January 17, 2011
BENTON TOWNSHIP, MI – During Lake Michigan College’s sixteenth annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration at the Mendel Center for Arts and Technology, the College presented its tenth annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Diversity Award to Doug Schaffer, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club of Benton Harbor.
The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Diversity Award is presented annually by the LMC president and Board of Trustees to an individual(s) or organization that embraces and values the diversity of the greater community and promotes connections across differences. Criteria include a demonstrated commitment to enhancing inclusion through community service and professional endeavors; contributions to the progress of humanity, diversity, and the valuing of differences; and leadership in providing increased understanding and respect for diversity.
“We selected Doug for this award because of his unwavering commitment to helping young people,” stated Judy Truesdell, chair of the Lake Michigan College Board of Trustees. “Through his years of coaching at LMC, and now in a leadership position with the Boys and Girls Club of Benton Harbor, his positive influence has made a difference in the lives of countless youth in our area.”
Schaffer became the head men’s basketball coach at LMC in 1998 and eventually became athletic director in 2000. He served not just as a coach, but also as a mentor to his athletes, paying attention to their need to excel in the classroom as much as during a game.
While coaching at LMC, Schaffer also developed the LMC Youth Basketball Camp where 150 area youth learned basketball skills each summer. He arranged for full scholarships for Boys and Girls Club members to participate, giving them the same access to coaching as other area youth. These recipients interacted with other young people from almost every school in Berrien County.
In August 2008, Schaffer became the executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Benton Harbor. Over the last two and a half years, average daily attendance at the club has increased more than 50 percent from 134 to over 200 while sustaining a 90 percent high school graduation rate among active club members.
“Doug is the type of person who not only talks about connecting with people but who lives it on a daily basis. It’s who he is,” stated LMC President Dr. Robert Harrison. “His passion for working with young people makes him a role model to emulate.”
Schaffer also serves on the Lake Michigan College Foundation Board and the Consortium for Community Development. He lives in Benton Harbor with his wife Peggy, and their two daughters, Jenna and Rylee.
Past recipients of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Diversity Award are Michigan Works! Berrien Cass Van Buren; Marc Peremans and Wendy Ortiz from the Whirlpool Hispanic Network; Martha Cerda and Pedro Ledesma of Enterar Magazine; Van Buren Intermediate School District Administrator Pedro Martinez; All God’s Children Community Choir founders Larry and Sandy Feldman; Reverend James E. Atterberry, Sr.; retired Whirlpool Corporation chairman and CEO David Whitwam; retired Atlantic Automotive Components president Pete Whitehead; Berrien County Judge Mabel Johnson-Mayfield; former Benton Harbor Police Chief Samuel Harris; and former Benton Harbor City Manager Dwight “Pete” Mitchell.