Posted: March 17th, 2015


Hyde Family Foundations issue a $100,000 matching grant to make cutting edge technology available at all Memphis Clubs. MEMPHIS, March 23, 2015 – Boys & Girls Clubs members will soon be able to climb Mt. Everest, visit the Museum of Natural History, program robots and participate in virtual classrooms thanks to the new mobile labs donated by Chris and Michelle Clothier and the Hyde Family Foundations. 

Chris Clothier, Memphis Invest Director of Sales and Marketing,  has made a business of investing in high return ventures and believes that nothing has greater potential than children. Thanks to Clothier’s $35,000 donation, and the funds provided by the Hyde Family Foundations’ $100,000 matching grant, the Bernal E. Smith Sr. Club and the Ira J. Samelson Cubs will both be receiving new high-tech mobile labs. “Ensuring all children and students in our community are adequately prepared for the knowledge and tech based economies of the 21st century is vitally important to our mission and key to Memphis remaining a world-class city,” said Gretchen Wollert McLennon, Hyde Family Foundations program director for authentic assets and communications. The new labs are part of the technology revolution happening at the Boys & Girls Clubs. Steve Bargiacchi, CEO of ProTech Systems Inc. and Boys & Girls Clubs board member worked with industry partners and the Shelby County Schools to determine the best hardware to integrate into the Clubs programs to help reach their goals. 

The new labs include 24 ruggedized for education convertible laptops, two large scale presentation monitors and a security cart to allow the labs to be moved to any room in the Club. Keith Blanchard, CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis, said the new technology programs are part of the organization’s plan to create great futures for its Club members. “Our goal as professionals is to help shape kids that have big goals and give them the tools they need to achieve them,” Blanchard said. “Our local partners are telling us that there is a shortage of young talent in the pipeline for the growing field of technology careers. As we unveil these labs at each of our Clubs we’ll be able to offer education enrichment activities and broaden our members’ perspectives on what it means to work in an IT field.” Enticing young talent to the fields of technology is one of the primary interests of local companies like ProTech. “As our industry grows so does our need for a larger pool of prospective employees,” Bargiacchi said. “By investing in the Boys & Girls Clubs and recruiting like-minded people to the cause we have taken the first step toward providing the tools and programs that will lead these young minds toward careers in IT.” 

The Technology Councils of North America (TECNA) reported in a recent study that, in Tennessee, technology related professions now account for 3.3% of the workforce or more than 100,000 jobs. In 2014 the report showed that nearly 30,000 jobs went unfilled due to a lack of qualified applicants.  The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis is committed to providing great futures for kids. The technology launch is part of a week-long celebration of National Boys & Girls Clubs week celebrating the impact Clubs have on our kids and our community. Visit for a list of activities or to find a Club near you. 

Details about the event:   

Date:   March 24th, 2015 

Time:   4:00 Program Tour 4:30 Check presentation 

Where: Bernal E. Smith Sr. Club, 4299 Ross Road, Memphis, TN 38141 

What: Kick-off of our new IT programs and mobile lab technology at the first two sponsored Clubs and announcement of the $100,000 Hyde Foundation Matching Challenge. Interviews with hosts and club members will be available. Hosted By: Gretchen McLennon, Hyde Family Foundations program director for authentic assets and communications, Chris Clothier, Memphis Invest director of sales and marketing, Steve Bargiacchi, ProTech Systems Group Inc. CEO and Keith Blanchard, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis CEO. 

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis mission is to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. The Memphis Clubs serve more than 3,000 members between the ages of 6 and 18 each year by providing the fun experiences and critical guidance kids need to build bright futures. The Boys & Girls Clubs, Great Futures Start Here: visit to learn more and follow us on or

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