Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco is proud to announce that Chief Operating Officer Maxine Wilson has been named the 2020 recipient of the Herman S. Prescott Award for the Pacific-West Region by Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
The Herman S. Prescott Award is presented each year to a Club professional whose service emulates that of one of the Boys & Girls Club Movement’s great visionaries, Herman S. Prescott. The winner’s belief in the principles of diversity, equality, and empowerment must be the hallmark of their work within the Boys & Girls Club’s Movement.
“To be recognized for this award, based on the principles of diversity, equity, and empowerment, and in association with the legacy of Herman Prescott, is very meaningful to me,” said Wilson.
As an immigrant from Trinidad & Tobago, Wilson credits her mother and grandmother for bringing her to the United States and putting her on the path that led her to become the first female COO for Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco (BGCSF). Wilson has dedicated her 20-year career to working on behalf of at-risk youth. She is not only passionate about connecting young people to opportunities for success, but also to providing professional development and advancement opportunities to people of color and women — something deeply personal to her.
“Maxine is a strong and respected leader who understands the value of professional mentorship, especially for those unfairly marginalized or who lack the confidence to pursue the next growth opportunity,” said Rob Connolly, President of BGCSF. “Maxine has used her influence to ensure that our organization finds and retains great people, with an eye on ensuring that our staff at all levels reflect the diversity of our youth members. I am very pleased to see my friend recognized for her passion and talent.”
As Chief Operating Officer, Wilson oversees the day-to-day operations of BGCSF, providing leadership and driving accountability throughout the organization, and ensuring that the senior management team successfully executes BGCSF’s mission and strategic plan effectively. She directly oversees the organization’s human resources department and finance department, two key areas of decision making for BGCSF. In these leadership roles, Wilson has consistently engaged staff of color in leadership and growth opportunities through promotions, speaking roles, and her own mentoring, as well as establishing these staff members as mentors to others.
“As I climbed my way up at Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco, it was important to me to build staircases behind me for others to climb,” said Wilson. “From founding a young women-of-color staff group that I personally led, to opening new Clubhouses in diverse communities, to investing significant time in helping several small Black-led nonprofits utilize the Club as a fiscal agent — I am ‘all in’ on providing opportunities for people of color to advance and succeed.”
Wilson started and effectively ran a women-of-color group at BGCSF, with a dual aim of encouraging women to effectively raise their voice and find and pursue their career path at BGCSF or elsewhere. Wilson also mentors younger staff members both formally and informally and is looked up to by many in the organization as a strong example of strength, wisdom, poise, and professionalism.
Wilson worked as a youth development professional for various organizations in the Houston, Chicago, and Atlanta communities before beginning her career with Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta in 2001. She has continued with the Boys & Girls Clubs Movement ever since, joining BGCSF 18 years ago as a job readiness coordinator. Since then, Wilson has grown with the organization moving into various director-level positions, ultimately becoming the Chief Operating Officer in 2015.
Herman Prescott co-founded Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s The Professional Association. Prescott was not only dedicated to the professional development of African American youth workers, he was committed to bringing more diversity to executive leadership positions in Boys & Girls Clubs. He became involved because of his awareness of the need for minorities to participate in the decision-making process for the Boys & Girls Club Movement, to reduce the barriers that were limiting minority girls and their development, and to provide a vehicle for minority staff to carve out meaningful contributions in the field of youth work.
BGCSF is currently offering free support and training to Black-serving and Black-led individuals and organizations participating in The Dream Keeper Initiative, a citywide effort launched in 2021 to reinvest $120 million over two years into San Francisco’s diverse Black communities.
April is Arab American Heritage Month and I am excited to both reflect on what this month means to me personally and share how BGCSF and Camp Mendocino engage Arab youth and their families.
We are pleased to highlight a member of our Senior Leadership Team, Erin Gutierrez. Erin has served the BGCSF community for 15 years. Her experience spans multiple roles across the organization and provides a powerful and unique perspective on the holistic impact of BGCSF.