The Boys & Girls Club of Burlington on Monday received a $1 million gift from Tony Pomerleau and his family, the largest gift in the organization's history. The unrestricted gift will support the club’s mission and educational programs along with scholarships for youth who are participants in the Club’s Early Promise Program. Club officials said the gift will transform the mission and educational programs at the club and allow it to serve more Burlington children.
Ernie, left, and Tony Pomerleau. VBM file photo
Ernie Pomerleau said that his father Tony Pomerleau and the Pomerleau family calls the scholarships that their gift will fund “the scholarships of hope”. In addressing the kids in attendance, Ernie said, “We know that your Boys & Girls Club is helping you create your vision for your futures. My family is proud to be able to help you realize your visions.”
In addition to the announcement, the Pomerleau family hosted a party for the 150 Club members in Roosevelt Park for the first day of summer camp at the Club. The Pomerleau family was joined by Senator Patrick Leahy, Congressman Peter Welch, Mayor of Burlington Miro Weinberger and Secretary of Education Rebecca Holcombe and others at the celebration.
Senator Leahy said, in his remarks made directly to the kids, “You can be anything you want to be. We are all here today because we care about you, your Boys & Girls Club cares about you, we believe in your future and hope that you take full advantage of the help that your Club can now offer to help your with your education.”
The gift from the Pomerleaus’ will be given to the Club over a 10-year period to be used specifically for education program support and scholarships. Today marked the first annual Pomerleau Scholarship Awards that were awarded to seven Boys & Girls Club Early Promise Program Participants who are going to college this fall.
“This is a big day for the kids who depend on the Club every day,” said Mary Alice McKenzie, executive director of the Club. “We have been working for many years to find the resources necessary to make the dream of a sustainable life a reality for the kids we serve. This gift from Tony and the Pomerleau family builds the foundation we need to continue our work. And it gives us the ability to help many dedicated kids pay for college through the Pomerleau scholarships.”
In addition to presenting the scholarships today, Tony Pomerleau received the Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s National Medallion for Exemplary Service from Kevin McCartney, Vice President of Government Relations of Boys & Girls Clubs of America. And in recognition of the legacy of the Pomerleau Family, the Club was renamed to become The Pomerleau Family Boys & Girls Club of Burlington.
ABOUT THE BURLINGTON BOYS & GIRLS CLUB
The Boys & Girls Club of Burlington was started in 1942 and today serves approximately 1000 individual children and youth from kindergarten through high school. The Early Promise Program was created to help children who depend on the Club succeed in school and attend college. The Club also provides year round education, athletic, arts & music and outdoor adventure programs. The mission of the Boys & Girls Club is to inspire and enable youth in our community, especially those who need us most, to realize their full potential as productive, healthy, caring and responsible citizens.
ABOUT TONY POMERLEAU
Tony Pomerleau started in business in Burlington more than 70 years ago by borrowing $3000.00 dollars to purchase a series of neighborhood grocery stores. Since that time, Tony Pomerleau has built one of Vermont’s most successful and extensive commercial real estate companies. Mr. Pomerleau is known for his generosity to children in need and is one of Vermont’s most prominent philanthropists.