Gary Rebelo is the president and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northern Rhode Island. BGCNRI was officially created in late February, when the Boys & Girls Club of Cumberland-Lincoln and the Boys & Girls Club of Woonsocket agreed to merge.
PBN: What was the catalyst behind the merger of the Cumberland-Lincoln and Woonsocket clubs?
REBELO: It’s simple, we wanted to increase the impact of the Boys & Girls Clubs’ vision. Before we merged, I was the CEO of the Cumberland-Lincoln club and Dan Grabowski was the CEO and founder of the Woonsocket club. Both clubs were in a good place financially and providing much-needed services to local youth but [existed] just miles away from one another. We thought if we put the two organizations under one umbrella and shared resources, we could offer members a more complete experience. So far, it seems to be working.
PBN: How can the organization better provide for these three communities under one brand?
REBELO: Once we finalized the merger, each location immediately gained a brand-new crop of members who can enjoy its facilities. Not all Boys & Girls Club locations are built the same. For example, the Cumberland-Lincoln location is fortunate to have a full-size basketball gym and swimming pool. The Woonsocket location doesn’t have the gym and the pool, but it does have a boxing program and a splash pad. Now that we’re under one umbrella, members from both clubs can enjoy both facilities’ amenities and programs.
PBN: How many youths will be able to receive services from this new amalgamation of previous clubs?
REBELO: The Boys & Girls Clubs of Northern Rhode Island currently serves over 4,000 youths through programs, sports and recreation, education, the arts, and health and wellness.
PBN: What are your goals as head of this new, larger venture?
REBELO: All of us under the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northern Rhode Island umbrella have the same mission. To, through the services we offer, inspire and enable young Rhode Islanders to realize their full potential. The decision to combine Cumberland-Lincoln and Woonsocket will help us accomplish this goal and give us the opportunity to expand our footprint to additional communities in northern Rhode Island.
PBN: The announcement of the merger mentioned an expansion of services; what will this new brand offer that wasn’t previously available?
REBELO: The immediate impact of the merger was the opportunity to offer Cumberland-Lincoln members access to Woonsocket’s facilities and programs, and vice versa. The long-term impact, we hope, will see the BGCNRI umbrella expand into additional northern Rhode Island communities. Our goal is to serve the youths of northern Rhode Island by providing them with an experience that ensures a pathway to a great future.