By Rick Griffin
The Boys and Girls Clubs of East County Foundation is halfway toward a goal of raising $8.9 million in donations that will be used to construct a new clubhouse in La Mesa, renovate an existing teen center and fund an endowment to operate both facilities. Jerry Fazio, Foundation executive director, reports he has commitments of $4.45 million, including a $3 million pledge from La Mesa residents Mary Alice and Ron Brady, founders of The Brady Companies.
As a result of the Brady donation, Fazio said the new La Mesa clubhouse will be called the Brady Family Clubhouse. The 25,000-square-foot clubhouse, to be located in Highwood Park on the west end of the La Mesa Middle School campus, will be the largest of the six Boys and Girls Clubs of East County. With construction planned to begin in 2015, the new clubhouse will feature The Academy, a learning center, a full-service kitchen and nutrition center, a separate “Little Rascals” area for 5-to-7-year olds and a gymnasium named for La Mesas native, Helix High alum and NBA Hall of Famer Bill Walton. Walton also is a member of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America Hall of Fame.
Fazio said the Brady donation also will help renovate an existing teen center in La Mesa, to be renamed the Brady Family Teen Center. Owned by the City of La Mesa and operated by the Boys & Girls Clubs of East County, the teen center is a popular home-away-from-home for La Mesa’s 11-to-18 year olds since it was opened in October 2006. The Teen Center will receive an exterior face lift, interior upgrades, including flooring and carpeting, new furniture, computers and a security system.
Donations and pledges also will fund a permanent endowment to provide ongoing funding for the new clubhouse and teen center, Fazio said.