CELEBRATE – Scholarship & 2015 HOF

On October 30, 2021 the Neighborhood Boys and Girls Club will celebrate its 90th Anniversary and induct seven new members into the Hall of Fame. The event will be at the White Eagle Event and Convention Center in Niles, Illinois. Be sure to save the date. Look for event details on NBGC’s website, social media posts, emails and other sources.

This blog entry highlights the 2015 class of Hall of Fame inductees (below is a link to the program for that occasion). We also take time to celebrate our scholarship programs over the decades.

Enjoy the memories… and more importantly, make plans with your family and friends to join teammates for a wonderful night to celebrate the NBGC!

Tickets to the 90th Anniversary and Hall of Fame Celebration are on sale now and can be purchased online at:

When the NBC was organized in the 1930s it gave neighborhood boys a place to go and somewhere to belong. For Ray Baumhart, Hall of Famer and future Reverend, it became so much more. In the video, “A Great Ride”, (see the link in our blog post of August 15th – “A Great Ride”), Rev. Baumhart tells how the athletics and leadership programs helped to build his confidence. Perhaps more importantly, founder Robert Buehler introduced Ray to the idea of going to college. Mr. Buehler graduated from the University of Illinois and the University of Chicago, and understood what great advantages higher education provided. No one in Ray Baumhart’s family had ever gone to college, and he had never considered it (and this was also the middle of the Depression). Mr.Buehler saw the potential in Ray and convinced him to pursue his education. When WWII arrived, Ray was ready to enlist, but Mr. Buehler did not want to see him drop out of college- so he arranged for Ray to be interviewed by the Army, the Navy and the Marines officer training programs. Ray chose the Navy. They sent him to Northwestern and Harvard- leading to all his achievements later in life.

A college education has been central to the NBC/NBGC culture since those early days.

In 1960, the Club announced a new Scholarship Program:

​The first five winners are named and each awarded $200.00:

Subsequently, the first Scholarship Dinner was held on January 10, 1961:

The program continued to grow until a change came in 1984. Alumni Association and Board members ​Joe Walsh and Jim Baumhart (brother to Ray) moved the funding and administration of the scholarships to the Alumni Association. Funds were raised specifically for Scholarships and were restricted for that use. (Previously the scholarship awards came out of the Club’s general operating dollars).

After the Girls Programs started, the first girl Leaders were awarded scholarships in 1996:

​The program has continued to grow over the decades and impact the lives of our members. And, as with Rev. Ray Baumhart, many of these young men and women would have never considered college, or had the means to attend, without the encouragement and support of the NBGC.

Scholarships are awarded from the general resources of the Scholarship Program. But many of our alumni, families, businesses and charitable organizations have set up their own specific scholarships which they fund every year. If you are interested in donating to this Program- which is at the heart of “For Better Men and Women”- please contact the Club.

Read in our previous posts about other Hall of Famers who have grown our scholarship awards. And a special thanks to Board Member Tom Lyons who currently oversees the program. He and his committee help organize the events, interview the candidates, select the winners and make the awards. Contact Tom to find out more about how you can help in this process. And hear from him how rewarding it is see the kids’ confidence grow every year as they master valuable job interview skills.

In 2021, due to the pandemic, the Club held a virtual Scholarship Event: They awarded $90,000!

Jim Baumhart

Bob and Anna Mae Cole

The Cole family became involved in the Club in the 1950s- the sons as members, the daughter as a cheerleader, and Anna Mae as an enthusiastic volunteer. But Bob, Sr. worked 7 days a week, including holidays. Nevertheless, every year he was able to join his family at the Turkey Bowl- all together, they would cheer each other on. After retiring, Bob joined his wife as an avid volunteer.

Herb Preiner

After a childhood illness, doctors said Herb would never be able to play sports. He joined the NBC in the 1930s, played all the sports, joined the military, played basketball at Loyola and lived to 91. That’s why the NBC/NBGC is still here!

Tom and Mary Nickels

Tom VanDenBosch

Johnnie Weigelt

Leo Wollins

One of the first, Leo Wollins was there at the founding of the Club. He organized and led the Forum, and was an original Board member.