Mark Pocan recognized as national champion for youth by Boys & Girls Clubs of America

    U.S. Congressman Mark Pocan presents a check for $2.5 million to Michael Johnson, president and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Dane County, on Monday at Park Hotel in downtown Madison. Funding will be used for a new Boys and Girls Club in Janesville, a gym in West Central Boys and Girls Club, and the new McKenzie Regional Workforce Center in Fitchburg. (Photo: Boys & Girls Club of Dane County)

    Boys & Girls Clubs of America awarded U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan with the prestigious 2023 Congressional Champion of Youth Award at the Park Hotel in downtown Madison on Monday afternoon. The award is the highest honor given to a government official.

    “Mark not only delivered for our club kids, he advised us on a successful strategy,” said Karen DeSanto, CEO of West Central Wisconsin Boys & Girls Clubs, in a statement. “Mark is always accessible, promotes clubs across our community, meets with our club kids, and gets them what they need to thrive.” 

    Recognizing distinguished leadership and extraordinary commitment, the award is given to leaders for exhibiting above and beyond service for club youth, the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County said in a press release Monday. Pocan was recognized for his work in almost tripling appropriations to clubs across the county in 2022.  

    As a member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, Pocan advised clubs across the country on how to navigate the application process, increasing club funding nationally from $26 million in 2021 to over $74 million in 2022. Pocan was also instrumental in securing appropriations for additions at the Stateline Club in Beloit, for a gym used by club youth in Reedsburg, and $1.2 million for the McKenzie Regional Workforce Center being built by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dane County

    “Representative Pocan’s leadership was pivotal in securing funds for our new workforce  development center,’ said Michael Johnson, president and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Dane County. “This is going to have a tremendous impact on the future careers of kids across Dane County, and Mark went above and beyond to make sure it happened.”