It would be easy to simply take the money and run, but that's not what retired Bell's Brewery founder Larry Bell did. He rightfully has earned the right to take a victory lap, but on his way out the door (figuratively) he wrote a check for a million dollars to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Kalamazoo.

And the timing couldn't be better. The million dollar donation takes the total amount of the Boys and Girls Clubs fund-raising effort to over $7 million dollars, and will allow them to build a new Boys & Girls Clubs facility near downtown Kalamazoo. Kalamazoo Public School is replacing Edison Elementary School, which has headquartered the organization.

The new 30,000-square-foot flagship facility will have areas for "computer work, arts and media activities, health and wellness, quiet study space, games and sports space, science exploration, and teen activities." The Boys and Girls Clubs currently serves 1,300 kids locally, and this new building will also serve its administrative needs, according to Boys and Girls Clubs leadership.

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Says retired Boys and Girls Clubs CEO Bob Ezelle,

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity....I am pleased to be part of an effort that truly gives children and teens a place where they feel like they belong, and it gives us an opportunity to mentor and build character.

“Our programs are very popular with area kids,” said Hamilton,. “We already serve 1,300 children and teens in our region each year, and we anticipate serving many more youth in this new facility.”

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