Before Bill Kelt climbed the ladder of success with Lowe’s – first as a store manager, then district manager, market director and now vice president of store operations – he was one of the thousands of members of Boys & Girls Clubs of America. He joined the Farmington, New Mexico, Club in 1978, after moving there with his family.
“At that time, the community was growing at such a fast pace that there weren’t a lot of options available for kids,” Kelt said. “Boys and Girls Clubs were one of the only places kids could go to participate in sports.”
And while he played basketball and soccer at the club, it was the values Kelt learned there that had a tremendous impact on his career. He gives the Boys & Girls Clubs credit for molding him into the successful leader he is today.
“I learned the importance of being philanthropic and teaching others to be philanthropic. Teaching and giving others a path to participate and volunteer in those environments has been incredibly rewarding for me. It’s also taught me a lot about patience. Not only in the work environment but with family.”
And while Kelt has continued his involvement with the organization – he’s currently a Board of Directors member for the Dallas, Texas, chapter – he was thrilled to return to his childhood Club in Farmington to participate in a special ribbon cutting ceremony. The reason for the celebration? To unveil a refurbished basketball court – the same court Bill played on nearly forty years before.
The court was refinished as part of Renovation Across the Nation, an annual $2.5 million initiative where Lowe’s gives a $50,000 grant and hands-on support from employee volunteers to one Boys & Girls Club in each of the 50 states to refurbish the facility. Kelt was excited his old club chose to redo the court with its grant and is proud of how local Lowe’s employees came together to support the efforts.
“A 50,000 grant goes a long way to refurbishing a Clubhouse. Think about how many kids that will play basketball on this court. The condition of the court, prior to our investment, was deplorable. So, I’m really proud of how the team here at the Farmington Lowe’s came together to do the demolition. Blood, sweat and tears went behind this remodeling. Hundreds of volunteer hours went behind this Clubhouse.”
The homecoming was an emotional day for Kelt and one that he’ll remember for years to come.
“Knowing that we’ve had an impact by donating $50,000 for this Club is incredibly powerful. I’m humbled by this donation and to see the progress that has been made here and understanding the impact it’s making on the local community and the thousands of kids that attend this club each and every year.”
Now in its second year, the Renovation Across the Nation initiative will have reached 100 clubs by the end of 2017 with $5 million worth of renovations, ranging from critical infrastructure upgrades to newly updated spaces for specific programming such as arts or sports to lounge areas designed to help clubs expand their teen membership.
Nearly four million youth in America, ages 6-18, spend out-of-school time at Boys & Girls Clubs, where they receive support and encouragement to reach their full potential. By receiving $2.5 million in grants through Lowe’s Renovation Across the Nation initiative annually, Boys & Girls Clubs of America can continue to further enhance club offerings and provide additional support for at-risk teens and children nationwide.
I’m humbled by this donation and to see the progress that has been made here and understanding the impact it’s making on the local community and the thousands of kids that attend this club each and every year.—Bill Kelt, Vice President of Store Operations