Giving Tuesday Kicks Off Season of Giving

Five years ago, the good people of 92nd Street Young Men’s and Young Women’s Hebrew Association (92nd Street Y) , a community center in New York City, came up with the idea of a day of giving to kick off the holiday season. Social media blog Mashable used their incredible reach (6,000,000 Twitter followers, 3,200,000 Facebook fans) to help spread the word. With the help of founding partners Skype and Cisco, Giving Tuesday was born on November 27, 2012. The first Tuesday after Thanksgiving would become a day when people would reach in to their pockets and donate to a worthy charity. The first Giving Tuesday was a tremendous success.

In 2013 Google entered the partnership and Giving Tuesday received extensive media coverage. Charitable giving on that day was twice what it had been the year before. By 2014 Giving Tuesday was being observed in 68 countries and resulted in an estimated $45.7 million in charitable donations. There was still plenty of room for the movement to grow as a survey that year revealed that only 18% of Americans were familiar with Giving Tuesday, compared to 93% familiar with Black Friday.

Last year Giving Tuesday broke records again with an estimated $168 million in donations worldwide, and this year is looking to be even bigger. Meanwhile, it has morphed from a single day of giving to the kick-off for a season of giving.

Join the CLUB

After being awarded a Givers Gain® Grant, which went toward a class library, a class of fourth graders in Miami were inspired to form a Monthly Hero Club by donating to the BNI Foundation. Teacher Jennifer Stay, wife of BNI Executive Director and Chairman Emeritus of the BNI Foundation Board, Jeff Stay, explained to her students what the BNI Foundation is and what it does. The students were so touched by the needs of children around the world that they decided they would each donate $1 a month to become a collective BNI Foundation Monthly Hero.

BNI Foundation co-founders, Beth and Ivan Misner were impressed by the social responsibility and initiative exhibited by the students. They deemed the group Mrs. Stay’s 4th Grade Class CLUB.

This Giving Tuesday, and during the season that follows, the BNI Foundation is asking BNI members around the world to Join the CLUB. If each member of a chapter donates just two or three dollars a month, we could have Super Hero Chapters all over the world. The more chapters that participate, the more schools and students we can help with our Givers Gain Grants of $1000 each.

As further incentive, the region with the highest percentage of Chapters who Join the CLUB between November 28, 2017 and January 15, 2018 will receive a personal visit from BNI Foundation Co-Founder, Beth Misner, and BNI Foundation Board Chair, Kevin Barber. Beth and Kevin will participate in both an outreach project with a community school and a social event with the regions’s members.

Please consider showing the kids how much their efforts mean by Joining Mrs. Stay’s 4th Grade Class CLUB today!

Mrs. Stay’s 4th Grade Class CLUB

After Mrs. Stay’s 4th grade class was awarded a Givers Gain Grant to purchase a class library, Mrs. Stay, wife of BNI Executive Director and Chairman Emeritus of the BNI Foundation Board, Jeff Stay, showed her nine-year-old students the BNI Connect 5 2016 film to explain more about what the foundation is and how the foundation builds a conduit between business and education.

When these children realized how many kids around the world have serious needs, some of them became tearful. They told Mrs. Stay they wanted to each begin bringing a dollar a month to school so their class could be a BNI Foundation Monthly Hero.
She asked them to each write a compelling letter home to their parents to get permission. Each child’s parent(s) agreed! Now, these amazing kids exhibit extraordinary leadership and social responsibility by bringing $1 per month to which Mrs. Stay adds the difference so the class can be a BNI Foundation Monthly Hero at $50 per month.

When BNI Foundation co-founders, Beth and Ivan Misner, learned what an entire class of nine-year-olds is doing, they knew this was too amazing to go unnoticed.

So, Mrs. Stay’s 4th Grade Class CLUB was born, and what better way to kick off this giving season then by asking your BNI Chapter to Join the CLUB to acknowledge their leadership and how inspiring they are, as kids, to us, as grown-ups.  We would love your BNI Chapter* to become BNI Foundation Super Hero ($100 per month). Every chapter that participates will help us send more grants to more teachers and impact more kids’ lives in your communities. 

It’s that simple!

 

Please tell Mrs. Stay’s class: YES! Our Chapter will Join the CLUB today! 

As Mrs. Stay’s 4th graders have proven, our Givers® Gain culture can truly make a difference.

Let’s take the lead from these 9-year-old students and show them what we can do to make their educational experiences better!  

* Each chapter’s members only need to donate a few dollars per month for most Chapters to reach the Super Hero ($100+ per month) level.

Terms: Mrs. Stay’s 4th Grade Class CLUB will be running from Giving Tuesday, November 28, 2017, through January 15, 2018. The region with the highest percentage of chapters that Join the CLUB will receive a special, personal visit from BNI Foundation Co-Founder, Beth Misner, and BNI Foundation Board Chair, Kevin Barber, to participate in an outreach project for a school in YOUR community and a regional social event with YOUR BNI members. In the case of multiple chapters achieving the highest percentage of participation, a drawing will be held to select the winning BNI region. All chapters who Join the Club will receive a BNI Foundation badge ribbon for each member.

20 Years of Giving Fundraiser

The BNI Foundation kicked off Global Convention activities in style with a fundraiser to celebrate its twenty year anniversary! Everyone involved with the foundation was invited to the event which took place on the evening of November 8th in Long Beach, CA.

BNI Foundation co-founders Beth and Ivan Misner, Executive Director, Stephanie Starr,  staff, volunteers and Board members mingled as they enjoyed food, drinks and live a-cappella entertainment by Swingline. Also on hand to speak was award-winning film producer/director/writer, Barnet Bain. The evening was capped off with a silent auction.

Red Coats, Inc. generously sponsored the event which was graciously hosted by Margie and Emory Cowan, long time BNI Foundation supporters who truly embody the principle of Givers Gain®.

View a gallery of photos from the event here.

Organizational Shift at BNI Foundation Board

The BNI Foundation Board of Directors is excited to announce a recent organizational shift. We are positioning the foundation for an amazing 20th year in 2018. Effective immediately, our current, and founding, Board Chair, Jeff Stay, is named Chairman Emeritus of the BNI Foundation. The Executive Committee of the Board has asked Jeff to serve the BNI Foundation as the Development Chair to mobilize his social capital within BNI, and to help us cultivate the relationships we need in order to grow. Jeff is excited to serve in this new capacity.

The Executive Committee has also appointed Kevin Barber, BNI Foundation D-A-CH Founder and BNI Executive Director, to step into the role of BNI Foundation Board Chair. Furthermore, David Kauffman, BNI Managing Director and Senior Director Consultant, has stepped into the role of BNI Foundation Vice Chair. The Board offers its thanks to Andy Hart, our most recent Board Vice Chair, for his service to our board in this role and the time he spent to share his advice and counsel. We also thank our Chairman Emeritus, Jeff Stay, for setting a high bar for the incoming Board Chair and serving as our founding Board Chair with all of his heart.

These adjustments have been carefully made with thoughtful consideration of how to move forward in 2018. We are excited that these changes will bring even more success to the foundation, allowing us to have an even stronger impact on the youth of our communities. Expanding our Executive Committee will give us the edge we need to continue the legacy of the BNI Foundation’s co-founders, Beth and Ivan Misner.

$10,000 Raised for Children’s Shelter

BNI member Jim McLemore, of A-Tec Office Solutions Inc., hosted a successful fundraiser for the Haven of Peace Children’s Shelter in Stockton, California. Thanks to the assistance provided by fellow members of the BNI Stockton Business Partners chapter in the Central Valley region, the event raised $10,000 for Haven of Peace.

Haven of Peace offers shelter, counseling, education and other forms of assistance to mother’s and children in need. They opened their doors in 1959.

BNI California Central Valley Executive Directors, John and Eva Lisle were the proud sponsors of this event. The donation of time, talent and treasure from this California region is truly appreciated.

BNI Foundation Welcomes New Board Members

The BNI Foundation has recently added four new members to its board of directors, bringing the total to nine members. Joining Chairman Jeff Stay, Vice Chairman Andy Hart, Treasurer Michael Walchonski, Co-founder and Secretary Beth Misner and board member Graham Weihmiller, are four BNI leaders from around the world.

Kevin Barber oversees over 1,200 members in South-West Germany’s 39 chapters, the first of which he started himself in 2005. Kevin is also the BNI Foundation’s Global Special Envoy and is responsible for the Foundation’s operations in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Shelli Howlett is one of the few female BNI Executive Directors running multiple large regions. Her geographic area includes Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin and San Antonio, Texas where there are 2,700 members in 105 chapters.

David Kauffman acts as Managing Director and Senior Director Consultant for the BNI Delaware Valley Region, which encompass 5 states and 125 chapters. David has years of experience serving boards of charitable organizations and also founded and operates the Adaptive Aquatic program for the Haverford, PA YMCA.

Jeremy Walsh is the Worldwide Director of Support, Training and Documentation for BNI Connect. Jeremy and his team set up BNI Connect’s self-help forums, which see 52,000 visits a month from members searching its comprehensive library of hundreds of training materials.

We are excited to have these accomplished members of the BNI family join us in their leadership roles at the BNI Foundation and are looking forward to accomplishing great work with their guidance. You can learn more about the BNI Foundation’s board of directors by clicking here.

Educational Grants Help Schools and Teachers Fund Projects

Educational Grants Help Schools and Teachers Fund Projects

We have written before in this space about the great need for funds in our nation’s classrooms. Lack of funding has created a situation where most teachers have to purchase basic supplies like books and paper with their own money. The good news is that there are a large number of educational grants available to schools and teachers.

Grants are funds (or sometimes products) that are gifted by a grant maker, usually a foundation, trust or government agency. They can be awarded to non-profit organizations, schools and educational organizations, and even businesses and individuals. More often than not, grants must be used for a specific project determined by the grant maker. Educational grants are available for a surprisingly large number of projects from equipping a classroom with computers to paying for a field trip or anything that can enrich education.

What follows is only a sampling of the grants that schools and teachers can apply for. Some of the grants are open for submissions at different times of the year so check each link for deadlines and eligibility requirements.

Elmer’s Teacher Tool Kit Grant

The Kids in Need Foundation and Elmer’s partnered to award this grant that provides $100 to $500 worth of school supplies to students with financial needs. The application requires a description of how funds will be used as well as how many students will be impacted.

Target Field Trip Grants

The purpose of these grants is to expand learning outside of the traditional classroom. Each Target store in the US awards three $700 grants that can be used for transportation, admission fees or other field trip expenses.

Pets in the Classroom Grants

This grant from the Pet Care Trust is designed to allow students to interact with a class pet. Funds are used to obtain, care for and maintain a classroom pet. Teachers of students from pre kinder to ninth grade are eligible to apply.

Toshiba Tech Grants

This grant is available for grades 6-12. The Toshiba America Foundation promotes STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) learning by providing funds for technology enhanced education. Grants of up to $5000 can be used to purchase technology and supplies for STEM educational projects.

Givers Gain® Grants

The BNI Foundation awards ten $1000 grants each year, five in the summer and five in the winter, to 501c3 non-profit schools and educational organizations. Grants are by referral only and the school or organization must be partnered with a Business Voices team to be eligible.

Donors Choose

Donors Choose does not offer grants, but rather an innovative way to raise funds for schools. Public school teachers can request funds for classroom projects, listing the resources needed. Donors can pick which school and project they want to support and can donate money or needed supplies.

A Word on Grant Writing

Grant Writing refers to the process of applying for a grant or making a grant proposal. Grant writing can be something of a skill that can be improved through repetition. Some organizations hire professional grant writers to increase their chances of securing funds. For teachers who will apply on their own, here are a few tips to help the application or proposal get noticed.

Get to know the grant maker – Research the organization awarding the grant to learn what they look for in an application. Reach out to them to learn what you can, read their blog and follow them on social media, if available.

Plan your project – Map out your project’s goals, needed supplies, cost, etc. Innovative and interesting project proposals tend to get more attention.

Give yourself time – A well-written grant proposal, and most applications, take time. Do not wait until just before the deadline to get started, as you will probably not be able to put in the time to make your proposal shine.

Do not limit yourself to the short list of grants above. Take some time to research what is available. You will be sure to find at least one grant for your specific classroom needs. Many more grants for all kinds of educational projects are just a Google search away.

Video Contest Winner “Day with the Misner’s”

Earlier this year, Josh Perry of FusionForge Consultants won the video contest meant to highlight the impact adults can have on children. Each submission was a video “testimonial” in which the contestant described an adult who significantly influenced their life. Josh’s winning video was about a volunteer named Ray who brought knowledge, passion and excitement to a Junior Achievement economics course he taught at Josh’s high school.

First prize was a day with Ivan and Beth Misner in Austin, TX. Josh and his wife Kay Perry had the opportunity to spend the day with the Misners at their home.

The day started with breakfast at Trace Restaurant in downtown Austin.

Next was a trip to the Farmer’s Market, also in downtown Austin. There they purchased food from the Misner Plan for lunch.

That was followed by a long boat ride on Lake Austin.

The rest of the afternoon was spent floating and hanging out at the Misner’s pool where they had lunch.

The day ended with a wine tasting and dinner at Cru Restaurant in downtown Austin.

Congratulations to Josh Perry and his wife Kay. It looks like a great time was had by all.

BNI Sacramento School Supply Drive

In August, just before the beginning of the school year, members of the BNI Riverside Executives chapter in Sacramento, California invited Principal Greg Barge of Earl Legette Elementary School to their chapter meeting. They had a surprise. Chapter members had collected over $1000 worth of school supplies to donate to the school. The supplies, as well as thirty new backpacks, went to the students of teacher Rory McClure’s fourth grade class.

Business Voices has had a successful back to school season. Supply drives like the one put together by BNI Riverside Executives, are a great way to support our local students and schools. Remember, due to budget constraints, school districts often cannot provide teachers and students with everything they need, placing the financial burden on students’ parents and the teachers themselves. Back to school time may be the most obvious time for supply drives, but supplies are needed in the fall, after the winter break and throughout the school year.

Peck Elementary School Supply Drop-off

BNI Gate City teamed up with Volvo Financial Services to provide much needed school supplies for the students of Peck Elementary school in Winston Salem, NC. Volvo Financial Services has been a big supporter of the Business Voices initiative for years. In addition to supply drives like this, Volvo Financial Services donates $5,000 to the school every year. Those funds have gone to improve technology in Peck Elementary’s classrooms.

And now there is another surprise! Volvo Financial Services has committed to having all of the Peck Elementary third graders visit their facility on a field trip where Volvo leaders will speak to the kids and take them on a tour. While there, the students will have the opportunity to explore a  large Volvo truck.

Congratulations to BNI Gate City for their successful partnership with the folks at Volvo Financial Services. By working  together and sharing their time, talents and treasure, they have had a positive impact on the students of a local school.

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