Brealand credits the organization with introducing him to friends he's had for more than 80 years, including one who still joins him for dinner each Monday.
He said he was amazed at the improvements the Wissahickon branch had undergone.
"I'm overjoyed," Brealand said. "When we were kids, we would've loved to have a big building like this."
Substantial recent contributions are funding improvements all over the city, from hiring additional teachers and investing in technology to renovating athletic facilities - as the $900,000 donation by the Phillies' Shane Victorino is set to do.
"The way I sum it up is we create good citizens," said Michael Colavita, chairman of the group's board. "We have been extremely pleased with the fund-raising campaign."
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Philadelphia currently serves more than 13,000 children. According to club statistics, 99 percent of the members moved on to the next grade last year, and 96 percent of those in their senior year of high school graduated - well above the city average.
Saundra Gray, an alumna and part of a family that has sent generations through the Boys & Girls Clubs since her mother in the 1930's, recalled her days swimming, cooking, and practicing interpretative dance at the clubs. Her children moved through in the 1970's and 1980's, but she continues to be involved.
"It's wonderful to know that you have a place that you can send your children for safe haven," Gray said.
Frances Hunter, another alumna and a current board member, has been working with the organization since 1987. As a child, she went to boarding school and didn't know anybody from the neighborhood. The Boys & Girls Clubs became her "lifeline."
Gray, Hunter, and Brealand, while going through the program at different times, shared similar positive experiences. Brealand said he would never forget organizing dances, playing sports, and meeting special people in his days at the club.
"If I had my life over again, Wissahickon Boys Club would still be my favorite place to play," he said.
Contact staff writer Dan Moberger