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.

Halloween Safety

Tips for a Safe Halloween Night

Halloween, which originated from ancient traditions and religious rituals some 2,000 years ago, is observed around the world as a celebration of candy and mischief, dress-up and dark adventure – and for some the supernatural. It is most popular in the US, Canada and Ireland where it originated.

Tonight millions of children and adults will go out dressed as their favorite hero, or most dreaded villain, to trick-or-treat. Here’s are some basic safety tips to keep in mind while out having fun.

  • Use reflective or lighted materials and items in your costume to increase visibleness at night.
  • Choose makeup over sight obstructing masks for costumes.
  • Trick-or-treat in groups and keep younger children closely supervised.
  • Use sidewalks and crosswalks and make eye contact with drivers before crossing to insure they see you.
  • Put your devices away. Our biggest distractors become more dangerous on a night like Halloween.
  • Drivers, be alert, driving slowly through residential areas and where trick-or-treaters are present.
  • Turn the headlights on early.
  • Turn the cell phone off on this night while driving.

Keep these points in mind to keep the fun safe. Happy Halloween to all our friends celebrating today.

International Youth Day

International Youth Day

Today is International Youth Day, a day to consider the many difficulties that children face all around the world. From poverty and hunger to war and displacement, children face a wide range of hardships. Children are often the most vulnerable and unable to help themselves. At The BNI Foundation we have spent twenty years doing all we can to help children have access to education. The Business Voices initiative was designed to get business leaders to take action and help students and educational organizations in their own communities. Today there are Business Voices teams in cities all over the globe.

Established in 1999, International Youth Day grew from a United Nations program to bring awareness to the plight of children in need. It began with the first International Year of Youth in 1985 and the implementation in 1995 of the World Programme of Action for Youth which established broad guidelines to improve the world for children. Some of the primary goals of the United Nation’s program are to build a better world for children by focusing on fifteen priority areas including education, armed conflicts and health;  raise awareness about poverty and hunger;  and to encourage creative thinking to approach these problems.

Transforming Education

The theme of International Youth Day in 2019 is “Transforming Education,” which is perfectly aligned with the vision of the BNI Foundation. The United Nations is tying this effort with its 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which in part calls for inclusive and equitable quality education for all. Education is essential to achieving sustainable development and can play an important role in eradicating hunger, improving health, increasing gender equality and more.

In observance of International Youth Day and the beginning of classes this month throughout parts of the world, we encourage BNI chapter members and others to participate in activities to benefit students and educational organizations. The Business Voices initiative is an excellent way to organize with your business colleagues and make a real difference in your own community. Visit our website for information and a toolkit that will help you get started and provide ideas for charitable programs. Students and schools all over the world need your help, and that means right in your community as well.

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.

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.

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.

World Teacher’s Day

World Teacher’s Day Celebrates Contributions, Recognizes Challenges

“Those who know, do. Those who understand, teach.”

Aristotle

Celebrated annually on October 5th since 1994, World Teacher’s Day was created by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to commemorate the adoption of the 1966 “Recommendation Concerning the Status of Teachers.” The 1966 Recommendation set benchmarks for the rights and responsibilities of teachers as well as international guidelines for the recruitment, employment and training of teachers around the world. World Teacher’s Day has become a day to recognize and celebrate the contributions of teachers and to encourage mobilization around the challenges teachers face every day.

This year’s theme is “The right to education means the right to a qualified teacher,” chosen to reflect the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights which recognized education as one of humanity’s fundamental rights. In the 70 years since the Declaration, UNESCO has worked toward ensuring every child has access to quality education. The primary challenge to this goal is a continued worldwide shortage of teachers, most pronounced among vulnerable populations like girls, refugees and migrants, and the poor.

World Teacher’s Day is observed in over 100 countries throughout the world. Events include community celebrations that honor teachers and conferences and symposiums concerning issues facing teachers and education.

Business Voices on World Teacher’s Day

This yearly celebration, and the awareness it creates, provide an excellent opportunity for Business Voices teams to mobilize and help schools, teachers and students in their communities. Projects can be geared to help teachers as well as the schools where they work and the students they teach. The Business Voices toolkit includes charitable project ideas including school beautification days, supply drives and even using your business knowledge to coach teachers and school staff. Take advantage of this day that honors teachers around the world to create excitement and support for the teachers in your own community.

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.

Business Voices in Miami-Dade

Great Year of Accomplishments for Business Voices in Miami-Dade

Summer is here, classes are over and we would like to congratulate the BNI Miami-Dade region for an exceptional year of Business Voices activity.

  • $4,200 donated by BNI Results, BNI Excellence and BNI Coral Gables chapters and the BNI Miami-Dade region
  • Presented a big check to Beth Misner at BNI Pinnacle, host of “Ask the Founder” with Ivan Misner in October 2017
  • Mrs. Stay’s 4th Grade Class inspired the creation of the Join the Club campaign
  • Invited author Norm Dominguez to Fall LT&NE in August – he is donating $1.00 per book sold to the BNI Foundation
  • Peeked the interest of dozens of teachers, and administrators, who will be engaging with our Business Voices teams forming for Fall LT&NE

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.

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