BNI Foundation at BNI Global Convention Madrid 2023

We’re excited to be in Madrid, Spain for the BNI Global Convention which starts tomorrow, November 8th. The convention is being held at the Madrid Marriott Auditorium and runs through November 11th.

The BNI Foundation is celebrating its 25th Anniversary with a booth and main stage presentation. We’re also bringing back our popular Walk & Talk networking event. At our booth you can register for teh Walk & Talk where you’ll have an opportunity to learn about the BNI Foundation’s great programs like the Givers Gain Grants that help schools and educational organizations get projects funded and Business Voices which organizes BNI chapter members to support students in their communities.

If you are attending the BNI Global Convention Madrid 2023, be sure to stop by our booth, say hello and learn what the BNI Foundation is all about.

A Sweet Journey of Giving

A Sweet Journey of Giving

The BNI Foundation’s 10th annual Chocolate and Cha Cha fundraiser was an incredible success, raising a remarkable $10,000! But we have even more reason to rejoice, as Dr. Ivan Misner, the Founder of BNI and Chief Visionary Officer, has generously matched this amount with an additional $10,000!! So, the total raised at the event was $20,000. These funds are sure to make a profound impact on the lives of children and educators in need.

For a decade now, the Chocolate and Cha Cha fundraiser has served a testament to the power of unity within our BNI network. Each year, we gather to indulge in delectable chocolates, dance our hearts out, and raise funds to support the BNI Foundation’s mission of improving childhood education.

This year’s tenth annual event was nothing short of extraordinary. Members from the BNI Austin and Central Texas chapters came together, demonstrating their unwavering commitment to give back. As we celebrated our achievement, a momentous surprise awaited us. Dr. Ivan Misner made an exceptionally generous contribution to our cause, matching the $10,000 raised thus far. Dr. Misner’s remarkable gift not only demonstrates his dedication to supporting children and education but also serves as an inspiring reminder of the spirit of giving that lies at the heart of BNI. It is a testament to the values upon which our organization was built.

The funds raised, combined with Dr. Misner’s match, will go a long way in supporting the BNI Foundation’s various initiatives. Through our Givers Gain® philosophy, we strive to create opportunities that empower children and educators, enabling them to reach their full potential. These funds will support initiatives aimed at promoting entrepreneurship and leadership skills among young minds. They will also contribute to projects that enhance the learning environment in schools, fostering a brighter future for generations to come.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to every member of the BNI community who participated in the Chocolate and Cha Cha fundraiser. A special thank you goes to Dr. Ivan Misner for his unwavering support and matching funds which amplify the impact of our collective efforts. The BNI Foundation will continue to champion education and support initiatives that transform lives. We invite every member of our BNI family to join us in our ongoing mission of making a difference. Together, we are creating a brighter future, one child, one educator, and one act of generosity at a time.

Our 25th Year as a Foundation

David Kauffman Vice Chairman BNI Foundation

This year we are celebrating our 25th year as a foundation. This is a great milestone. Over the first 25 years of giving, we have donated over 3 million dollars to our local communities in support of our children and the teachers who educate them. There are now formal entities in 14 countries and Business Voices activate and many more! But with your help we can do so much more!

We have been asked, where does the money go? We want to tell you that with the support of the BNI Global Team we can use 100% of all money raised or donated to help in your local communities. How many foundations can make that statement! There have been over 150 Givers Gain Grants, larger grants to projects like New Life Beginnings, Friends of Thai Daughters, The Monarch School, and Shine Service Centers. We are now also a proud partner of the NFLA and we have built learning centers for children who would not be able to go to school.

Some of the recent grants have gone to teachers like Sarah Stockham, who used the money to buy Leveled Readers for the advancement of students reading skills. Boys and Girls Club of NJ purchased 3-D printers for their science program. Partners in Education Toledo purchased College & Career Ready Material to help their students to be better prepared after graduation. Horizon House used its grant to buy and fill backpacks with school supplies for the elementary students in their shelters. College Settlement Camp bought science Equipment, microscopes, and binoculars. Suisun Valley K-8 School created tower gardens to teach the children how to grow and eat healthy. Raskob Learning Institute and Day School needed iPads and Jenny Strene, Principal, needed Robotics kits. The Paraison School purchased books on Technology and the ATG Learning Academy needed Chrome tablets to help communicate with their students. The Bradford Elementary School art department purchased art supplies and new books to replace their 35-year-old textbooks. These are just a few of the many organizations that your BNI Foundation has helped.

What have our Business Voices teams been up to? We created Business Voices Futures Leaders Week where we had over 64 chapters giving career advice to over 6500 children in a single week. Look for more information on how you can get involved this year from October 15th to 21st. https://bnifoundation.org/future-leaders-week/
They have completed Career Days and Fairs, School Supply Drives, Student Mentoring, Student Recognition Events, School Projects like building computer rooms and libraries, Clothing drives, and so many other projects.

As a parting thought, remember this is YOUR foundation and with YOUR help we can do so much more to insure the children of the world can inspire to greatness!

BNI Foundation at the 2023 US National Conference

The BNI Foundation will have a strong presence at this year’s National Conference in Miami. We will be there, continuing our mission to help students, their education, and schools around the world.

Come join us for our main stage presentation on Thursday, right before Dr Ivan Misner speaks, to learn what the foundation has been doing over the past 25 years and how getting involved or participating in making a difference in a local child’s life can also help your business and your region.

Please visit our booth for more information on how you can be a driving force in your local community by becoming a Misner Fellow, Business Voices Team leader, or just pick up information on how to get started in your local community.

The Foundation has set a goal to increase our monthly Hero and Superheroes by ten new supporters. These heroes help us fund Givers Gan Grants throughout the year. These are supporters of the Foundation by contributing monthly. I would like to thank the many heroes for all their support! You can sign up at our booth or directly on our website (Place Link)

Business Voices Future Leaders Week is a simple way for BNI professionals to offer young people aged 15-18 Career Orientation advice within their local community. For one week in October, we are asking Chapters members to go into a school and meet with students to give advice and talk about the things they wish they knew then that they know now. They can even hold their weekly Meeting in a local school, showcasing the way BNI teams work together to help each other become more successful. After the Meeting, individual Members will remain in the school to talk and answer questions about their chosen professions. You can also visit an organization like Boys and Girls Clubs and mentor them.

We are still looking forward to your stories! If your chapter has a Business Voices Team, we would like to highlight you at the Conference and on our website. Here is a link to submit your information. (Place Link) If you are working with your local community to help children and have not yet registered, your team, please contact me at Davidk@BNIFoundation.org.

One of the really fun parts of Conference is our BNI Foundation Walk and Talk on Saturday morning which gets us “up and running” for the rest of the day with inspirational 121s with like-minded people – and helping local children while we to it! Please visit our boot to register and collect your tee-shirt.

Stay tuned to our website, bnifoundation.org, for more information about BNI Foundation activities at the 2023 National Conference.

Helping Children in Turkey to Start Learning Again

The BNI Foundation is Helping Children in Turkey to Start Learning Again

On 6 February, 2023 at 04:17 local time, southern and central Turkey and northern Syria were hit by the strongest earthquake in modern times. As of 10 March, 55,000 people are reported to have died, 2.4 million have been displaced, up to 24 million affected and over 200,000 buildings have been destroyed in an area the size of Germany.

Whenever such horrendous natural disasters occur, BNI members around the world, and understandably in particular those from the areas worst affected, turn to us and ask “what is the BNI Foundation doing to help?” Normally our answer is simple:

• The BNI Foundation is focused on Children & Education.
• We are not a disaster relief organization, not because we don’t want to help, but simply because we don’t have the resources to make an impact when faced with damage and suffering of such magnitude.
• At these times, well-known international aid organizations such as ICRC (The Red Cross) and UNICEF do an excellent job and have the financial and logistical resources to make a difference in the dramatic first days and weeks. Yes, part of their donation income is used to cover administrative costs, but donations to them really do make their work possible.
• If there is a Rotary, Lions, or other service club near to you, reach out to them and ask what they are doing. They have values which are well-aligned with those of the BNI Foundation and often work directly with other clubs in the affected areas to provide prompt and direct support.

After the initial intense media coverage has died down and the story is no longer in the headline news, the immediate flow of donations subsides. As the rebuilding process begins while much of the world turns its attention to other matters, the time comes when the BNI Foundation can have an impact on children and their education in schools which have been damaged or destroyed.

BUT for Turkey we are fortunate to already have our own BNI option! – Yardım – Herkesin bir gün yardıma ihtiyacı olabilir (bnisupportforturkiye.com).

BNI Turkey National Director Ayşe Aslan has launched an appeal to provide 100 families in the worst affected areas with a container to live in until they can return to permanent accommodation. In addition to the many homes lost, families are understandably afraid of returning to damaged properties for fear of further aftershocks. Being housed in a container will provide them with safe shelter as they attempt to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives. It will also enable children to feel more secure and slowly return to their school studies, something which is at the heart of everything that the BNI Foundation stands for.

Containers cost approx. TL45,000 or USD 2,500 each and the BNI Foundation in both Germany & Austria, where many of our Members have relatives in Turkey severely impacted by the earthquake, have donated to the BNI Support for Turkey appeal to purchase one container in the name of each country. BNI HQ has also donated $5,000 to accommodate two more families and we invite BNI Teams and regions around the world to do the same. Account details for international bank transfers are available via the link above, but the credit card option seems only to be available within Turkey. If an international transfer is not possible, please donate via the “Donate Now” button on www.bnifoundation.org, adding “Support for Turkey” and your name or that of your Chapter or Region in the text field. We will ensure that your donation is forwarded to Turkey promptly.

This is a unique way for the many BNI Members and Chapters around the world who would like to help directly if only they know how to make a difference in the lives of children in Turkey whose life changed so dramatically only a few weeks ago.

Thank you for whatever support you feel able to give!

Kevin Barber, March 17, 2023

There Is Still Good Reason To Smile!

There Is Still Good Reason To Smile!

The announcement in January by Amazon that it would be discontinuing its AmazonSmile program came as a surprise and disappointment to many. For customers signed up for the Smile program, Amazon had – since 2013 – donated 0.5% of the transaction value to a registered charity of that customer’s choice.

Amazon justified its decision by arguing that with one million registered non-profit recipients around the world, its impact had remained behind the organization’s expectations. Another explanation could, of course, be that after AmazonSmile attracted so many new customers, they have now decided to simply cut costs and increase margins by a further 0,5%. Whatever the real reason, the program ended on 20 February 2023.

I was never a big fan of the BNI Foundation promoting AmazonSmile to raise funds for us, because I truly believe that BNI members should be buying whatever they need from other BNI members, even if it ends up costing a bit more. After all, BNI is all about investing in relationships and we are not likely to build a relationship with a Member from Amazon anywhere in the world any time soon.

Having said that, most of us resort to buying from them from time to time, because they are quick and (normally) reliable. And knowing that every time we spend money with them a small part went to – in my case – the BNI Foundation made giving them our business feel just a little bit more acceptable.

Of course, realistically speaking, the benefit was actually very small. To raise $100 dollars in donation income, BNI members needed to spend $20.000 AND remember to purchase through the Smile.Amazon portal, not through Amazon itself! In 2022, we received a grand total of $550, so maybe Amazon was right about the impact not living up to expectations!

So why is there still good reason to smile? Because generating that income required purchases of $110.000 and there are a lot cheaper, simpler, and more effective ways of helping the BNI Foundation to support children and education than that. A monthly donation of $50 or $100 dollars or more will get you recognition on our website and there are also three levels of contribution to the Misner Endowment Fund, which mean you will be helping children for ever!

Any amount of money means that we can fund more projects than would otherwise be possible, but in the spirit of Givers Gain®, it doesn’t even have to be money! Through Business Voices™ there are multiple ways for you to help children in your local community get a better start in life, not least Future Leaders Week, which takes place from 15 – 21 October 2023. For further information, or just to talk to us about the BNI Foundation and how we can help you to grow your business, your chapter and your region, please contact us on info@bnifoundation.org.

Thank you, yours still smiling 😊

Kevin Barber, March 17, 2023

What Comes After The Holidays?

What Comes After The Holidays?

Christmas is a time of giving, which should be easy enough for BNI people to whom Givers Gain® is second nature. I remember a speaker at a Global Convention many years ago saying “Dr. Misner, I am sorry, but with all due respect “Givers Gain” is wrong, it should be “Givers Give,” because that is what Givers do, they Give – out of conviction that Giving is the right thing to do, not because they expect something in return”. Of course, in the end, they gain too, but this is not their intention, it just happens!

More BNI Members and Directors than ever have Given to the BNI Foundation in the past year – and for this, we want to say to all of you who have helped us in our mission to support Children and Education – THANK YOU! Some of you have Given money and, of course, money always helps, but many more have Given your time, your talent, and your experience. Today we have Foundation activities in more countries than ever before and our first Business Voices Future Leaders (BVFL) Week in October saw 770 BNI members from 65 chapters in 11 countries provide hands-on, professional career orientation advice to over 6500 students facing complex choices about their future careers.

Of course, this is also the time of year when people around the world decide on their New Year Resolutions and to make this easier to keep than usual, here is one suggestion from us:

“In 2023 I am going to GIVE a few minutes of my time to learn more about just how easy it is to get more involved with BNI Foundation activities in my region and why that could be important for me, my BNI team, and my own business”.

Whether you wish to 1) help us give more Givers Gain Grants by supporting us financially via the “Donate Now” button on our homepage www.bnifoundation.org or 2) launch a Business Voices team in your region or 3) find out more about how your chapter can participate in BVFL Week or 4) you are just learning about us for the first time and simply have questions about what we do and why we do it, please contact us on info@bnifoundation.org and one of our team will be in touch to set up a call.

Wherever you are in the world, we look forward to hearing from you and to learning – in the spirit of Givers Gain – how we can help you!

Happy New Year!!

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Kevin Barber, December 2022