Working Together To Open More Doors
In the last 12 months alone, we:
Launched My.Future, a 21st-century technology education curriculum to reach 4 million Club kids;
Began providing behind-the-scenes experiences with NBC Sports Group to show Club kids the technology behind the Super Bowl and other major sporting events; and
Took the lead in a $40 million capital campaign to overhaul seven Clubs in Philadelphia, our corporate hometown (see section below).
We work side by side with Boys & Girls Clubs because we know the difference they make – including in the life of Tom Ehlmann, currently president and general manager for NBC5 in Dallas-Fort Worth.
Even today, Tom recalls the thrill of riding on a truck as a young boy with his father, a World War II veteran, as he delivered milk door-to-door to his neighbors in St. Charles, Mo., a working-class suburb of St. Louis. His family wasn’t "dirt poor," he says, but not as privileged as some of his school classmates.
Looking back, Tom says in some ways he felt more at home at the nearby Boys Club, where he biked after school on most afternoons, than the Catholic school he attended. The Club was also where Tom, who is white, first made friends with children who were African American – and developed a skill for playing basketball.
In fact, he excelled so much at the sport that his talent earned him a full scholarship to play Division I basketball at the University of Arizona. "The Boys Club absolutely was a primary reason I got that scholarship," Tom says. "I was one of three white kids in the Arizona program, but I never thought much of it… The Club got me ready for so much in life, including leadership and how to compete with other kids." His older brother also spent time at the Club, and he received a full basketball scholarship as well, to Furman University in South Carolina. It wasn’t a coincidence, Tom says.
Tom has maintained his connection to Boys & Girls Clubs throughout his broadcasting career. He served on the board of directors for local Clubs in Houston, where he was vice president and general manager at KHWB; in Chicago, where he was vice president and general manager of WGN-TV; and he currently is on the board of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas, and president and general manager of NBC5.
Tom has also extended his advocacy in other ways, including through the award last April of a $25,000 Comcast Foundation grant to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas as part of Comcast Cares Day, the company’s annual celebration of its year-round commitment to service. One of 900 community projects held on Comcast Cares Day this year, more than 100 NBCUniversal employees participated in several activities at a local Club, including helping orchestrate an annual Math Blazers competition involving 300 local Club kids.
"The Clubs teach kids not only how to use computers and to think about college at an early time," Tom says. "They also teach us how to be better people."
TRANSFORMING LIVES – ONE CLUB AT A TIME
The Boys & Girls Club in Philadelphia’s Germantown section has been a safe haven for neighborhood kids since 1887, but the Club’s building is showing its age. Maintaining the facility is challenging, and so is keeping pace with the technology programming that is becoming a cornerstone at more modern Clubs.
Soon the Germantown Club – along with six other Philadelphia Clubs – will receive much-needed facelifts. In May, Comcast Senior Executive Vice President David L. Cohen joined Joseph and Lisabeth Marziello, CEOs of Boys & Girls Clubs of Philadelphia, to launch the $40 million Bold Change for Kids campaign to build a new, state-of-the-art Club in Germantown and fund renovations at six older Clubs across our company’s hometown.
The new Club will include an ice hockey rink operated by the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation, as well as a digital literacy lab, art room, café, and music studio. The new Germantown Club will also be renamed the Ralph J. Roberts Boys & Girls Club in honor of the deep commitment of late Comcast founder Ralph Roberts to Philadelphia. Ralph, who moved to the city’s Germantown neighborhood when he was 17, died June 18th, a month after the Club’s renaming was announced. Once complete, the new Club will serve 250 percent more youth through expanded and updated programming.
The campaign was jumpstarted with an $8 million donation from the Roberts family and the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation. Click here to learn more about the Bold Change for Kids Campaign and Comcast’s partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of America.