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.

Elementary School Beautified with Redbud Trees

Members of the BNI University Morning B chapter in the Charlotte region volunteered their time and talent to the students of Winecoff Elementary, a title 1 school. They provided guidance and direction for a beautification project that included planting two Eastern Redbud trees, lining them with pavers, and filling them with mulch.

Teachers at Winecoff Elementary had the idea of helping kids understand the value of work, self-pride and ownership. A group of BNI members sprung into action. The teachers did not want the chapter to do the work or pay for the materials, but rather to help plan and execute their idea.

Bobbi Craig represented the school and provided a point of contact between the parents, students and other department heads to define the parameters and get approvals. As more people and kids arrived, they were gathered and instructed on what to do. The kids worked hard and were able to enjoy the feeling of self pride that comes with  accomplishing goals as a team. The BNI members helped to oversea this project and to make it a huge success! Congratulations to all involved. See more photos here.

Get involved! Our Business Voices tool kit will help you put together a team and includes project ideas to help the schools in your community.

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 April 1, 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.

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