Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee (BGCGM) today announced it has received a $2 million donation from longtime donor and trustee Albert Nicholas, founder and chairman of the Nicholas Company, Inc. – a Milwaukee-based investment advisory firm – to fund and develop a recreational basketball league within its clubs. Nicholas has been a supporter of basketball programs at the clubs for over 20 years, having created the Little Dribblers program, which teaches the basics of basketball, team work and leadership to young members ages 6 to 12. BGCGM will now offer basketball programming to nearly 2,000 members.
The new league, the Emerging Athletes Basketball League (EABL), will be offered to student-athletes in 3rd through 8th grades who are looking to learn and play basketball in a competitive league sponsored by the clubs. In addition to being a part of the basketball program, members will be required to complete academic support programs. The initiative provides all members the opportunity to not only learn basketball skills, but be a part of a team.
Commenting on what inspired him to give the gift, Nicholas said, "I want to give kids the same opportunities I had with basketball. I played at the Boys Club when I was young, and it made a difference in my life. It is my pleasure to make basketball accessible to all members in Milwaukee, helping them open doors to a bright future."
As part of the program, participants in EABL will be obligated to complete minimum weekly hours of tutoring as well as online learning programs which provide customized learning plans to members. Program managers will correspond with parents and education coordinators to track student’s individual grades and progress.
The EABL league will run throughout the academic year; boys will play EABL games in fall and late spring, and girls will play games in the winter. In addition, members will have the opportunity to participate in basketball camps and clinics before, during and after the seasons. Funding for the program will support staffing, equipment, uniforms, transportation and clinics. Games will be played at the following clubs:
- Augusta M. LaVarnway (2739 N. 15th St.)
- Daniels-Mardak (4834 N. 35th St.)
- Don & Sallie Davis (1975 S. 24th St.)
- Mary Ryan (3000 N. Sherman Blvd.)
- Pieper-Hillside (611 W. Cherry St.)
- Roger and Leona Fitzsimonds (3400 W. North Ave.)