(New York), May 8, 2013 – The Wallace Foundation today announced a $750,000 grant to Boys & Girls Clubs of America in memory of George V. Grune, a former chairman of the foundation’s board, who died April 17.
Grune also invested some 31 years serving on BGCA’s national Board of Governors, including two as Chief Volunteer Officer (1994-1996). Under Grune’s charge the nonprofit youth organization achieved a myriad of milestones, including the appointment of its first female President/CEO, Roxanne Spillett, and reaching the goal of serving two million young people annually in 1994.
During Grune’s tenure as Chief Volunteer Officer BGCA began in earnest to build a Board that has since come to be recognized as one of the most influential among all nonprofits. As a highly-disciplined business executive, Grune insisted any potential Governor pledge not only financial support, but actively leverage his or her professional assets to ensure BGCA remained relevant.
“Boys & Girls Clubs of America has always held a special place in George’s heart,” said Betty Lu Grune, George’s wife of 60 years. “Growing up an only child, George knew the importance of having a safe place to go where people truly care about your well-being. He knew this is the type of support that BGCA brings to thousands of kids every day. George would be thrilled and humbled with the generous grant being presented to BGCA by the Wallace Foundation in his name.”
“Through his dynamic leadership from 1984 to 2002, George set the four small family predecessor foundations of The Wallace Foundation on a course to becoming a single national philanthropy characterized by an innovative blend of giving and knowledge development,” said Kevin Kennedy, the chairman of Wallace’s board. “George was also known for his commitment to charitable causes, giving generously of his time and resources to organizations ranging from Boys & Girls Clubs of America to the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra.”
Over the years, one of the highlights for Grune and BGCA was the nonprofit’s annual academic and leadership Youth of the Year (YOY) competition held in Washington, DC. Every September, for 60 years, The Reader’s Digest Association awarded scholarships to five regional YOYs who had distinguished themselves academically, and exhibited the ability to give back even in the midst of their own hardships.
“This extremely generous and un-restricted gift from The Wallace Foundation is even more important in today’s nonprofit environment,” said BGCA President and CEO Jim Clark. “The current trend among partners and donors is to tie their gift to a specific program. However, this gift from The Wallace Foundation will ensure our capacity to create a stronger infrastructure, including intensive training locally and nationally, plus the delivery of life-changing programs for young people long-term.”
Grune was equally committed to helping local Clubs, including the Boys & Girls Clubs of Jacksonville, after he retired in the late 1990s to Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of AmericaFor more than 100 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (GreatFutures.org) has enabled young people most in need to achieve great futures as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Today, nearly 4,000 Clubs serve some 4 million young people through Club membership and community outreach. Clubs are located in cities, towns, public housing and on Native American lands throughout the country, and serve military families in BGCA-affiliated Youth Centers on U.S. military installations worldwide. They provide a safe place, caring adult mentors, fun and friendship, and high-impact youth development programs on a daily basis during critical non-school hours. Club programs promote academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. In a Harris Survey of alumni, 57 percent said the Club saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta. Learn more at http://bgca.org/facebook and http://bgca.org/twitter.
About The Wallace FoundationThe Wallace Foundation is an independent, national foundation dedicated to supporting and sharing effective ideas and practices that expand learning and enrichment opportunities for children. The Foundation maintains an online library of lessons at www.wallacefoundation.org about what it has learned, including knowledge from its current efforts aimed at: strengthening educational leadership to improve student achievement; helping disadvantaged students gain more time for learning through summer learning and an extended school day and year; enhancing out-of-school time opportunities; and building appreciation and demand for the arts.
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