PROVIDENCE — The Catholic Foundation of Rhode Island has awarded the Boys & Girls Clubs of Providence a $14,500 grant from its Vision of Hope-At Risk Parent/Child Support Program Endowment Fund.
The fund was established in 2002 as the result of the successful Vision of Hope Capital Campaign and provides annual grants to entities, diocesan and other, that offer broad support for at-risk populations involving parents and children.
“This donation to the community organization of the Boys and Girls Club is a nice example of the wide range of support and outreach that is made possible by the endowments housed in the Catholic Foundation,” said Msgr. Raymond Bastia, Vicar of Finance for the Diocese of Providence.
“There are many other charitable and spiritual activities that farseeing donors have chosen to support both now and well into the future.”
Nicole Dufresne, CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Providence, said the announcement of the award came as a great surprise to her and the organization.
“I am honored that Bishop Thomas J. Tobin is interested in our mission and wants to support our neediest young people by investing in our organization,” Dufresne told Rhode Island Catholic.
Dufresne joined the Boys & Girls Club at age 17 as the front desk attendant and credits her experiences in that nurturing environment with setting the foundation for her career success.
In 2004, she was hired as director of programs at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Providence before being promoted to chief operating officer in 2006. In 2009, she was named CEO, where she oversees seven programming sites which serve more than 3,600 members, ranging in age from 5-18. Of these, 55 percent are male and 45 percent female.
According to the organization’s statistics, 38 percent of children in Providence and 82 percent of those who attend the Boys and Girls Clubs live below the poverty line.
Members benefit from having a safe place to belong after school time hours, where they enjoy more than 110,000 meals served annually. They also have access to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math educational programs, along with career development programs. All of these support services provide young people with hope and a plan for the future.
Dufresne said the diocesan grant would greatly benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs’ Teen Youth Employment Program, its food program, as well as summer learning and swim lessons.
“I am fortunate to have found mentors along the way who taught me the importance of hard work and to never give up,” Dufresne said.
“This is why I am so passionate about our Youth Employment Program. I believe our young people are the answer to the economic challenges we face in our state. By investing in our young people, we collaboratively brighten the future for all. I am fortunate to have a job that connects people from all backgrounds and helps them get excited about working to save and change lives.”
The Catholic Foundation of Rhode Island was established as a nonprofit corporation in 1983 with the mission to procure and build endowment funds while serving as a permanent organization for the management and administration of these designated funds by the Diocese of Providence.
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