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Mike Cote's Business Editor's Notebook: Brian Tremblay has forged ties between businesses, Boys & Girls Club

December 10. 2017 2:05AM

Brian Tremblay, director of philanthropy for the Boys & Girls Club, talks with Lyric Charpentier, 7. Tremblay will retire on Thursday after 42 years on the job at the Manchester club. (THOMAS ROY/UNION LEADER)

The businesses that support the Boys & Girls Club of Manchester offer a prime example of the diverse interests a nonprofit needs to thrive.

The club's 24-member board includes representatives from law firms, finance, health care, technology and several other sectors. It includes corporate brands like Planet Fitness, Comcast and Coca-Cola and well-known local players like Amoskeag Beverages, Cross Insurance and Southern New Hampshire University.

For most of his 42-year career at the nonprofit, Director of Philanthropy Brian Tremblay has worked with the board on fundraising projects, such as the $7.3 million remodel in 2010 that expanded the club's Union Street headquarters by 50 percent. This week, Tremblay is retiring. And at least one long-term board member isn't happy about it.

"I hate the idea he's retiring, he's so valuable to the community and the club," Stephen McMahon, of The McMahon & Wright Group of Wells Fargo Advisors, said by phone Friday. "Luckily he and I are going to keep working together. He's going to work on a contract basis. We do a lot of the fundraising together. And he's great at it. Everybody loves Brian."

MacMahon and Tremblay, who have become close friends over the years and brew beer together, say the same thing about the current board.

"I've seen the board for 32 years. This is our best board," McMahon said. "We just keep getting stronger and stronger and stronger. We've got really good people."

Part of that comes from longevity. The Boys & Girls Club staffers are known for their long tenures. On a recent morning, you could find Dick Jarvis outside sweeping the sidewalk. The 81-year-old, who use to teach kids arts and crafts, is long retired from the club but still works part time and volunteers extra hours.

"One of the amazing things about the Boys & Girls Club, not only is it the staff who stick around a long time, so do board members," McMahon said. "We don't have term limits. And people tend to stay after they get to know the kids."

Tremblay agrees.

"These folks are, No. 1, passionate about helping kids," Tremblay said at the club on Thursday. "That's where it starts. You have to be passionate about the kids. They love what the mission stands for and how we accomplish that mission."

Brian Tremblay, director of philanthropy for the Boys & Girls Club, as he talks to Natalie Ashton, 9, and her sister Keira Buckley, 9. Brian is going to retire after 42 years in Manchester on Thursday. (THOMAS ROY/UNION LEADER)

Tremblay's title used to be director of development. But a few years back, the club changed the name of the position to "director of philanthropy." It didn't really change the way Tremblay did his job, but it underscored a change in philosophy.

"We were focusing on changing the way we look at our fundraising as not being about the money. It's more about the impact that the money has," said Tremblay, who will be celebrated Friday with a retirement party at the Radisson. "When I talk to someone about supporting the club, I tell them, 'I have an opportunity I think you would be interested in, and I'm not going to ask you for $25,000.' What I'm going to do is talk about the impact that this capital campaign is going to have on kids and the change it's going to make in their lives."

The club is in the quiet phase of a capital campaign to raise money for a 4,900-square-foot addition to its Union Street campus, which currently has about 34,000 square feet of space that includes its original gym - which sports a new floor thanks to a special capital campaign - a computer room, arts performance area, game rooms and a radio station.

It also has plans to renovate Camp Foster, the 22-acre summer center it operates in Bedford, where it has a pool and a pond.

"I can't wait to come back in 10 years and see what this organization is doing for kids in this community because it's going to be a lot more than it is now," Tremblay said. "I'm certain of that."

Diane Fitzpatrick, the club's chief executive officer, said the club's services, which have expanded in recent years to add a daily meals program, dental care and computer studies to the traditional sports and recreational activities, have grown with the city's changing demographics. The club serves an average of 560 kids a day, including many from refugee and immigrant families.

"The needs continue to change. What I'm so proud of is the club continues to reflect the community it serves," she said. "To be that nimble and be able to make that happen, is pretty powerful stuff."

Contact Business Editor Mike Cote at 206-7724 or

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