Filling the gap with love
Founder and CEO of Pride Stores Bob Bolduc and his wife Roberta support the community in a variety of ways, their main focus being children, families, education, and people in serious need.
Over the past 20 years, the Bolducs have been major supporters of CHD programs, especially MaryAnne’s Kids.
This special fund supports children and teens in foster care by providing the means to pursue interests in music, dance, art, sports, summer camps, and other extracurricular activities.
“We look to support solid groups where we know the management and board are people we can rely on,” Bob says. “We look for good programs where we know there’s need, the money is well-managed, and it’s not coming in from other sources.”
Throughout the year, the couple handles all requests for contributions to MaryAnne’s Kids events and campaigns.
During the holidays, Pride sells paper ornaments, each sale serving as a direct donation. Their campaign in 2019 brought in nearly $16,000 based solely on Pride customer support. (The Bolducs generously rounded up to $20,000.)
Pride also invites patrons to contribute to their Giving Tree for MaryAnne’s Kids, which grants individual holiday wishes to foster kids in the community. As an added bonus, the Bolducs throw a holiday party for kids in the foster system at their Fifties Diner in Chicopee, MA.
“We want to do our part to make a difference in their lives,” Roberta says, stressing how important the formative years are for every child. “Children have a right to be children,” she says. “Part of our drive in doing this is we want to see kids be able to be kids and have as happy a life as possible.”
The Bolducs appreciate the benefit of giving locally, of seeing exactly where their contribution goes and the difference it makes to the community.
They also acknowledge how the giving landscape in Western Massachusetts has changed. Today, charitable giving comes largely from a handful of philanthropic individuals and businesses rather than the large manufacturing companies and banks that were present 25 years ago.
“We make our money from the community, so we have the opportunity we remind people that as they support us, we’ll support the community,” Bob says. “Most national companies don’t give to small groups, they give to big groups, so there are few people left to give locally,” he explained. “We’re trying to fill that gap.”