By Brandon Butler
Sentinel & Enterprise
September 26, 2009
FITCHBURG — When visitors to the Courtyard by Marriott Fitchburg throw money in the fountain at the entrance to the hotel, they’ll be supporting the Boys & Girls Club of North Central Massachusetts.
On Friday, hotel and water resort officials dedicated the fountain to the Boys & Girls Club and pledged to donate all money raised from the wishing well to the club.
“We always get asked, ‘what happens to the money?'” said Rick Lofria, director of sales and marketing for the hotel. “Now we have a great answer.”
Ladd Lavallee, chairman of the Boys & Girls Club of North Central Massachusetts Board of Directors, said the club gets most of its operational money from donations.
“In these economic times, it’s never been harder to raise money for our club,” Lavallee said. “At the same time, the economic conditions have made the services we provide even more valuable. So this, and any other donations, are really important for us.”
The Coco Key Water Resort opened in December along with a redesign of the hotel, now under the Courtyard by Marriott brand.
The Boys & Girls Club serves about 200 kids a day with after-school activities and homework help on their Leominster campus, Lavallee said. He said it costs an average of about $3,500 a year per student at the club.
John Caisse, owner of World Class Trophies in Leominster, created the plaque that hangs on the fountain.
It has the Boys & Girls Club logo and inscription, “Your wishes help make our dreams come true.”
Caisse said he tries to help out and donate materials to the club.
“It’s nice to be able to help out such a great organization like the Boys & Girls Club,” he said.
Matthew Doucette, general manager of the hotel, said the hotel wanted to make a commitment to the community and thought making a donation to the Boys & Girls Club was a good way to do that.
“We have a lot of kids that come and visit the park, so for them to be able to support themselves when they throw a penny into the fountain we think is a great thing,” Doucette said.
Doucette also credited Nancy Maynard, an assistant on the hotel’s managing staff as recommending to donate the money to the Boys & Girls Club.
Ken Jones, assistant to Mayor Lisa Wong, said Friday’s gift shows that businesses can help out the community.
“For just a little bit of effort businesses can contribute greatly to the community,” Jones said at the event.