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Sprint CEO donates to University

| Monday, March 17, 2014

Sprint CEO and Notre Dame alumnus Daniel Hesse and his wife Diane made an endowed gift to the University as well as a donation to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America to bolster an ongoing partnership between the two organizations, according to a press release issued March 7 by the Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Joseph County (BGCSJC).
“The two service organizations that I have devoted the lion’s share of my time to for many years are the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Notre Dame,” Hesse said. “Each institution is different, but both have much in common.” Hesse said.
“I believe that each is the best organization of its kind in the world, and both are deeply committed to community service, so it was logical to think about a gift that would involve the two institutions together.”
The Hesses’ total contribution contains two components, BGCSJC executive director Jory Fitzgerald Kelly said. The larger portion, an endowed gift of an undisclosed amount to Notre Dame, will support the hiring of a new “full-time community-based learning and volunteer coordinator who will act as a liaison between the local Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Joseph County and the University,” she said.
“That position will really focus on working with the Center for Social Concerns at the University to identify, cultivate, train and place students from Notre Dame within meaningful volunteer opportunities at the Boys and Girls Club,” Fitzgerald Kelly said.
The second portion of the Hesses’ endowed gift, directed at the Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA), will allow the organization to develop and implement initiatives like a volunteer database to improve the group’s methods of contacting volunteers, checking their backgrounds, placing them with projects and thanking them for their support, Fitzgerald Kelly said.
“What we know about the Boys & Girls Clubs is that what we do best is to form positive relationships with the children that we serve,” she said. “By infusing more volunteers into our sites, we’re able to provide more individualized attention to the children that we serve and in doing so, we’re able to form more meaningful relationships with these children.”
Fitzgerald Kelly said the BGCA will measure the success of the Hesses’ gift by two markers, which constitute the main goals of the partnership between the organization and Notre Dame.
“The first is increasing the number of children served by what translates to about a 35 percent increase,” she said. “The second metric is … within the first 18 months of the partnership, increasing the number of Notre Dame volunteers to 75 on an annual basis.”
“Those 75 students will be able to supplant the efforts of staff to keep our adult-to-child ratio low, and we’ll be able to provide the kind of programming that we so proudly provide to children in the community.”
Fitzgerald Kelly said volunteer opportunities within the Boys & Girls Clubs will be “limitless” and, starting this summer, will include eight new internships through the Center for Social Concerns’ Summer Service Learning Program. During the academic year, science students will be able to visit one of the BGCSJC locations every Friday to teach biology classes.
Andrea Smith Shapell, assistant director of the Center for Social Concerns and director of the Summer Service Learning Program and Theological Reflection, said the new SSLPs will be placed in South Bend, Cincinnati, Kansas City and San Diego.
“The Hesses’ gift will allow more continuity for students interested in community-based learning, from the academic year into the summer with the BGCSJC,” Smith Shapell said. “The Boys and Girls Clubs who will partner with the SSLP across the country are very grateful to have additional college-aged mentors for the children in their summer programs.”
Hesse said his time as a student living in South Bend inspired him to make this gift to the University and the BGCA.
“I lived off-campus in the West Washington Street area my last two years at ND; there were significant campus housing shortages in those days,” Hesse said. “I was struck by the gap between affluent Notre Dame and the city it’s in. I tried to think of a way that Notre Dame and its students could contribute in a meaningful way to the city of South Bend.”
Fitzgerald Kelly said the endowed gift will serve not only the BGCA but also the University.
“[By] forming those partnerships and having that contact within the University, we’re just constantly brainstorming ways and ideas that we can have that relationship be a win-win to the University, the students at Notre Dame and to the children that we serve,” she said.
She said students interested in volunteering at the BGCSJC should contact Victoria Geschke at vgeschke@bgcsjc.org or 574-968-9660.

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About Lesley Stevenson

Lesley Stevenson is a senior news writer for The Observer after previously serving as News Editor and an Assistant Managing Editor. She is a senior from Memphis, Tennessee, studying Film, Television and Theatre (FTT) and American Studies and living in Breen-Phillips Hall. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @lcstevenson, and visit her website at lcstevenson.wordpress.com

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