Tax Free School Supplies

Tax Free School Supplies

This weekend many states offer sales tax free shopping on back to school items. This is the time to stock up for your school supply drives. Here are the participating states, their tax free dates and details:

Arkansas August 4 to August 5 – school supplies and clothing items priced at $100 or less.

Connecticut August 19 to August 25 – clothing and footwear priced under $100.

Florida August 3 to August 5 – school supplies at $15 or less, and clothing and footwear at $60 or less.

Iowa August 3 to August 4 – clothing and footwear priced at $100 or less.

Maryland August 12 to August 18 – clothing and footwear priced at $100 or less.

Massachusetts August 11 to August 12 – school supplies and most other purchases up to $2,500.

Missouri August 3 to August 5 – up to $50 of school supplies, clothing at $100 or less and computers priced up to $1,500.

New Mexico August 3 to August 5 – school supply items priced at $30 or less, computers up to $1,000 and clothing and footwear priced at $100 or less.

Ohio August 3 to August 5 – school supplies and books priced up to $20 and clothing priced at $75 or less.

Oklahoma August 3 to August 5 – clothing and footwear priced at $100 or less.

South Carolina August 3 to August 5 – school supplies, clothing, computers, and  home items.

Texas August 10 to August 12 – school supplies, clothing and footwear priced at $100 or less.

Virginia August 3 to August 5 – school supplies at $20 or less, and clothing and footwear at $100 or less.

Wisconsin August 3 to August 5 – clothing and school supplies up to $75 an item, computers up to $750, and computer supplies priced at $250 or less.

GTS at Ashley Park Elementary

Global Support Team Takes Ashley Park Elementary Under It’s Wing

The BNI Foundation Global Support Team had a great year with it’s sponsored school, Ashley Park Elementary! This year the team made a concerted effort to really make a difference for the students and teachers. Below are highlights of the results of the team’s hard work, time and funds invested toward Ashley Park Elementary.

  • In September the team collected school supplies and BNI HQ donated book bags for the preschool classes
  • In December they collected PJ’s for the Preschoolers
  • In February they collected belts for the students
  • In March they collected Navy colored polo shirts for the students’ uniforms
  • In April they collected Khaki pants for the uniforms
  • BNI HQ sponsored a field trip for the 5th grade class to Laser Tag as well as a stop at BNI HQ for free ice pops from “King of Pops’ and a tour of the offices and a talk with CEO Graham Weihmiller
  • In May they held a teacher appreciation for the amazing teachers that work in very difficult situations day in and day out.  The team collected money and had a Coffee truck available at the school in the teacher parking lot to offer all of the staff free specialty coffees.  There were also donuts, bagels and other yummy treats in their teacher lounge.  The staff was blown away and so appreciative of this gesture.

Congratulations to the Global Support Team for a great year sponsoring a deserving school. Keep up the good work. Check out the video below and the gallery at this link.

Business Voices in Miami-Dade

Great Year of Accomplishments for Business Voices in Miami-Dade

Summer is here, classes are over and we would like to congratulate the BNI Miami-Dade region for an exceptional year of Business Voices activity.

  • $4,200 donated by BNI Results, BNI Excellence and BNI Coral Gables chapters and the BNI Miami-Dade region
  • Presented a big check to Beth Misner at BNI Pinnacle, host of “Ask the Founder” with Ivan Misner in October 2017
  • Mrs. Stay’s 4th Grade Class inspired the creation of the Join the Club campaign
  • Invited author Norm Dominguez to Fall LT&NE in August – he is donating $1.00 per book sold to the BNI Foundation
  • Peeked the interest of dozens of teachers, and administrators, who will be engaging with our Business Voices teams forming for Fall LT&NE

Givers Gain Grant Summer 2018 Cycle

Givers Gain Grant Cycle has Begun

The Givers Gain® Grant summer cycle begins today. Twice a year the BNI Foundation awards five $1,000 grants to schools and educational organizations to help fund projects that will benefits children and students. The ideal project will enhance the classroom or learning experience and benefit the largest number of children possible.

Schools and educational organizations that wish to apply for a Givers Gain® Grant must be referred by a Business Voices team. This means that the school or organization must be affiliated with a Business Voices team. Grants are awarded by the BNI Foundation’s Board of Directors after they are reviewed by the Business Voices Advisory Council. 

Most years the summer grant cycle would be the last one of the year. Thanks to the generosity of our donors during this year’s BNI National Conference, there will be third cycle in the winter! Stay tuned for more information about this extra batch of grants this fall.

Find more information, as well as the application link, on the Givers® Gain Grant page. Good luck to all of those applying.

Austin Child Guidance Center

BNI Foundation Founder Recognized for Contribution to Children

The BNI Foundation’s very own Beth Misner has been selected as a finalist for the 7th Annual Community Activist Phyllis Richards Austin Icon for Children Award. The award is presented each year by the Austin Child Guidance Center to recognize outstanding contributions to positive change for children by exemplifying excellence through community engagement. The award winner will be announced at the 7th Annual Austin Originals Benefit Concert on August 18th. This award is given every year to two individuals in the categories of Community Activist and Community Professional for demonstrating excellence in improving outcomes for children. Beth is a finalist in the Community Activist category, for individuals dedicated to positive outcomes for children through volunteerism and/or philanthropy, along with three other nominees.

Established in 1951, the Austin Child Guidance Center works to improve the mental health of children and their families by providing early intervention, diagnosis and treatment. The Center has a multidisciplinary team of psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, family therapists and professional counselors that provide individual, family and group psychiatric and psychological services, parental education, as well as training for current and future mental health professionals. The  Austin Child Guidance Center has provided treatment to over 140,000 children and families in its more than 65 years in operation.

Congratulations to Mrs. Misner and all of the finalists for this prestigious recognition of their work with children.

National Conference Special Awards

Special Awards Presented at the BNI National Conference

At this year’s BNI National Conference in Las Vegas, four special awards were handed out to deserving executive directors from around the country.

The Ivan Misner Excellence in Giving Award was presented to Norm Dominguez, Executive Director of BNI Arizona.

The Beth Misner Leadership Award went to Shelli Howlett, Executive Director of BNI DFW, BNI Austin and BNI San Antonio.

The final award was presented to four individuals. Dawn Lyons and Mike Macedonio, Executive Directors of BNI San Francisco, and Dr. Margie Cowan and Dr. Emroy Cowan, Executive Directors of BNI Colorado all received the Alice Astrouer Philanthropy Award.

Congratulations to all of the special awards recipients and thank you for all the work you do.

Mentoring

Mentoring Benefits Children from all Backgrounds

The benefits of mentoring young people have been widely documented. Increased confidence, improved attitudes about school and learning, strengthened interpersonal relationships, reduced risk of drug use;  these are all likely outcomes when a caring and devoted adult takes on a guiding role in a child’s life. Mentoring can have a strong positive impact on development and has the potential to change a life for the better.

Mentoring has been shown to be particularly beneficial to disadvantaged children. A 2014 study by the National Mentoring Partnership found that an at-risk child who is mentored is:

  • 130% more likely to become a leader at their school
  • 81% more likely to participate in extracurricular activities
  • 78% more likely to volunteer in their community
  • 55% more likely to go to college

However, regardless of income level or available opportunities, the mentor/mentee relationship has been shown to foster intellectual, emotional and interpersonal growth.

What Makes a Good Mentor?

Being an effective mentor requires more than knowledge and experience. A mentor of children also needs patience and a fair amount of generosity. Here are some other traits that children respond to in a mentor.

Supportive – One of a mentor’s most important roles is being supportive and encouraging when the mentee is experiencing problems and obstacles in their life by listening to their concerns and reinforcing their belief in their own abilities.

Good Listener – Young children and teens often feel that adults do not listen to them in a meaningful way. A good mentor validates their mentee’s ideas and concerns with thoughtful listening.

Encouraging – Although children do not always respond well to pressure, they do respond to having high expectations set for them. Mentors should push mentees outside of their comfort zone and help them achieve goals they may have imagined were out of their reach by helping them trust their own instincts and abilities.

Business Voices and Mentoring

The BNI Foundation’s Business Voices initiative provides opportunities for mentoring school aged children to business professionals that would like to share their knowledge and experience and help children reach their potential. The Business Voices toolkit includes everything one needs to get started helping students and schools in their community including instructions on running a speed mentoring session at a local school. Speed mentoring is a group activity gives students and business leaders a taste of the mentoring relationship. Take a look at the toolkit for even more ways to become involved and make a positive impact in a student’s life.

Impromptu Fundraiser

Keifer Sutherland Helps Collect $1,000 for BNI Foundation at Impromptu Fundraiser

Fundraising for the BNI Foundation was a huge success at this year’s BNI US National Conference in Las Vegas. The Foundation has surpassed it’s goal of raising $20,000 in direct donations. At the end of the conference the BNI Foundation had raised $26,000 as well as signed up six new Heroes and five new Super Heroes. Heroes and Super Heroes are supporters who commit to donate $50 a month and $100 a month respectively.

In a chance encounter, actor Keifer Sutherland, who was visiting the Red Rock Casino, was kind enough to offer his support for an impromptu fundraiser at the hotel lounge. Guests were quick to demonstrate their generosity, donating cash, and even poker chips, right on the spot. By evening’s end, Mr. Sutherland had helped raise $1,000 to contribute the Foundation’s goal.

The funds raised will allow the BNI Foundation to double the number of Givers Gain® awarded this year. We would like to thank all of the BNI Foundation’s supporters and donors that are helping us reach our goals. Remember that the BNI Foundation is your Foundation, and its work is only possible when our members drive home the Givers Gain® core value.

 

2018 National Conference

The BNI Foundation at the BNI National Conference

The BNI National Conference in Las Vegas is right around the corner and the BNI Foundation has been working hard to bring attendees a great program and to take advantage of this opportunity to do more for our community schools and students. Keep reading to find out what’s in store.

Givers Gain® Grants Awarded to Double in 2018

This year the BNI Foundation is striving to double the number of yearly Givers Gain® Grants awarded from ten to twenty. To do this we hope too attract more monthly donors with our Join the CLUB program. During the National Conference we will be holding a drive to bring in more Heroes and Super Heroes so we can get more grants out to worthy schools and educational organizations. The $1,000 Givers Gain® Grants are awarded to help fund specific programs. The BNI Foundation is striving to add ten additional Givers Gain® Grants to 2018 by attracting:

  • 20 New Heroes
  • 20 New Super Heroes
  • $20,000 New Direct Donations

The grants will be awarded as follows:

  • 5 Givers Gain® Grants in June
  • 5 Givers Gain® Grants in October
  • A Special Grant Cycle from November 15 to December 15th with 10 additional Givers Gain® Grants

The Heroes program designates those giving $50 a month as Heroes and those giving $100 or more every month as Super Heroes. Any individual or group can be a Hero or Super Hero. During the BNI National Conference in Las Vegas, the BNI Foundation will campaign to encourage BNI member, chapters and regions to Join the CLUB by becoming a Hero or Super Hero.

Students to be Speed Mentored at the BNI National Conference

At this year’s BNI National Conference in Las Vegas, the BNI Foundation will host a speed mentoring session with students from a local Las Vegas high school. During the event, students will talk to several entrepreneurs for a few minutes each and then take part in an open “networking” session. The successful speed mentoring program truly encapsulates the BNI Foundation’s mission to create a conduit between business and education to meet children’s educational needs. If you will be attending this year’s conference and would like to be involved as a mentor, please contact David Kauffman, foundation Vice-Chair, at Davidk@bnifoundation.org

Win Dinner with Beth and Ivan Misner and More

Attendees of the BNI National Conference will have the opportunity to purchase raffle tickets for a chance to win dinner with BNI Foundation founders, Beth and Ivan Misner, while simultaneously supporting the Foundation’s cause. Additionally, a 50/50 raffle will see one winner receiving half of the 50/50 raffle proceeds. Please reach into your pockets for a chance to win one of these great prizes, and more importantly, help the BNI Foundation continue its work helping schools and students around the world.

Please stay tuned for more by visiting our website, http://bnifoundation.org, where we will be posting 2018 BNI US National Conference updates including details about our Saturday morning Walk and Talk and other events we are working on. Also, be sure to visit our booth while at the conference.

Help Children Flex Their Charitable Muscles

Help Children Flex Their Charitable Muscles – Books that Encourage Empathy and Compassion

Just as children are guided by parents and caregivers to be healthy, productive, independent and strong, their sense of charity should be nurtured and encouraged. We are all born with an innate impulse to help others, and like other personal traits, the impulse can strengthen or diminish over time.

Although it can be difficult to reconcile with the overt selfishness that may sometimes rear its ugly head, children do routinely, and naturally, express empathy and take actions to help and comfort others. It can be discomforting to witness a child throw a public tantrum over something they want and cannot have or aggressively snatch away a toy, seemingly oblivious to their playmate’s feelings. However, given the opportunity to observe a child, one will inevitably witness acts of kindness and compassion. Notice how a child will soothe a crying, baby sibling or rush to aid a friend who is hurt. When provided with positive encouragement, empathy will thrive in a child. If we consider that sense of charity as a muscle, it must be flexed often to make it strong.

Nourishing a child’s empathy and impulse for charity can have a tremendous positive impact on the child and those around them. A healthy desire to help others can offset the familiar “mine” impulse and can have a significant effect on self esteem.

Join the CLUB

We recently witnessed a powerful example of children’s impulse to care for others within  the BNI community. Miami elementary school teacher, Jennifer Stay – who is the wife of BNI Executive Director and Chairman Emeritus of the BNI Foundation Board, Jeff Stay – showed her nine-year-old students a film that explained what the BNI Foundation is and what it does. When the students realized how many children around the world need help they decided to do something collectively. Since then each student has brought $1 to school each month. With Mrs. Stay matching every dollar, the fourth grade class became a BNI Foundation Monthly Hero. This incredible expression of charity led to the Join the CLUB program which encourages Business Voices teams around the world to follow the lead of Mr’s Stay’s fourth graded class.

Children’s Books that Inspire Generosity

Books are an excellent resource to further encourage the giving spirit in children. Below we have compiled a short list of books that will inspire children to give their time, talent or treasure to a worthy cause.

The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein – This enduring classic tells the story of a tree that gives all of itself to a growing boy as he becomes a man. The Giving Tree is a favorite that has been teaching the value of selfless giving to generations of children.

Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed, Emily Pearson – When Ordinary Mary picks some blueberries for her neighbor, her act of kindness starts a chain reaction that spreads around the entire world. This is a wonderful story that illustrates how even a small gesture can make a huge difference.

Beatrice’s Goat, Page McBrier – Another great book about the power of a single kind act and how basic needs are met in different parts of the world. Beatrice, who lives in a small village in Africa, cannot go to school because her family cannot afford the expense. When a charitable organization donates a goat to here family, it changes their lives in unexpected ways.

Maddi’s Fridge, Lois Brandt – Sofia looks for a snack in her best friend’s Maddi’s fridge and realizes that Maddi’s family goes hungry some days. This book shows children that great need is sometimes found close to home.

A Kid’s Guide to Giving, Freddi Zeiler – This comprehensive guide is a great starting point for kids that want to give. It covers donating money and goods, volunteering, organizing events and includes information on charitable organizations children can get involved with.

These books are a great place to start a conversation with children about giving to others. Items on the evening news and the needs of those in your own community can further the discussion and provide ideas for kids to get involved and help. Making children aware of their capacity to make a difference can plant the seed of a life of charity and good will.

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