When Lendlease began their ambitious project to develop Clippership Wharf on East Boston’s waterfront four years ago they began looking for local non-profits in the neighborhood to help.
With the help of former City Councilors Paul Scapicchio and Sal LaMattina, as well as Rep. Adrian Madaro and Sen. Joseph Boncore, Lendlease found the Salesian Boys & Girls Club on Byron Street.
General Manager of Development at Lendlease Nick Iselin immediately did a couple of things to help the Boys & Girls Club, an agency that services hundreds of neighborhood kids a year through afterschool and summer programs. Lendlease sponsored beautification projects at the club as well as other contributions through the Salesian’s fundraising campaigns.
However, Iselin wanted to do more.
Last Thursday Iselin joined Salesian Boys & Girls Club staff and kids, East Boston elected officials and Salesian board members to make a special presentation.
At the press conference Lendlease presented a $100,000 donation to Salesian Boys & Girls Club to replace the club’s windows that will save the Salesian thousands in energy costs. These savings can be put back to suring up the Boys & Girls Club’s vital youth programs.
“Glad to see this day come,” said Iselin. “We started this (development) plan four years ago to transform a little piece of East Boston’s waterfront and give residents better access. When we came here Paul (Scapicchio) helped us get the lay of the land of East Boston. So we began looking at the institutions here that really drive and shape the community and what impact we could have to leave a legacy and not just another development project.”
Iselin said that once Scapicchio introduced him to Madaro, Boncore and, at the time, LaMattina there was one agency that the three electeds kept mentioning as a place that really makes ‘Eastie tick”. That place was none other than the Boys & Girls Club.
“We know you guys are veterans of this place and it’s an important place to you and that really rubbed off on us,” said Iselin of Madaro and LaMattina.
The groundwork for the plan to replace all the windows at the club started over a year ago explained former Boys & Girls Club Director Father John Nazzaro.
“I remember it was a clean up day and beautification project Lendlease was doing at the club–putting in mulch, painting the walls and what have you–and Nick (Iselin) asked, “What do you really need at the club?”, said Fr. Nazzaro, who left the club for another assignment with the Salesians in New Jersey. “I immediately turned to him and said, “We need windows!”.
Nazzaro said that really began the process of replacing the club’s aging and less efficient windows throughout the club.
“It was really needed,” said Nazzaro. “I remember showing them some of the windows in one of the bathrooms that didn’t stay up. It was a huge window that came down like a guillotine. So not only were they not efficient they were dangerous.”
Nazzaro said the project to help cut the club’s energy costs will help the hundreds and hundreds of kids that call the club home.
“This is a wonderful thing and we are grateful that there are people in the community, like Lendlease, that have the means and knowhow to be able to help us,” said Nazzaro. “We would have never been able to afford to put these windows in on our own and without the help of Lendlease and that needs to be known.”
Current Boys & Girls Club Director Michael Triant who took over for Fr. Nazzaro last year added, “I’m truly blessed to be able to come in here and walk into a project such as this that has already been thought out, funded and the process moving forward. When you walked in you saw the amount of kids in the gym and the return on this investment will be something that will be realized for years to come.”
In addition to providing the funding, Lendlease has leveraged its expertise to source the windows and hire a Lendlease subcontractor to install the windows to help make this project a reality to improve the lives of hundreds of children that come to the Salesian Boys & Girls Club.