Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida recently received a significant contribution from the Grune Family Foundation to name the gymnasium at the organization’s Citi Teen Center after the late George V. Grune, a long-time Boys & Girls Club supporter, board member and donor.
The Grune Family Foundation, consisting of Betty Lu Grune, George’s widow, and their three sons George, Jr. (Pittsburgh), Robert (Ponte Vedra Beach, ) and Steven (Darien, Connecticut) pledged $200,000 to the Citi Teen Center to honor their father’s legacy and memorialize the gymnasium at the Teen Center in his honor.
Throughout his lifetime George Grune was deeply committed to Boys & Girls Clubs, both on the local and national level, supporting Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida and Boys & Girls Clubs of America. His devotion for Boys & Girls Clubs was developed while growing up in White Plains, New York, where he spent many hours enjoying the benefits of what the clubs had to offer. During his many years of leadership and service with Boys & Girls Clubs, Grune developed a passion for serving teens and programs that enhanced their leadership and character skills.
Grune served on the Boys & Girls Clubs of America Board of Governors in the early 1990s, eventually becoming their national chairman. After moving to Ponte Vedra Beach in 2000, he served on the local Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida Board. During these years of service, Grune contributed greatly to teen programming at the clubs both locally and nationally. As the former chairman and CEO of Reader’s Digest, he engaged the company to create educational scholarships for teens who were selected for the national “Youth of the Year” program, the highest honor a Boys & Girls Club member can receive.
“Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida is extremely appreciative of the generous investment provided by the Grune Family Foundation to honor George V. Grune’s legacy and his lifetime of service to youth at Boys & Girls Clubs,“ said Paul Martinez, president and CEO. “This generous gift will create great futures for youth in Northeast Florida by providing teens the opportunity to discover their possible career pursuits after high school.”
Originally known as the Laurence F. Lee Boys & Girls Club, the first Boys & Girls Club in Jacksonville, the club was renovated and re-opened in April 2019 as the Citi Teen Center. The Citi Teen Center focuses on creating great futures for teens through workforce development programs featuring a print and embroidery shop, robotics lab, barbershop, salon, recording studio, movie theater and gymnasium. Phase II of the Citi Teen Center, which should open in fall of 2021, features a culinary arts program complete with a commercial kitchen and catering hall.
Today, the Citi Teen Center provides area teens, ages 13-18, with a safe place to go after school to complete homework, have fun, reach their full potential and determine their path after graduating from high school.