William Tell Fritzler—who goes by Tell—admits that his parents had “a heck of a sense of humor” when naming him. Sitting behind his desk at the Boys & Girls Clubs in the Danville Area (BGCDA), the Director of the Annual Fund & Special Events simultaneously laughs and talks while explaining, “My mom, the librarian, really liked William Tell Sackett, the main character in the popular Sackett series of books by Louis L’Amour. My dad, a military man, liked the marching music of the “William Tell Overture.”It was almost a given that their son should be named William Tell.
When asked where he was born, Tell has a story for that too. The answer to the birth question is Wyoming buthe calls himself a native of Amherst County and “a product of the Sweet Briar College library.”There is a good explanation. When Tell was very young, his mother began working in the Sweet Briar library where his fondness for education was nurtured. “I grew up playing on campus, swimming in their pool, fishing in their lakes during the summers, and hanging out with wonderful people,” he says remembering his childhood at the private liberal arts college for women in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
As a young adult with a degree in history from Lynchburg College, Tell returned to Sweet Briar College during the 2015 financial crisis to help save his beloved school from closing. “I was fortunate to be the Development Assistant for phase one of theirNext Is Now Campaign to raise the necessary funds to continue operations. It was a grassroots effort to re-engage alumnae,” he says, adding after a pause, “The College is doing well now in fundraising.”With the successful completion of that project, Tell learned of a position in Danville that promised to be just as fulfilling. “I had heard about Boys & Girls Clubs, but never thought of it when picking a career because we didn’t have one where I lived,” he reflects. After a two-hour conversation with a mutual friend of the local Boys & Girls Clubs Chief Executive Officer, Faith Stamps, Tell was intrigued. He compares the Sweet Briar job and the BGCDA job: “At Sweet Briar, I was focused on raising money to keep students in college. At Boys & Girls Clubs, the focus is on getting kids into college. I thought that helping boys and girls who otherwise wouldn’t have an opportunity to attend college would be very rewarding.”
With the decision made, Tell started to work at the local non-profit youth organization in January 2017. Over the next twelve months, he and a team of volunteers accomplished one big goal—raising $250,000. That, however, didn’t mean the job was finished.“We want to continue engaging the community, sustaining that level of giving, and building relationships,” he says with a passion that lets the listener know he is determined to make it happen.Tell doesn’t mind asking for financial gifts to provide after-school care for youth ages six to eighteen with a focus on academic programs and healthy lifestyles. “What’s the worst that could happen?” he reflects and then answers his own question, “
Someone might say no.”That doesn’t bother Tell and he explains why, “Danville has a very strong sense of community. People care about it a lot. I don’t see that in bigger cities. People here who have the capacity to help, they invest in their community, their homes, and other people.” With his positive attitude and a love of engaging people in conversation, Tell’s job as Director of Annual Fund and Special Events is a perfect fit for him and an invaluable asset for the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Danville Area.
Looking over his notes about the upcoming Blue Jeans Gala to benefit the children in the Danville area, Tell realizes that the planning is almost complete. The only thing left to do is don a pair of blue jeans and have a good time. He invites you to join him.
The 4th Annual Blue Jeans Gala to benefit BGC of the Danville Area will be held on Friday, March 23, at the Gentry Farm, 202 Cane Creek Court, Ringgold, from 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Cost is $30 a ticket and includes one drink, food catered by Golden Leaf Bistro, music by DJ Larry Stamps, and door prizes. Cash bar available. Must be 21 to attend. All ticket sales are in advance at www.EventBrite.com.
For more information, visit www.facebook.com/BoysGirlsClubsOfTheDanvilleArea or 123 Foster Street in Danville and 956 Woodlawn School Road in Chatham or call 434.792.6617.