchen for ease of handling potluck suppers and other social gatherings. Snacks and beverages should always be kept available in the kitchen.​

Photo Gilda’s Club Madison….

Conference Room

Gathering family members and friends together for a Team Convene or Family Focus session can be accomplished in a group room or area of the clubhouse with comfortable chairs and possibly a dining table to hold refreshments and help draw people into the conversation.

Teen/Game Room
Need room attractive to teens, but not black! Decor should be lively.

Group Rooms

When selecting furniture, try to accommodate everyone’s comfort: supportive straight-back chairs, comfortably cushioned chairs, and sectionals that allow for a variety of postures, must all fit together in a room that may hold as many as 15 people.

• Floor and table lighting are preferable to overhead lighting
• Pictures should be unobtrusive and pleasant
• Keep in mind that weak or disabled people may have difficulty getting up from some styles of cushioned seating


​​Ideally, the main Gilda’s Clubhouse kitchen and work area should be adjacent to the Community Room, but have the possibility of being closed off from it, so that the noise of clanging pots and pans and running water doesn’t interfere with scheduled activities. A wide door that opens for cooking demonstrations or closes for food preparation is ideal. The kitchen should be fully equipped, with two dishwashers if possible (regular dishes require an initial investment, and are more trouble than paper plates at clean-up, but they make people feel more at home). This will be an activity center with cooking classes, pot-luck dinners, cookie-baking, etc.

Living Room

It is ideal to allocate room for a homelike lounge area adjacent to group rooms, where people can gather before or after group meetings, relax, watch television or read. This could be an information-gathering area, with a computer that members can access, and books and videos (plan on shelf space). It’s generous to provide access to Internet cancer-information sites, but be aware that this is a privilege that on-line addicts inclined to solitude may abuse.

Dining Area

Providing space for people who bring lunches to eat together or to celebrate special occasions such as birthdays or cancer survival anniversaries, this space encourages community-building. Sound-proofing is important if this area is adjacent to the group rooms.

Arts & Crafts Workshop Area

Art workshop activities have proven to be very popular. Projects which are messy and require their own space and serious storage. This means that the community and group rooms may have to double as locations for other workshop activities.

“It’s Always Something” Room

This room was named after Gilda’s favorite phrase, but any name could be used. This is a very nice extra – a small, private meditation room for people who may need time out from the bustle of the community, or who may need a rest before traveling home or on to a treatment. A fish tank and a chaise are about all this room needs, although a small sound system would be nice.


This is the children’s version of the program.
1. Toys that reflect regional interests as well as educational savvy, and that promote group activity (omit computers and encourage children to enjoy this solitary activity at home.)
2. Cuddly stuffed toys (wash weekly and make sure that children with cancer handle only clean toys)
3. New take-home cuddlies for all children

Description: Will have children from 3 to 12 years old. Will have activities with lots of movement, puppet shows, snacks, etc. Although we will not be licensed as such, this part of the building should meet construction requirements for child care facilities.
Capacity: 10-20 children and staff.

Adjacency: Nearby small toilet and sink for little people
Plumbing: Small, efficiency style kitchen