National Boys & Girls Club Milbank Award honors McGraths, Mobleys and Pitts

October 19, 2012
Santa Paula News

Three couples found they have a lot in common when Tom and Brianne McGrath, Mike and MaryAnne Mobley and Colin and Margaret Pitt were honored with the National Boys & Girls Clubs of America Jeremiah Milbank Society Award for their generous support of area youth.

The couples were honored at the October 2 Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clara Valley “Breakfast of Champions,” where hundreds of club supporters gathered to celebrate support for youth.

Milbank (1887-1972) was a club devotee and treasurer of the national organization for more than a quarter of a century whose son followed him into club service, becoming national chairman. According to the Boys & Girls Club of America website, Milbank Sr. “gave of himself generously to Boys & Girls Clubs of America and others. His extraordinary lifelong concern for youth and those less fortunate has changed the lives of millions and is the inspiration for The Jeremiah Milbank Society.”

Society membership is granted to those that contribute at least $10,000 in a single year to a club organization. The strong support of the McGraths, Mobleys and Pitts, said Club CEO Jan Marholin, “is an important investment in our club that has impacts” not only on programs, operations and staffing, but also “in keeping our doors open” for the youth of the Santa Clara River Valley. 

Known as the Positive Place for Kids, Marholin said the club’s motto was reinforced to her after retired as a school principal and observed how it also is a place of learning. “Kids like to learn, especially when they don’t know they’re learning,” and the Club’s atmosphere of encouragement by caring adults encourages accomplishment. Marholin said the club also provides tools for the youth: computers to do research and homework as well as special hours to concentrate on same.

Mobley is the past president of the Club’s Board of Directors and is currently treasurer. The McGraths also serve as Club directors.

The Jeremiah Milbank Society is designed to engage leading donors by strengthening their understanding and support of Boys & Girls Clubs, and by recognizing their deep commitment to the children of their community. 

Milbank has been described as a man of remarkable accomplishments as a businessman, financier and philanthropist who led efforts for the international study of polio in 1928. His International Center for the Disabled is still a national leader in rehabilitation services.

He also understood illness in the social sense, which deprived children from disadvantaged backgrounds of a fair chance in life. Milbank helped President Herbert Hoover develop what became the Boys & Girls Club national organization, and served as treasurer for more than 25 years.

Throughout his lifetime Milbank gave a fortune to help those in need, yet he never sought monuments or memorials. He believed that wealth not used to help others was wealth wasted.

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