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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

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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Donation to ITEC Childhood Development for Multilingual Library

by Brian Watkins

I recently had the pleasure of talking with Butch Coatzee, Executive Director of the Eastern Cape of South Africa, about a recent donation to a children’s learning organization. This serves as a great example of life-changing progress for kids, and how BNI chapters all over the world are getting involved.

As a member of the Gately Rotary Club of East London and South Africa, Butch has been in contact with charitable organizations of all kinds. Their Early Childhood Development project provides training to Early Childhood Practitioners in rural areas, which is a much-needed service in most areas.

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“Fill My Ride” Launches in August With Trunks Full Of Supplies

When Texas BNI member, Becky Isbell, shared with the BNI Foundation’s Co-Founder and President, Beth Misner, that she was going to have her Mini Cooper wrapped to do a “Fill My Mini” school supply drive for teachers, Beth knew she wanted to use her car, a pretty blue Grand Sport Corvette, to gather school supplies, as well. Better yet, Becky’s idea inspired Beth to open up a Fill My Ride with School Supplies campaign throughout BNI.

The BNI Foundation Dream Team of volunteers had a preliminary call to gauge the interest from others about a school supply drive for schools and soon realized that this was an idea that could really take the BNI Foundation and the Business Voices initiative into a lot of cities and communities.

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Triad Career Fairs In September

Another round of career fairs is coming up this fall! They’ve been a great success so far, commonly attracting 100 business people per event to speak with kids about various professions to help them make educated decisions about their futures.

That was the case with the recent career fair in Guilford Middle School, where students went on a scavenger hunt to find info about various careers so they could ask specific questions to the adult volunteers. Every volunteer enjoyed their experience; Glen Coleman said that most of them were asking about when the next opportunity would be to share with the kids.

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