Clements pledges $350,000 to Boys & Girls Club
As if having Minnesota Vikings cornerback and Rochester native Marcus Sherels speak at Tuesday's Heroes Breakfast wasn't enough, the Boys & Girls Club of Rochester received a funding pledge and donations totaling more than $389,000 and a brand new van.
Aside from Sherels, it was Clements Chevrolet Cadillac Subaru that made the big splash during the annual breakfast fundraiser, which the Boys & Girls Club uses to celebrate Rochester youth and showcase a role model for kids.
Clements pledged $350,000 in funding during the next five years for a new program called "Clements Kids." The car dealership and the Boys & Girls Club will be working together to provide arts and athletics programs for club members.
"We co-developed the initiative with Clements," said Jodi Millerbernd, the club's executive director. She said Clements allowed the club to help design the program, which is unusual for organizations that partner with the club.
"Clements believes that kids will perform better academically when they have opportunities to excel in arts and athletics, so we'll be focusing on arts and athletics and academics," she said.
That will come in the form of enhancing the Boys & Girls Club's existing programs and adding new ones, as well as providing opportunities outside of the organization when possible. For example, if outside arts or athletics activities present themselves and members are interested in them, the club could provide scholarships and other kinds of support to help kids participate, Millerbernd said.
About 250 people attended the Heroes Breakfast at the Rochester Golf & Country Club on Tuesday, and that audience stepped up when the Boys & Girls Club asked for donations. The club asked for a match to the value of a $35,000 van Clements gave to the club during the event. The van will be used to help transport kids to and from the club and its activities.
As it turned out, people gave a total of $39,575, which, together with the van gift brought "tears of joy" to the Boys & Girls Club staff, Millerbernd said.
"It turned out to be a really fun thing. ... It was just a really special event," said Clements General Manager John Wade.
Wade came up with the initial idea for Clements Kids several months ago and began working with the Boys & Girls Club staff to develop the program.
"We began to talk about ways we could help the club advance their mission. And with a focus, particular, on ensuring that all kids, regardless of their household income, are able to participate in athletics and arts," he said.