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.

Helping Schools One “T” at a Time with Business Voices

get_involvedOver the years, the BNI Foundation has done amazing things to support children’s educational organizations – schools, community projects and other educational organizations. Since starting our charitable focus over 17 years ago, the BNI Foundation has contributed over $3 million to non-profit, charitable organizations like Junior Achievement (Young Enterprise), Boys and Girls Clubs, Claremont Educational Foundation, Flat Rock Elementary, Super Stars Literacy, Tareto Maa – Kenya, Little Rock Orphanage and School – Kenya, and Building Blocks – India, among many, many others.

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Givers Gain Grants Update

With the launch of the BNI Foundation’s Business Voices movement in August, 2014, more excitement, energy and support has been building within BNI than ever before for the great work we have been doing over the past 18 years in children’s education. As a result of the enthusiastic reaction, we plan to begin supporting Business Voices with our Givers Gain Grants program.

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Help Us Feed Inner City Kids!

Feed the Need UgandaAfter returning from an impactful trip to Zimbabwe, former BNI Select Business Source Chapter member Steve Sargent introduced his chapter to an opportunity they never expected. Steve used his presentation time, not to present on his business, but to present an opportunity for the chapter to literally save lives by giving two hours of volunteer time. Sargent found that in keeping with BNI’s Givers Gain® philosophy, chapter members were eager to help.

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Business Voices Collaboration with Smothers Academy

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Damon speaks to the BNI members in New Orleans

Written by: Beth Misner

Damon Smothers with the students of John D Martyn Alternative School.

Damon Smothers with the students of John D Martyn Alternative School.

Ivan and I (Beth Misner) hosted the BNI regional Member Extravaganza winners at a breakfast on Saturday morning during our New Orleans trip in October 2014. We invited Damon Smothers, the school psychologist who had coordinated the school visits from the previous day which I have written about earlier on this blog site, to our BNI breakfast. We asked him to share with our guests the vision he has had for some time of the Smothers Academy, a public school for boys with a prep school focus. Here is a summary of what he told us:

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Business Voices Plants Stand Up Youth Ambassador Program

The second school we visited in New Orleans was John McDonogh #35, a former charter school struggling to serve its students. McDonogh #35 used to serve students who have scored high enough on an entrance exam to be admitted as a college prep school. They are trying hard to maintain that focus and trajectory, but it’s more difficult now. And we encountered a metal detector at the front entrance through which everyone must pass before coming in.

I can tell you with confidence I have never been in a school that had a metal detector before. I knew they exist, but being up close and personal with that reality was sobering.

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Business Voices Comes to New Orleans

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The Business Voices Team New Orleans

“We are going into the 9th Ward, Beth,” I was told two weeks ago while planning our first inner city school school visit to meet the students of some of our nations’ toughest schools in order to begin building relationships there. New Orleans was the destination and John H. Martyn Alternative School and John McDonogh #35 were our two schools. Yikes.

John H. Martyn Alternative School

I did not know what I did not know. I did not know that these kids have been moved to the John H. Martyn Alternative School as a last resort.

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Business Voices Dream Team Webinar with Beth and Ivan Misner

Recent events in Ferguson, MO, have really touched the core of my heart. Let me start with a little background.

I spent my junior high and high school years in rural East Tennessee, in Dayton. I rode the bus to high school that picked up the kids from the projects, as we called it, before it picked up me and my brother. Most of the students picked up from the projects were black students. I was one of the few white students who would sit with black students if there were a spot open on the bus. Most of my classmates stood, rather than take a seat beside one of them. You can just imagine the names I was called. I look back on my younger self and feel grateful that I was known even then for love.

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