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Who Inspires You?

By Beth Misner, BNI Foundation President: Most of us can identify someone in our lives who has inspired us to do something more than we thought was possible to accomplish. There have been many people who have inspired me personally. My husband, Ivan, BNI Founder and my Co-Founder in the BNI Foundation, inspires me every day, and I know he has inspired a fair number of you, too. His heart beats to Givers Gain – it truly does inform his life and his teaching.

And Sir Richard Branson is someone who has inspired both me and my husband. His thoughts on Business being a part of solutions needed around the globe to the various challenges we face today inspired us on many levels, most of all within the BNI Foundation. He inspired us to reach deeper in the communities all around us to do more than simply find deserving teachers to whom to send our Givers Gain® Grants.

I have kept Sir Richard updated as YOU have embraced our Business Voices initiative – creating a conduit between Business and Education for children’s education. I shared just a few of the many amazing stories with him, all of which come as a result of his vision for Business getting our hands on challenges like the ones faced in Education. Those of you who are part of a Business Voices Team are inspiring us all.

It is overwhelming to have a concept and to watch people gather around it and move with me into the unknown – to watch Business Voices unfold in real time. It is amazing to me to think about how many children are going to have different, more positive experiences because you hear this call to reach into their lives and help where it is needed.

So, although addressed to me, I extend Sir Richard’s praise on where we are today with our movement to you, because you truly deserve the majority of the gratitude. You are the ones out there in the world constructing the conduit I could only envision. To you we say:

jeffy

Jeff Stay elected Chairman of BNI Foundation Board of Directors

Miami, FL – The BNI Foundation announced that Jeff Stay will serve as the organization’s new board chair. The Foundation, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation, is composed of a vast network of companies that pair donors with member-referred charities. With the support of its global and local communities, BNI has been providing educational resources to children for more than 18 years.

Since its creation in 1998, the Foundation has stayed true to its Givers Gain® mantra. This philosophy holds the belief that a positive impact can be made to the international business climate through providing quality education to kids around the globe. With the help of the Business Voices initiative, BNI collects donations to build schools and awards mini-grants to hundreds of teachers in the 72 countries where BNI operates.

“Jeff Stay has played an integral role in the growth and success of the BNI Foundation,” said Beth Misner, co-founder and board secretary of 18-year-old foundation. “We’re excited about the energy and leadership he will bring to our growing organization.”

Jeff Stay is Executive Director and Founding Member of BNI Miami-Dade. Under Stay’s leadership, BNI-Miami Dade received the honor of being named the # 1 region in the United States based on its record growth, performance and member participation. Furthermore, Stay carries experience from serving as a past board member for both the Mount Sinai Hospital Foundation and Family Resource Center of South Florida.

A great local example of the good South Florida BNI members have done for the community is the Fill My Ride campaign where four local teachers were invited to a local Office Max for a shopping spree to help them defray the cost of supplies for their classrooms. BNI Miami Dade along with Stay and Misner paid for all their shopping, which amounted to approximately $2000 in supplies.

And at a recent Tuesday Network Nights event, local BNI members were invited to FILL OUR RIDE and they did. Stay’s large Toyota Sequoia was filled to the brim. It took 5 teenage boys 5 trips to get everything out of the car. Our best guess puts the donation of school supplies from members at about $3000. Additional monies were also raised to purchase gift cards and scientific equipment for local classrooms. In total, $6,500 in contributions and school supplies were raised.

“We couldn’t be happier with the generosity and hard work of our BNI members,” said Stay. “Helping kids get good educations continues to be the top priority of the BNI Foundation.”

Stay received his Master’s Degree in Law Firm Management from George Washington University. With nearly 20 years of professional experience, he has proven himself to be successful entrepreneur and engaged member of the South Florida community. The BNI Foundation is very excited to have Jeff Stay as our Founding Board Chair.

Jeff Stay Board of Directors

Business Has A Voice in Education

BNI Foundation Co-Founder and President, Beth Misner, had a chance meeting at a local, Austin restaurant with a family from Houston. Michael was here to attend a rally to ask our state government not to cut funding for programs that help medically fragile children with their needs, including learning and keeping up with their counterparts as they undergo necessary medical care.

You’ll love meeting Charlotte, Michael’s young daughter, as Beth interviewed her daddy about their efforts. Remember, Business Voices is an initiative of the BNI Foundation. Our Business Voices teams say: “Bureaucracy Not Involved.” How can we help education and kids? That’s our #1 question.

We are improving tomorrow’s business through education today. Our mission is to create a conduit between Business and Education for children’s educational needs. Charlotte is just one of the reasons why we do this!

Please leave a comment below if you want to join Beth in the BNI Foundation and help us help kids with our unique and powerful movement.

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Business Voices – Powered by BNI

Austin, TX by Beth Misner:  Not long ago, I was incredibly fortunate to have three minutes to share the mission of Business Voices with a media and marketing expert, Joel Roberts. Joel is a former, prime-time, KABC radio talk show host in the #1 radio market in the world – Los Angeles. Today he is President of his own media and communications consulting firm based in LA and New York. His clients range from major publishers and best-selling authors to Fortune 500 corporations such as Lockheed-Martin, Eli Lilly, Pfizer, Novartis, Wal-Mart and Target. He also coaches many prominent politicians, CEOs, entrepreneurs like Kinkos founder, Paul Orfalae, and celebrities, including rock star Kenny Loggins.

And for just a few minutes, I was blessed that he was MY impromptu coach while I explained what I am bringing into the world through my vision for Business Voices. As I gave Joel my 60-second presentation about Business Voices, I could see him growing more excited. I told him that I can see entrepreneurs have a unique way of viewing challenges and addressing problems, and when business owners find out more about what the needs of local schools and educational organizations are, they are able to provide creative and effective solutions that are not wrapped in a lot of red tape.

Screen Shot 2017-03-05 at 4.21.56 PMAt this point, he nearly leapt up off his chair. “BNI, BNI,” he said, “You say it stands for Business Network International, but with your Business Voices initiative, you could also say it stands for Bureaucracy Not Involved!

He nailed it . . . his perception of why this movement is catching hold so easily and quickly was insightful and exciting. That’s exactly it — We as business owners are not held back by the bureaucracy that is creating such paralyzing difficulties for educators to teach well, impeding their access to the resources they need to keep kids engaged and interested, and causing many other challenges they face.

I was first struck by this realization after having a long conversation with Richard Branson about his B Team concept. If you follow my social media, you will have no doubt seen the photo of Ivan and Richard that I pulled out of an iPhone video I made of the two of them talking about the B Team and how business could make huge, positive differences in the world. He is exactly right!

Screen Shot 2017-02-03 at 11.03.36 PMAnd where better to start unleashing this vision for creating a conduit between Business and Education than within BNI, an organization filled with entrepreneurs who live by a Givers Gain philosophy and are able to embrace a movement whose rallying cry is Bureaucracy Not Involved?

The support of the business community is like a giant pair scissors that slashes right through the red tape that keeps teachers tied up. As a global citizen, I personally am tired of watching our teachers and schools struggle to operate in such a highly dysfunctional system.

Business Voices is an idea whose time has come — Bureaucracy Not Involved — and we need you to help us get on top of this huge area of concern. Will you help us?

Learn more about our movement.

Stephanie Star newest BNI board member

BNI Foundation Welcomes Starr Director to the Team

Charlotte, NC – January 10, 2017: “The BNI Foundation is poised for a watershed year due to  the support of our newest team member,” says Board Chair, Jeff Stay of Miami, FL.

With a focus on children and education, the BNI Foundation received it’s non-profit status earlier this year.  “We are thrilled to announce that Stephanie Starr has joined our Charlotte, NC-based team as our Executive Director,” Stay continues.

Stephanie graduated from the University of Michigan with a BS degree in Psychology and Hunter College School of Social Work with a MSW. She obtained her Project Management Professional (PMP) certificate in August 2016 and has been a LCSW, licensed clinical social worker since April 1997.

“Stephanie’s 14+ years of leadership and management experience in both for-profit and non-profit agencies will benefit the BNI Foundation’s operations,” according to Stay.

Starr’s former roles included directing complex strategic business initiatives in the areas of process improvement, organizational transformation, organizational restructuring, and human capital management. Some of her accomplishments in her last position at a non-profit agency include increasing the agency budget by 67%, increasing annual campaign gifts by 41%, implementing a comprehensive and integrated client and donor software system, rebranding the agency (including logo), updating the agency website, developing a donor stewardship and legacy program, and revamping and overhauling all workflows and operations.

“We are very excited to bring Stephanie into the BNI Foundation to help us achieve our ambitious organizational goals,” maintains Stay.

Stephanie has lived in Charlotte for almost 21 years with her husband, Steve and their three children. “I am very excited to use my skills and expertise to benefit a non-profit with such a great focus and opportunities as the BNI Foundation,” Starr shares.

With BNI Foundation affiliates in five countries, Starr now has the opportunity to expand her horizons beyond the confines of Charlotte.

To learn more about the BNI Foundation, go to www.BNIFoundation.org.

 

Peck Elementary's NBA Never Been Absent program

Peck Elementary’s “NBA” Program

We’re always looking for ways to make success easier for kids, either by removing barriers or providing incentives for focusing on studies. Peck Elementary of Greensboro, NC has worked extensively alongside Business Voices members to great benefit. Most recently, this came in the form of a new program to reward good attendance.

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New BNI Foundation Chair Members

The BNI Foundation was recently approved by the United States IRS as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit charity after being a donor-advised fund for the last 18 years as part of the California Community Foundation [also a 501(c)(3)]. While we transition from CCF to our own not-for-profit entity, a few things are shifting for us. The most exciting shift is the formation of our own Board of Directors.

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The Chip Program – Improving Teamwork

There’s a new program in which local Business Voices members are spreading the word. It’s called the Chip Program, and it takes some simple principles that have worked in the past to help inspire better behavior patterns for kids.

The idea is this: kids receive special poker chips as a reward for good behavior patterns. Any student in a given class can win, and the student with the most chips at the end of each week wins a prize. Students vote on what the prize is from the beginning, so it’s something everyone is excited about.

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Carver-Career-Fair

Carver’s Career Fair and New Partnerships

The recent career fair at Carver High School was a success. There was a solid turnout of business people from the Triad ready to share advice with students.

Another big bit of news is the recent partnership between Business Voices and LEAD Girls of NC, a non-profit dedicated to teaching girls throughout North Carolina valuable life skills early on. Many of these skills, such as opening a checking account or balancing a checkbook, are things many students have no idea about as they enter adulthood. Founder Joy Nelson says the organization partners with local banks to teach financial literacy so that these girls are ready for the careers and responsibilities waiting for them after high school.

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Christmas Donations for Peck Elementary

The spirit of giving is strong as we enter this fall season. New Jerusalem Cathedral, after hearing about the Business Voices movement in the Triad area of NC, has decided to donate gifts to all students of Peck Elementary for Christmas this year.

This is an annual program New Jerusalem Cathedral has done for 15 years of creating donations to various facilities, with Peck being this year’s focus. When David Brockman informed them that Peck Elementary has 400 students, they replied “we don’t care if it’s 600-700 kids; we want to help them!”

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