Business Voices in Abruzzo Italy

Business Voices Redevelops Classrooms in Abruzzo Italy

Business Voices Ambassador, Samya Ilaria Di Donato, visited with 200 children from a primary school set to receive classroom redevelopments and new educational activities. The event was hosted by the Comprehensive Municipal Institute to support the redevelopment of classrooms and new educational activities for 900 students.

Samya Ilaria Di Donato, entrepreneur, mentor and author of Colours, was joined by members from the “Flaiano” Pescara BNI Chapter. Fifty entrepreneurs from Pescara have committed to serving the school in Spoltore which enrolls 900 students up to middle school age. Also present were vice-principal Rosaria Pignetti and teacher Roberta Rullo who is head of the continuity function and councilor for public education, youth policies and culture of the Municipality of Spoltore, The chapter members presented the students with hundreds of colored paper hands inspired by the Business Voices logo and meant as an inspiration to the children who will create Christmas greeting cards with proceeds of their sale going to finance school initiatives.

Di Donato illustrated how the project reflects the Business Voices and BNI Foundation ethos and its decades long mission to mobilize business in support of children and education around the world. “Business Voices is not a non-profit organization but a free return movement to the territory that aims to support schools with the awareness that the local business community can and should play a social role to inspire children and young people who will be professionals and entrepreneurs of tomorrow,” explained Di Donato. “We marry initiatives not through the collection of money but through the availability and generosity of our entrepreneurs and professionals.”

Aside from the chromatic redevelopment painting of the classrooms, an abandoned school bus will be transformed into a science laboratory and new trees will be planted in the garden.

Build-a-Bed

Members of BNI Commonwealth in Louisa, KY teamed up with The Kentucky Credit Union League Ashland Chapter to build beds for those in need for their annual Build-a-Bed project.

The goal is to give beds to school aged children who are forced to sleep on floors, couches, or in beds with multiple other children or family members. This regional Build-a-Bed Project through Morehead State University has provided more than 1,000 beds to children in Eastern Kentucky since it began in 2010. This year the Ashland Build A Bed committee set a goal to build 100 beds, in addition to the 200-bed goal set by MSUCorps AmeriCorps Program.

The Ashland Build-a-Bed Project will serve as a branch of the Build-a-Bed Project through MSUCorps. Ashland Build-a-Bed will build and distribute beds for the FIVCO area that include: Boyd, Carter, Lawrence, Greenup, and Elliot. The Ashland Build-a-Bed is a service project put together by the Kentucky Credit Union League Ashland Chapters which include: Members Choice Credit Union and Ashland Credit Union.

See photos of the envent on our gallery page.

Networking Week

International Networking Week Fundraising at BNI Oregon & SW Washington

The Oregon & SW Washington BNI chapters used International Networking Week as an opportunity to bring members and local business leaders together to raise hundreds for local youth focused non-profits. The first event, a networking mixer in Vancouver, attracted 70 BNI members and local business professionals. All of the proceeds from the event were donated to Bridge the Gap, a nonprofit that provides resources to children in the foster care system.

Next in Portland, a networking mixer brought in over 100 BNI members and local business professionals. This event raised $500 in support of Young Entrepreneurs Business Week. This statewide, Oregon initiative helps to educate youth in business, leadership and teamwork while encouraging them to explore the business world through hands-on experiences.

“It was great to come together to network with local businesses and give back to the community at the same time! BNI Oregon & SW Washington is proud to support Bridge The Gap and Young Entrepreneurs Week,” said Mary Burleson, BNI Oregon & SW Washington’s Regional Communications Coordinator & Chapter Launch Coordinator. Congratulations to everyone involved for a successful couple of events.

Givers Gain Grants

Givers Gain® Grants Awarded to Five Deserving Organizations

This year’s winter round of Givers Gain® Grants have been awarded. Every year the BNI Foundation awards at least ten $1,000 grants to schools and educational organizations for projects that will benefit students. To qualify the school or organization must be associated with one of our Business Voices teams. Here are this year’s winners.

Swift Youth Foundation in Scottsdale, AZ

The Swift Youth Foundation was founded in 1980 to provide a camping experience to children who would otherwise be unable to afford it. The organization works to empower teens to make a positive difference in their own lives and communities by developing leadership skills and instilling a commitment to social action.

Horizon House in Philadelphia, PA

Started in 1952 as a support group for former mental health patients, Horizon House is committed to helping individuals live a fulfilling life in their communities. There PEACE program helps young people deal with early psychosis. 

Just for Girls in West Bradenton, FL

Just for Girls makes a positive impact on young women through prevention education, academic support, character development, and personal enrichment. They provide before and after school programs as well as education programs for K-8th grade that help girls map a new path to success, find their personal inspiration, and increase their grades. 

Investing in Kids, St. Augustine

INK works to provide scholarships, innovative programs and classroom resources to the students of the Saint Johns County public school system.

Carlson School 

Building Blocks School

Congratulations to all of the recipients. We look forward to learning more about the programs the Givers Gain® Grants will fund.

BNI Global Convention 2018

BNI Global Convention 2018 – Bangkok Thailand

A Word From BNI Foundation Vice Chair, David Kauffman

We had a GREAT convention and I would like to thank all of those who supported the foundation at this historic event!

 A number of our supporters flew in early and visited the Friends of Thai Daughters, a charity that the BNI Foundation supports. They were able to visit with many of the girls and help distribute needed supplies to a few of the local villages. We were also honored that 3 of the girls were able to attend our Gala event. Through the generosity of the 1200 attendees we raised over $36,000 USD for the BNI Foundation that we immediately donated to Friends of Thai Daughters to make sure the girls have continued support.

I would also like to thank the following authors for donating a portion of every book sold at our booth. Norm Dominguez, The Magic of Positivity, YP Lai and Paulo Corsi, Networking Quotient. We sold hundreds of copies of each.

The Foundation gave out several awards to countries and directors with outstanding Business Voices teams. The BNI Foundation Award of Excellence was given to team BNI Canada and BNI Japan. While the Ivan Misner Excellence in Giving Award went to Monica Passini and Dario Castagna from team Italy. Team Italy held a Business Voices awards banquet this year to celebrate their 18 teams and had over 500 members in attendance. Their teams accomplished over 80 projects this year including insulating schools to keep the environment quiet and conducive to learning. They held a number of medical screenings at local schools and taught over 1000 children about dental hygiene.

From the main stage in conjunction with our round tables and breakout sessions we were able to raise global awareness about the BNI Foundation and Business Voices (our boots on the ground program). Members and directors learned how the BNI Foundation belongs to them and how they could get involved and truly make a difference in a child’s life! See photos from the BNI Global Convention in our gallery.

We are working hard to grow the foundation and hope to be in at least 6 new countries before the next Global Convention in Warsaw next year. The Business Voices teams around the world keep growing, even in countries that do not yet have foundations. We need to get your stories. If you are apart of a team please send us your stories at bnifoundation.org/monthly-business-voices-form/. If you would like more information on the BNI Foundation or Business Voices Teams, please contact us at bnifoundation.org/contact-us/.

Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday Grows Bigger Every Year

Now that Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are behind us, we have Giving Tuesday to truly drive home the spirit of giving for the holiday season. Conceived of by the 92nd Street Y in New York City as a day to encourage everyone to donate their time and/or money to a worthy charity, Giving Tuesday, which falls on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving, started six years ago and spread through the public consciousness with the help of media companies like Mashable, Skype, Cisco and Google.

Today Giving Tuesday is observed in dozens of countries and has resulted in 100’s of millions of dollars in charitable donations. Last year’s estimate alone is $274 million moved. The event is driven by social media and two years ago Facebook began to take part. In 2017 $45 million was donated through the social media platform, with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation matching $2 million of that amount. Given the yearly growth, we can expect even larger numbers this year and for the giving spirit to be carried through to the end of the year and beyond.

Giving Tuesday and the BNI Foundation

The BNI Foundation was started to help children, schools and educational organizations around the world. The Business Voices initiative is designed to facilitate charitable giving by BNI chapters and members. A Business Voices team partners with an educational organization in its own community and works with them to help meet the organization’s and students’ needs. BNI members give their time, talent and treasure to make a difference in the lives of students. If you are not familiar with Business Voices please visit our website for information and a toolkit that includes everything you need to get your BNI chapter involved. This is the perfect time to get your team started as many students and schools need help with supplies and more when they return to class after the holiday break.

Austin Award

Beth Misner Awarded for Her Philanthropic Work with Children

This weekend, at the 7th Annual Austin Originals Benefit Concert, BNI Foundation founder Beth Misner was awarded the Community Activist Phyllis Richards Austin Icon for Children Award. The award, which is presented each year by the Austin Child Guidance Center, recognizes Mrs. Misner’s contributions to, and engagement with, the community, which have resulted in positive changes for Austin’s children.

Beth Misner, along with her husband, Ivan Misner, founded the BNI Foundation 20 years ago to support students, schools and educational organizations around the world. The BNI Foundation congratulates Mrs. Misner on this prestigious award given in recognition of her volunteerism and philanthropic spirit.

Opened 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. In the decades since it’s establishment, The  Austin Child Guidance Center has provided treatment to more than 140,000 children and families.

BNI Manhattan Teams Up With Operation Backpack

BNI Manhattan Teams Up With Operation Backpack

In New York city, there are more than 16,000 homeless children who start each school year with no school supplies. Operation Backpack, organized by Volunteers of America, is dedicated to providing brand new backpacks with age-appropriate school supplies for children in grades 1-12. Last year Operation Backpack provided 18,000 backpacks full of school supplies to homeless children in New York.

Several BNI Manhattan members volunteered this month on to help stuff backpacks. Additionally, the BNI Manhattan 62 chapter has committed to providing 24 supply stuffed backpacks themselves. “Many of us in BNI have children and know how much it means when our kids go back to school each year with brand new supplies and a new backpack. I’m so happy that we as a BNI franchise and community of business professionals are able to support this effort, both financially and through volunteering.” said Jennifer S. Wilkov, BNI Manhattan’s Philanthropy Coordinator.

Volunteers of America is a nonprofit organization of nearly 16,000 paid, professional employees and 60,000 volunteers dedicated to helping those in need including veterans, at-risk youth, the frail elderly, men and women returning from prison, homeless individuals and families, people with disabilities, and those recovering from addictions. Learn more at voa.org.

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.

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