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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.)