In the 1970s, John Thompson III saved the moribund Georgetown Hoyas program. Fourteen years after resigning from his post as head of D.C.’s top collegiate program, Big John’s efforts saved a D.C. area Boys and Girls club that was scheduled to close on Friday.
The Bill Butler-Julius Wyatt Clubhouse, which opened in 1972, has a $250,000 deficit and needed $42,500 this week to stay open for another three months, said Paul Alagero, the Boys & Girls Club’s local chief development officer.
Thompson's grandson saw News4's report Wednesday night and the legendary coach put up the money to keep the clubhouse open for the next three months.
“I have a foundation that I put together for that purpose,” Thompson said. “Most of the time we try to remain anonymous in the things that we try to get done, but I think it’s significant with this to try to get other people to try to help.”
Real estate developer and Boys & Girls Club board member Eddie Kaplan heard about Thompson's donation and will match it, the Boys & Girls Club said.
Aside from his four-year playing career at Providence, Thompson has been a fixture in the D.C. community his entire life. The clubhouse Thompson saved is aimed at preventing youth violence and is just a block away from a drive by that injured 13 last month. Thompson understood the urgency of saving that club and took action.
250 G’s is no small beans. At a time when athletes and celebrity figures are getting exposed for slapping their names on poorly run charities as a means to bolster their public images and to get a break from Uncle Sam around tax time without making a significant impact, Thompson’s contributions are as real as it gets.