East Palo Alto Boys & Girls Clubs basketball court honors McDonald's owner, philanthropist

Lauren Martinez Image
Wednesday, January 10, 2024
McDonald's owner honored for helping East Palo Alto community
The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula's East Palo Alto Clubhouse dedicated its basketball court to philanthropist Larry Tripplett.

EAST PALO ALTO, Calif. (KGO) -- Community members of all ages, including friends and family, are celebrating Larry Tripplett.

On Tuesday, the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula's East Palo Alto Clubhouse dedicated its basketball court to Tripplett.

"I'm just in awe because this was a dream come true," Tripplett said. "We always wanted a Boys & Girls Club here in East Palo Alto."

Tripplett's philanthropic spirit started after opening East Palo Alto's first McDonald's in 1988.

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His faith never wavered, even as East Palo Alto transformed from the nation's "murder capital" to a city with no murders in 2023.

"What the regional manager told me was, 'Well listen, you'll be able to make it. You're just going to have to go in there and help change the whole community' and I took that to faith," Tripplett said.

Tripplett said that 1990 and 1991 were a rough time.

"I lost business because people were afraid to stop," Tripplett said. "So to hear no homicides, then I commend the chief of police, the city council, everybody."

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The city of East Palo Alto wanted to commend Tripplett for investing in their future. Councilwoman Lisa Gauthier and Mayor Antonio Lopez presented a proclamation.

"The city council of East Palo Alto hereby honors and recognizes Larry C. Tripplett for his outstanding legacy of service to the East Palo Alto community. Thank you so much," Gauthier said.

As a former school principal, Tripplett believes a good education can change lives.

He was once a member the Center for a New Generation with Condoleezza Rice, Board President the Boys & Girls Club of the Peninsula, and last year he was a major donor to Oakland's first Ronald McDonald House.

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For the last 20 years, Tripplett has donated McDonald's meals to children at the Ronald McDonald House at Stanford.

"If you support the Boys & Girls Club or Ronald McDonald's House, you can't go wrong. You're a winner. That's the one investment you could make that you will not lose in," Tripplett said.

Tripplett was instrumental in bringing the Boys & Girls Clubs to East Palo Alto in 2000.

Jenny Obiaya, CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula, says Tripplett is a pillar to the community.

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Obiaya said the basketball court is just one way to honor all the work that he's done.

"We have generations of families who come here, starting from Kindergarten all the way to college through college, and actually today I see some of our recent college alumni coming back to visit," Obiaya said. "So it's a place where kids can come. It's a safe space where they can really learn to cultivate their passions, talents and a love of learning and be themselves. As the CEO of BGCP, I'm really standing on the shoulders of giants. Larry has contributed so much to the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula."

Tripplett said he's overwhelmed with gratitude.

"Many times when you get something named after you, you're not still on the planet. I am so fortunate to still be here to see my name and see the great work that they do," Tripplett said.

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