Milestone Award Winner – George Krupanski
WILMINGTON – When George Krupanski took a part-time job at Boys & Girls Club in Binghamton, N.Y., while in college, he had no idea that it would become his lifelong career.
A college scholarship from the nonprofit organization that operates after-school programs for the youth led Krupanski to work at clubs in Chicago and western Massachusetts before ending up at the national Boys & Girls Club of America headquarters in New York City. There he served as a regional director, and in the late 1980s, assisted the then-Boys Clubs of Wilmington in formulating a new strategic plan.
“The board wanted to serve girls and expand to some other sites in different parts of the state. So that strategic plan was kind of the impetus to grow the state organization and it sounded pretty exciting to me,” he recalled.
That change was a significant undertaking as the organization reformatted programming and staff to accommodate both genders and offer equal opportunities, but it ultimately proved successful with the growth of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware.
Krupanski served as president and CEO of the nonprofit for 27 years (1990-2017), growing it from two locations to more than 40 statewide, serving more than 30,000 youth annually by his retirement after serving about 3,200 at his start. The annual operational budget also grew 12-fold, while its endowment doubled.
Krupanski attributed his decades of success to the buy-in of local communities.
“We’re fortunate because the approach we took was to involve and engage a number of business and community leaders in each community that we opened a club,” he said.
Krupanski became a valued executive in the national organization and continues to advise programs around the country. He has also served on numerous boards outside of the BGC, including the Delaware Workforce Investment Board, Delaware Nature Society, Tower Hill School, New Castle County Chamber of Commerce, and United Way of Delaware, among others.
“I think that kind of service is critical. You need to know the community you serve, and you need to know what other organizations are doing to determine how you can help,” he said.