Editor’s Note: Rob Connolly, President of the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco, spoke to Gap Inc. employees recently to help announce the dedication of a new Clubhouse to Gap Inc. co-founder Don Fisher. Below is a portion of his speech.
Over six years, I had the good fortune to really get to know Don Fisher, and enjoyed my time with him tremendously. He understood the importance of being a leader in his community.
I can’t tell you exactly what it was about at-risk youth that motivated Don but it was certainly more than just providing them a safe place to go after school. I suspect what motivated him was the pure frustration of watching human potential wasted. Don understood “value”, we all know that, but I love the fact that he saw significant value in children who others were very willing to write off and, too often, happy to forget.
Don was just 36 years old when he got involved with our organization.
More remarkable than his early start was the fact that Don, a prominent American and international business icon, remained on the local Boys & Girls Club board until the end of his life.
He had a keen understanding that his involvement brought prominence and credibility to our organization, the field of youth development, and the cause of supporting at-risk youth. This was very important to us.
His longevity as a volunteer for the Club also displayed that he understood the importance of committing to a cause and an organization long-term.
Years ago, I talked to Don about naming a Clubhouse after him. He liked the idea but was too modest to fully embrace it.
After talking with his sons over the past 18 months --- and clearing it with Doris --- we decided it was the right time to honor Don for both his commitment to at-risk youth and his dedication to service and philanthropy.
The future Don Fisher Clubhouse will change the lives of thousands of young people. We could not be more excited to partner with Gap Inc. and Gap Foundation to make this important project a reality. I truly believe it would have made Don proud to know we’re continuing his good work and making his beloved hometown a better place for generations of young people.
Gap Inc. and Gap Foundation are collectively donating $1 million, comprised of employee donations, corporate matching dollars, and a Gap Foundation grant.