Boston, MA — Black & Gold tiles complimented the eggshell white walls. An autographed hockey stick with a hand drawn “Let’s go Bruins” sign hung in the center of the room. Men and women in business attire gathered around small chairs, children’s toys, and the spot where they hope many young people will have the opportunity to learn for years to come.
On Monday, September 24th, Boston's Ellis Memorial held a grand opening and welcomed its donors -- including the Boston Bruins Foundation, which donated $250,000 -- to the charity's new children's center in the South End.
"It’s a special night. To see this come to fruition it’s very satisfying," said Bruins Principal Charlie Jacobs. “Beyond satisfying, it just makes me very happy to know that we really are going to help a lot of children here for the coming years."
The building, located at 58 Berkeley Street, is adjacent to the current home building for Ellis Memorial.
The oldest settlement house in Boston, Ellis has served the community for 127 years, and before the opening on Monday night, Jacobs and Executive Director of the Boston Bruins Foundation (and former Boston College and B's forward), Bob Sweeney, spoke about how important it was for the Black & Gold to be a part of such a special project.
"We are very active in the communities of our fan base—of course here in Boston—but throughout New England," explained Jacobs of the region-wide mission of the Boston Bruins Foundation.
Sweeney echoed those sentiments and said, "Our mission is enhancing the quality of life for children, whether it’s through health, education, community outreach, academics, and this, this is a good project to be a part of."
Other distinguished guests for the center's grand opening included Boston mayor Thomas M. Menino, who gave a speech to all in attendance, as well as City Counselors Bill Linehan and Felix Arroyo, and Ward Five Representative Richard Pien.
The school’s CEO, Leo Delaney, praised the Bruins for their continued support to Ellis’ endeavor to expand.
"Having the Bruins take the leadership, and join us, is showing that we have an outside influence and an outside source that supports us publicly," Delaney said. "It’s really a nice commitment, and a nice sponsorship we’ve developed over the years."
As Jacobs and Delaney spoke with BostonBruins.com in the Boston Bruins Foundation classroom, the two smiled as they recounted how the new space and classroom came to be.
The Bruins outreach with Ellis began in 2004 when the Bruins Foundation pledged $25,000 to the program. In the eight years since, the B's contribution became a major grant which has since decupled in value.
However, beyond the nostalgia for the project's humble beginnings, both stressed the importance the school’s mission, and the education of young people.
"It’s so gratifying to be in here today, standing next to Leo, seeing this, knowing that we’re going to touch a lot of youth here in the South End," Jacobs said.