Madison philanthropist W. Jerome Frautschi is joining his wife in supporting the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dane County’s newest venture — a regional workforce center to get youth into the skilled trades — with a $1 million donation to the project.
The organization announced the donation Thursday, saying in a statement the money will be used on construction and operating costs for the center planned to open in Fitchburg in the summer of 2022.
“We are incredibly grateful for this investment in the future of our young people in our community,” Michael Johnson, president and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dane County, said in the 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 center is envisioned to offer technical training to participants for careers like plumbers, electricians, HVAC technicians, carpenters and other in-demand, well-paying professions, the clubs said.
Last month, American Girl Doll founder Pleasant Rowland, who is married to Frautschi, provided a $5 million donation through her foundation to help launch the fundraising effort for the workforce center.
The clubs hope to raise $35 million over five years to construct and create an endowed fund for the center. John McKenzie, owner of McKenzie Apartment Co., plans to purchase and donate a site for the center, the clubs said.
“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,” Frautschi said in the statement.
Frautschi and Rowland are longtime philanthropic pillars in Madison, particularly for the arts, but the duo have been especially active in the past year with large-dollar donations going to various organizations and endeavors.
They pledged $18 million in June to the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras’ plan to build a $25 million, 40,000-square-foot music center on the site of the now-closed Avenue Club and Bubble Up Bar at 1128 E. Washington Ave.
In March, Rowland donated $14 million for One City Schools to purchase an office building in Monona to expand the fast-growing independent charter school. Frautschi donated $10 million in February to help support a new Wisconsin Historical Museum in a yet-to-be-determined Downtown location, while days earlier, UW Hospital announced a $10 million gift from Rowland for the construction of a new transplant clinic.
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