Home Local News W. Jerome Frautschi Foundation donates $1 million to BGCDC Youth Workforce Center

W. Jerome Frautschi Foundation donates $1 million to BGCDC Youth Workforce Center

Boys and Girls Club CEO Michael Johnson with kids (Photo by Hedi Lamarr Photography)

Philanthropist Jerome Frautschi is donating $1 million to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dane County for their new regional workforce center scheduled to open in the summer of 2022 in Fitchburg, BGCDC announced on Thursday.

Philanthropist Jerry Frautschi

“We are incredibly grateful for this investment in the future of young people in our community,” says Michael Johnson, president and CEO of BGCDC, in a statement. “It will allow us to continue providing opportunities for thousands of young people throughout Dane County to help them earn a sustainable living.”

The funds will be used to cover construction costs and ongoing operating expenses to provide life skills and technical training to prepare participants for jobs as plumbers, electricians, HVAC technicians, carpenters and other in-demand trades, according to BGCDC.

Jerry Frautschi and his wife, Pleasant Rowland, are major philanthropists in the Madison area, where Frautschi’s family has been based for several generations.

 “The BGCDC plays a vitally important role in helping to prepare the youth in our communities for their future success,” says Frautschi in a statement. “The new workforce center will be a shining example of vision, collaboration and community support. Pleasant and I are both proud to be among the organization’s many supporters.”

The average annual pay in the Madison area for skilled trades jobs is about $43,000 or $21.50 per hour. BGCDC serves youth from a variety of backgrounds so the center will help diversify the workforce. The idea for the workforce center came from conversations between Johnson, John McKenzie, who is scheduled to purchase and donate the future site of the center, and the Madison Area Builders Association, which is partnering with BGCDC on the project.