9 Who Care: PJ Cosgrove helps expand and serve the Boys and Girls Club of the Corridor

In his time with the Boys and Girls Club, PJ has helped the organization expand to Marion and Iowa City to now serve around 300 kids in the community.
Published: Jan. 9, 2023 at 11:26 AM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - P.J. Cosgrove is a native of Cedar Rapids, and after graduating from Iowa State, he moved to Florida, before coming back to call Iowa his home again.

He started his career at Collins Aerospace, and started to get involved in the community.

John Tursi, Executive Director for the Boys and Girls Club of the Corridor, and P.J. had been friends since high school, and that’s how P.J. got his start with the organization.

”You know the flood of 2008 was just devastating for the Boys and Girls Club, and it was a few years after that, that we just got together, and he asked me, he said ‘hey, do you still have any interest in maybe joining our club and being on the board and bring in some of that experience that you’ve had in your career back to what’s going on the board?’ And it was absolutely. It was a no-brainer,” said Cosgrove.

For P.J., he wanted to be hands-on and all in.

”Trying to understand what’s going on, trying to provide my advice, bringing that connection back to Collins Aerospace and making sure that the largest employer in Cedar Rapids at the time still had a vested interest in what was going on there and being a conduit back there to provide resources. And doing that to me, that was it was you know, the time, the talent, the treasure, trying to bring all three of those things together was my focus and motivating factor,” said Cosgrove.

Sarah Hoeger, Director of Grants & Marketing, said nominating P.J. for 9 Who Care, was an easy decision.

”When he first started. He made an effort to go out to all of the sites and see all of the kids. Meet them, get involved in all the activities they were doing,” said Hoeger.

In his time with the Boys and Girls Club, P.J. has helped the organization expand to Marion and Iowa City, to now serve around 300 kids in the community. But with their capital campaign to help build their own building, P.J. said they’ll be able to expand to serve even more.

”It’s going to more than triple the number of kids that we’re able to serve. It’s going to expand us to be able to bring in middle schoolers and high schools, which we kind of lost when the flood happened, and we had to disperse because we didn’t have our own facility,” he said.

And he said the need to serve more kids is greater now, more than ever.

”When you’re a kid, you get in trouble. That’s just how kids do it, right? And I think today there are just a lot more ways to get into trouble. And it means a lot more if you get into trouble. It sticks with you, and so a place like Boys and Girls Club... these kids a positive place to come, hang out, be kids. A place where they’ve got a lot of good role models,” said Cosgrove.

Hoeger said it’s nice to have a board member who cares so much about the Club and the families they serve.

”It’s really a great feeling to know that we’ve got board members that you know are willing to help us grow and to use their connections in the community. And just to be able to, like I said, help us grow and help the kids that need us most,” said Hoeger.

But P.J. said being a 9 Who Care nominee is motivation to continue helping the organization.

”I guess I look at it as a challenge to do more, right? Cause that you know to me this was nothing. This is just something that I did because it’s the right thing to do. It’s just how I am,” said Cosgrove.

Working to serve the kids and families in the corridor for years to come.