The Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington got a surprise offer from a wealthy donor. At the organization’s recent annual gala, Martin Alloy, chairman of Arlington-based Stanley Martin Homes, offered $1 million if the youth program can raise an additional $1 million. It will be one of the organization’s largest gifts since 2009, if the challenge is met.

Since the announcement, the group has raised $20,000, and expects to have the rest by December 2013. A similar $1.5 million challenge was surpassed by $300,000 at the height of the recession in 2009.

“When people see there’s a challenge out there, it make them want to give that much more,” said Paul Alagero, chief development officer for the organization’s local chapter. “Everyone loves to know that they’ll get a 100 percent return on their donation.”

The organization, with an annual budget of $9.3 million, survived budget deficits and staff layoffs in 2008, but with increased demand for services, is still looking to help more than its 16,000 students each year.

The mission is why Alloy, a former chairman of the organization, said he decided on a $1 million challenge. He hopes the target will help people to make good on their well-meaning intentions for youth.

“A lot of people say, ‘I want to give to kids’ ... but when you try to get them to cross the goal line, you find that it’s just a lot of lip service,” Alloy said. “That’s why I did this challenge. I want people to step up.”

Alloy grew up playing sports at a Boys and Girls Club near Meridian Hill in Northwest Washington. He founded his luxury home building company in 1966. It wasn’t until 2003, when a colleague encouraged him to support the organization, did Alloy begin giving hefty donations to the local club. Alloy and his wife, Daris Clifton Alloy, have been major donors to the Kennedy Center and youth education causes. One of their first donations to the club was for a program that provided children with formal clothing and free tickets to showings at the theater.

“I can’t die with money. I don’t have a huge fortune,” Alloy said. “I’ve just been successful in life, so where there’s a need, it’s important that we take care of that need.”