Boxers, Bowties And Millennial Philanthropy

With many of his classmates and friends, 2003 Weston High School graduate Andy Porter spent the last few years flying all over the country for bachelor parties and weddings.

He and his buddies had a great time. But they also realized it would end. Soon, they’d focus full-time on families and careers.

How, they wondered, could they stay close over the next 20 to 40 years?

Porter and his pals know full well how lucky they were to have grown up in Fairfield County. (His roots here are deep: His grandmother — an architect — designed all the houses on Porters Lane, off Bayberry; his father was a 1967 Staples High School grad.)

Two years ago, they made a decision: They’d get together every year, to volunteer and raise money for a good cause.

The group of 9 put their professional talents to work. The accountant and finance men handled the money. The lawyer got 501(c)(3) status.

The marketers came up with the name — Boxer Bowtie Club — and the catchphrase: “Gather. Give. Grow.”

Then they went to work.

They chose the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp as their first beneficiary. Growing up near its Westport headquarters, the Boxer Bowtie members knew the amazing work it does, providing fun and friendship for seriously ill kids (and their families).

Their initial event was a black-tie cruise around Manhattan. 250 people showed up — and raised $75,000.

The Boxer Bowtie Club was not messing around.

Last year, they repeated the cruise. This time a crowd of 450 contributed $100,000.

The Boxer Bowtie Club on a Manhattan fundraising crew. Lady Liberty is in the background; a boxer is in front.

But the guys — who by now number 20 — are not satisfied with one activity a year. Each member is asked to volunteer at least 5 times a year.

Not all of those efforts are connected to the club. But some are — and they’ve spread beyond the tri-state area.

On May 6, Boxer Bowtie guys will travel from all over the country to Dallas. They’ll raise funds for Education Opens Doors, helping at-risk students navigate the college process.

Their 3rd annual New York gala is set for the fall. The original 10-year goal — to send 40 kids to the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp — was accomplished in just 2. Members will decide soon which camp project or need to tackle next.

The Boxer Bowtie Club, after helping out at the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. Andy Porter is at far right. Others (from left): Brooks Foley, Matt Silver, Brett Reis, Kale Butcher, Luke Dudley, Adam Luchansky.

“All of our roots are in Fairfield County,” Porter notes. “We were so fortunate to have had parents, teachers, coaches and resources to help us. So we’ll always have some projects with ties to the area.”

As you read this story, you may be thinking of Go50. That’s the Westport group — profiled recently on “06880” — of local men, ages 50 and up, who dedicate time, energy and money to great causes. They’ve done quite a bit, by coincidence, for the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp.

Porter saw that story, and realized that despite the age differences, there were lots of similarities between the 2 groups. He hopes the millennial Boxer Bowtie Club and baby boomer Go50s can at some point partner — and have fun — together.

The Boxer Bowtie Club (above, at the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp) hopes to work with another group that helps that Westport-based organization: Go50.

Of course, the Go50 men have already sent their children off to college. Many of the Boxer Bowtie guys don’t even have kids yet. But — after all those bachelor parties and weddings — they’re on the way.

Porter says that’s one more reason the Boxer Bowtie Club is important. “We hope we’re developing a new generation of philanthropists. We want to do that now, not later. And it’s something we can model, to pass on to our kids.”

So what about that “Boxer Bowtie” name?

“We’re all very loyal — to each other, our communities, and people in need,” Porter explains.

“Dogs are loyal too. We all had dogs growing up. And boxers are some of the most loyal dogs of all.”

As for bowties: At every annual fundraiser, one of their sponsors — David Fin neckwear — hands out bowties, with boxers on them.

It’s fun. It’s informal. It’s a way of bonding.

And it’s definitely not something you’d get at a bachelor party.

(For more information on the Boxer Bowtie Club, click here. Founding members are Kale Butcher, Emil Defrancesco, Luke Dudley, Glen Kendall, Adam Luchansky, Andy Porter, Brett Reis, Matt Silver and Ryan Squillante. Sponsors include the Trunk Club, David Fin and Stella Artois.)

9 responses to “Boxers, Bowties And Millennial Philanthropy

  1. Adam Vengrow

    Awesome! Need more groups like this, changes the world! I’m fortunate that I’m part of one. Thanks and great story on these guys!

  2. Beth Berkowitz

    Awesome. So happy to hear of these kinds of stories. It’s inspiring to hear that these two groups enjoy helping others while getting together and having fun at the same time.

    My husband does a similar thing with a foundation he founded. Called: Across the Globe Children’s Foundation or ATGCF, which helps children at risk, children locally and all over the world. He has partnered with many different organizations to bring clean water to villages in Latin America, schools and libraries to areas that have had none in the past or flimsy structures where they couldn’t have classes when it rained, he has helped many local public schools, especially in Stamford and Bridgeport. (He has partnered with Jimeale to help her expand from just helping Cesar Batalia to being able to also help Reade School when you posted the story about the teacher there who told us they needed help too.

    He has helped kids get medical treatment where there was none locally and they needed heart operations and other medical treatment. He has some other projects he is currently working on locally and a few across the globe. His focus is on the future generations.

    Unfortunately we haven’t been able to focus any time on fundraising yet and have been self funding this organization for now. We are hoping to be able to do both in another year or two.

    I love hearing about all these philanthropic ties to 06880. I’m so proud that so many from Fairfield county have taken it upon themselves to to give back to others less fortunate than we are. Happy people have realized how blessed we have been.

    So much better than those entitled to park however and wherever they choose!

  3. Joyce Joiner

    That’s a mighty fine group of guys! Weston HS turned out some great folk— I’ve liked almost everyone I met who went there! Love their approach to philanthropy: It starts with a state of mind… the money comes from that seed!

  4. That is indeed impressive in terms of the amounts they are raising.

    Also, I suspect Andy is related to our classmate, Brett Porter, who earned the nickname “The Human Eraser” before Marvin Webster–at least that’s the way I remember it–as the starting 6’1″ center and defensive presence on our intramural basketball team.

  5. That should read 6’1″

  6. I’ll try once again. 6 feet, one inch. The point is, Brett had great leaping ability and was a massive presence inside playing against much taller players.

  7. Excellent! Keep it up.

  8. Fabulous commitment to each other and the greater community.
    You hit the jack pot in volunteering for Hole In The Wall Gang Camp.
    Bringing Boxer/Bowties and HITWGC together. Both groups are the way life should be when it comes to caring and kindness and long term commitment, plus FUN!
    be well and carry on!

  9. What a great story, Dan! Very heartening.