March is Women’s History Month, and we want to highlight some women in Boys & Girls Clubs that have made in an impact in one way or another.
Boys & Girls Clubs of America had its beginnings in 1860 with three women in Hartford, Connecticut – Mary Goodwin, Alice Goodwin and Elizabeth Hammersley. Believing that boys who roamed the streets should have a positive alternative, they organized the first Club. With character development as the cornerstone of the experience, the Club focused on capturing boys interests, improving their behavior and increasing their personal expectations and goals. A cause was born.
In 1990, to recognize the fact that girls are a part of our cause, the national organization’s name was changed to Boys & Girls Clubs of America in 1990. Accordingly, Congress amended and renewed our charter.
Jenny Krueger, CEO of BGCNETX
Jenny first started her career with Boys & Girls Clubs as a Unit Director for Boys & Girls Club of Texas Hill County in 2004 and later became Executive Director in 2007. In 2009, Jenny became the first woman to become Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Texas. Jenny has been responsible for leading the organization in fulfilling its mission to provide a safe environment for youth, offering guidance and inspiration to help them grow up to be productive, caring, responsible, citizens.
WWE Women’s Champion
At the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida, Trinity overcame intense shyness by socializing and making friends with other Club members. After high school, she became a dancer for the NBA’s Orlando Magic. In 2009, she joined WWE, reaching the pinnacle of sports entertainment by twice winning the SmackDown Women’s Championship, including an epic victory in 2017 at WrestleMania 33. Since 2013, Trinity has been a featured cast member on the hit reality series, “Total Divas on E!” She also participates in WWE’s Be a STAR rallies speaking to youth about bullying prevention, emotional intelligence and how young people can help end cyberbullying by spreading positive messages on social media.
Former Miss Oregon USA and CEO of EAG Sports Management
The Club gave Denise a safe place to grow, learn, and get some TLC when she needed it most. After leaving foster care, a friend introduced Denise to the Escondido Girls Club, later the Boys & Girls Clubs of Escondido. After the trauma of custody trials and bouncing from foster-home to foster-home, the Club was just what the 6-year-old needed. Club staff took extra time with Denise, helping her emerge from the tough space she was in. For her grandmother, the Club was a vital support system. After graduating from college, Denise’s love of sports led her to create EAG Sports Management providing athletes with career management. Over the past 23 years, Denise has built EAG into a major player in the sports industry.
Author and Philanthropist
As a kid, Lucille O’Neal attended the Boys Clubs of Newark, N.J. Today, she is a celebrated author and mother. After raising four children, she returned to school, earning a business degree in 2003 and a master’s degree in 2005. She founded the Mothers of Professional Basketball Players, which supports youth-serving organizations such as the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida. She has helped Boys & Girls Clubs of America with initiatives addressing hunger, literacy and family strengthening. Her son, basketball great Shaquille O’Neal, was inducted into the Alumni Hall of Fame in 2000.
Singer, Actor, and Dancer
Actress, singer and dancer: in the entertainment world, this is known as a “triple threat.” Club alum Jennifer Lopez is all that and more. Lopez honed her performing skills at the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club where she was an early member of the Club’s Performing Arts Program. Lopez made her feature film debut in 1995. Her 1997 portrayal of slain Tejana singing star Selena won Lopez a Best Actress award from American Latino Media Arts. Also a popular recording artist, Lopez’s albums have sold millions of copies worldwide.
PR Professional and Philanthropist
When 12-year-old Monique walked into the Boys & Girls Club of Dayton, she was welcomed with open arms. It meant the world to Monique’s mother to know her daughter had a safe place to spend her time constructively. Monique grew up to become a P.R. and marketing professional, representing clients such as T.I. and Kanye West. She has also developed marketing campaigns for companies such as Verizon, Turner Networks and Motorola. With her husband, Tim “Timbaland” Mosley, Monique is the founder of the Always Believing Foundation, which works to address the health and wellness of youth. She is also an ambassador to the United Nations Youth Foundation, and a trustee for Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
Chief Operations Officer
Lorraine Orr serves as Chief Operations Officer. She leads field services and activities across the Boys & Girls Club Movement, with a focus on strengthening the capacity and sustainability of Clubs. She is also responsible for the Movement-wide advancement of youth and Club metrics; programs; and child safety and protection strategies. In addition, she oversees leadership development for Clubs and BGCA national staff.
Lorraine also provides direct support, counsel, information, input and feedback to the National Area Council Committee. She drives significant national partnerships to advance BGCA’s mission, and works closely with other senior leaders to develop and execute key strategies and initiatives that drive organizational objectives.
Lorraine joined BGCA in May 1997. She has held several field service roles, including Regional Vice President for the Southeast Region, and her most recent position of Senior Vice President, Field Operations. Prior to her work with BGCA, Lorraine was the Chief Professional Officer of the local Boys & Girls Club in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Lorraine’s leadership and commitment to youth have been recognized both locally and nationally. Among these honors is the coveted “Others” Award, which she received in 2015. She has also received Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s National Professional Service Award, The Professional Association’s Contribution to the Profession Award for the Southeast Region, and the National W. Errol Sewell Leadership Award for Outstanding Leadership in Field Services.
During Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s annual meeting earlier this month in Houston, Tex., the national non-profit’s board voted to name long-time board member and supporter, Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz board chair elect. Schwab-Pomerantz, senior vice president of Charles Schwab & Co. Inc. and board chair and president of Charles Schwab Foundation, will take on the leadership role’s two-year term in 2021, following David Seaton, former CEO of Fluor.
“For many years, Carrie has continually enhanced her commitment and invaluable support of Boys & Girls Clubs of America as a board member and advocate of our national financial literacy partnership with Charles Schwab,” said Jim Clark, president and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of America. “Carrie has also served as a board member of a local Boys & Girls Clubs of America affiliate, adding to the vast experiential base she possesses. The next few years are critical for our organization’s Great Futures 2025 plan, in which we will inspire and empower even more Club youth to achieve success, and champion opportunities for all young people in America. We look forward to Carrie’s guidance and expertise as we continue to build upon this vision for Boys & Girls Clubs across the country. Following Carrie will be another passionate and dedicated leader from the Boys & Girls Club organization, Chris Abele. Like Carrie, his experience on the local affiliate board in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and as a national governor for Boys & Girls Clubs of America, provides the backdrop and foundation for continued advancement of our organization.”
The board offers strategic leadership for the organization, guiding the work of more than 4,600 service locations and impacting 4.7 million kids and teens annually. As the leading advocate for youth, Boys & Girls Clubs of America provides life-changing and transformational programs, along with opportunities for all kids and teens.
“Being actively involved with Boys & Girls Clubs of America for the past 15 years, I’ve witnessed first-hand the positive influence its programs have on a child’s life. I couldn’t be more proud to serve in this important leadership capacity,” Schwab-Pomerantz said. “There is no organization more dedicated to every aspect of a child’s development, from financial literacy and health and wellness programs to workforce readiness and leadership skills development. I stand committed to ensuring we reach more young people with exceptional programming to help them reach their full potential as productive, caring and responsible citizens.”
Milwaukee County Executive and Boys & Girls Clubs of America board member Christopher Abele will be the board chair elect following Schwab-Pomerantz. Abele is currently chair for the finance and government relations committees on the organization’s board and has been an important supporter of local Clubs and the national organization for many years.
“I’ve been proud to be actively involved in the Boys & Girls Clubs organization for more than 20 years,” said Abele. “Today, Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s mission of empowering youth is more critical than it has ever been. We have a driven, and passionate board that always impresses me with their commitment to delivering the best counsel and direction. I’m excited for the opportunity to lead the board and committed to doing so in a way worthy of the privilege.”
To learn more about Boys & Girls Clubs of America, its programs and partners, go to www.bgca.org.