A Magic (Johnson) Moment at the ConnexFM Conference
The BNI Foundation has been working on a partnership with the Connex Foundation over the last few months to support New Life Beginnings, a shelter for women and children in Long Beach, California and we were finally able to see the project come to life on April 24th, 2022. Along with this partnership, the BNI Foundation awarded a $25,000 Givers Gain Grant to the project, our largest Grant to date. Board Members Kevin Barber, David Kauffman, and Michael Walchonski were on-site representing the BNI Foundation during the New Life Beginnings Project making much needed updates to the building spaces, living quarters, and learning centers.
New Life Beginnings provides safe shelter to vulnerable women and their children in a stable, caring, structured environment. The organization does not take government funding because the regulations in place would only allow those seeking shelter to stay for 2 months and women would only be permitted to house 2 children with them, requiring their families to be separated and the other children to be placed in foster care.
At the BNI Foundation, we know how important it is for children to live and stay in an environment that has all of the resources they need to be successful which is why we were proud to be the premiering sponsor of the New Life Beginnings Project. With this grant, we could contribute new books, furniture, and other necessities in the shelter to make sure all of the families and children that are staying at New Life Beginnings feel welcomed and cared for.
In addition to the project, the BNI Foundation was given the opportunity to attend the ConnexFM Conference the following days. As the guests of the Connex Foundation, our Chairmen were able to speak on stage about the BNI Foundation, our goals, mission, and vision. We are thankful for the partnership with the Connex Foundation and the good work we could do together with the New Life Beginnings Project.
To watch a review of our project, check out our YouTube channel – linked here!
[Kashipur Village, Khulna, Bangladesh] – The BNI Foundation partnered with Speak Up for the Poor to build the BNI Foundation Learning Center in Kashipur Village in Bangladesh. Speak Up for the Poor is a nonprofit whose mission is to create a new reality for girls in poverty. They create transformative programs for impoverished girls though three channels – the Girls Education Program, homes for at-risk-girls, and as justice advocates for girls experiencing abuse.
Speak Up for the Poor was a Givers Gain Grant recipient in the Fall of 2021 and immediately put the funds to work with the construction of the BNI Foundation Learning Center completed in March of 2022.
“The BNI Foundation grant has funded the construction of a brand-new Learning Center (schoolhouse) in Kashipur village — one of the 35 villages and urban communities in which Speak Up’s Girls Education Program operates”, says Dave Palmer, Director of Development for Speak Up for the Poor. “The new Learning Center in Kashipur will facilitate the education of more than 150 girls and young women in our Girls Education Program every year. We are so grateful to the BNI Foundation for their kind partnership with us”.
Speak Up for the Poor helps girls from impoverished backgrounds to escape child marriage and child trafficking, and to stay in school all the way through high school and college graduation, changing their future. Their life-saving programs in communities throughout Bangladesh are monumental, and the BNI Foundation is proud to partner with Speak Up to provide this grant to help in their mission to change lives.
For more information about Speak Up for the Poor, visit their website at https://www.speakupforthepoor.org/.
[Bradford, Vermont] – The Bradford Elementary School was recently awarded $1,000 of grant funding by the BNI Foundation to support their art program. This grant funded updated schoolbooks in the classroom to reflect a diversity of artists from different backgrounds who are masters in their mediums. The Bradford Elementary School is a student-centered community of learners who work together to support student growth academically, socially, and emotionally.
“I am very excited to be the recipient of the BNI Givers Gain Grant! As the art teacher at Bradford Elementary School, I am privileged to see each of my kindergarten through sixth grade students every week for art class,” said Al Morrow, Bradford Elementary Art Teacher for K-6.
“They are always excited to learn about new artists, and one of my favorite ways to introduce them to different artists is through picture books. Most of the books we have in the art room are
about thirty years old, and do not reflect the diversity of today’s art world. Because each year’s art budget is used to purchase art supplies for students, updating the books has had to wait. I am thrilled to be able to use the funds from the BNI Foundation Givers Gain Grant to finally be able to diversify and update the books in the art room! I know that the students of Bradford Elementary will be ecstatic to have access to these wonderful books”.
At Bradford Elementary School, we are seeing firsthand the urgent need to support educators in their ability to provide relevant materials for their students. We believe updating these books will have a significant impact on the students at Bradford Elementary
School as they continue their education by providing diverse, updated materials. The BNI Foundation works diligently to ensure that the grants we provide to educators will make the biggest impact on the largest number of students, and we are glad that we can assist Ms. Morrow in her endeavors to provide the highest quality education possible for her students.
Each year, the BNI Foundation is an integral part of the BNI Global Convention which was held virtually this year on October 6-9, 2021. This year, with the help of our amazing donors, the BNI Foundation raised over $40,000 with donors from 46 countries to help support children’s education around the world. Our fundraising efforts could not be successful without the continued support of the BNI Global Events Team and the BNI Executive Team who believe in the Foundation’s mission to make the world better for children. The main sources of fundraising came from attendees adding a donation to their event registration, raffle tickets, and the silent auction.
Keynote speakers from Global Convention donated their time and talents to the BNI Foundation by way of 121 Consultations in our silent auction. Stan Phelps, Dr. Cindy McGovern, Calvin Strachan, Charlie Lawson, Dr. Jeff Barnes, Linda Clemons, Mike Murphy, Robert Skrob, and Dr. Ivan Misner all championed the silent auction with their consultations, books, wine tastings, etc. as items in the auction resulting in over $9,000 raised.
We take pride in how much the Foundation has grown over the last 3 years, despite the global challenges we all faced and will continue to face. It was a time to build relationships with our donors and members of the BNI community as we continued to help support children’s education. The growth is in the numbers. The growth is because of our generous donors. We look forward to updating you on the impact of these donations and cannot wait to see what we can accomplish together at the 2022 Global Convention.
The Business Voices Teams in Austin and Houston, Texas have just completed their “Seats and Feet” campaign that collected socks and underwear to donate to local shelters and schools in the area. This amazing team of volunteers was successful in collecting over 28,975 items for their community!
With over 26 Texas BNI Chapters participating in the fundraiser, these amazing Business Voices Teams could provide socks and underwear items to six organizations in the Austin, Houston, and Montgomery County areas. The group received donations from chapter members, through Amazon Smile donations, a partnership with Target (yes, that Target!), and from the generous donations of community members.
With all of their hard work, it is no surprise that the Austin Team has done this before! This was the Austin Team’s 4th Annual Sock Drive and after hearing their community’s needs, they added underwear donations to the list too. Their happy hour donation drives proved to be a huge success and they even had help from Dr. Ivan Misner and BV rockstar, Becky Isbell.
The Importance of the Seats & Feets Campaign:
About the Organizations:
DePelchin Children’s Center: DePelchin Children’s Center believes that every child deserves to be safe and healthy. An accredited foster care and adoption agency, DePelchin serves the most vulnerable children and families in Texas and works to break the cycles of abuse and neglect.
Yes to Youth: YES to YOUTH – Montgomery County Youth Services strengthens the emotional and mental health development of youth and families by providing crisis intervention, counseling, and suicide prevention services. They provide a safe and nurturing home where abused, battered, sex-trafficked, homeless, and at-risk youth begin healing from the past and become empowered for the future.
Montgomery County Women’s Center: The Montgomery County Women’s Center has been committed for many years to providing a 24-hour hotline, safe shelter, crisis intervention, counseling, advocacy and legal services to survivors of family violence, sexual assault and stalking.
Texas Baptist Children’s Home: Texas Baptist Children’s Home’s residential program provides a safe home and a stable family environment where they can learn, grow, and ultimately experience a happy, healthy future.
Central Texas Table of Grace: Their mission is to create a loving, nurturing, homelike environment for displaced youth, providing shelter and healthy food as well as teaching healthy habits and life skills to the youth in our care.
Assistance League of Austin: The Assistance League of Austin’s “Operation School Bell” provide
s school-age children in need with a wardrobe of new school clothing, shoes, and toiletries.
Key Austin BNI Chapters:
We are happy to announce the launch of BNI Foundation India. This organization will be in an excellent position to set new projects in motion to benefit schools, educational organizations and students throughout India. Furthermore, BNI Foundation India will help grow the Business Voices initiative and encourage India’s BNI members and chapters to get involved in improving tomorrow’s business through education today.
The occasion was marked with a Virtual Lamp Lighting ceremony at the recent Mumbai Members’ Day. The lighting ceremony honored the life and legacy of BNI Foundation co-founder Beth Misner.
“Thank you to everyone who has been a part of this special journey and so grateful to carry on the loving legacy of our dear Beth Misner to light the lamp of education in the lives of so many children,” said BNI Foundation Board member, Meena Srinivasan.
In his proclamation, President Biden said volunteers provide “Hope for our futures, light to see our way forward, and love for one another.” This week is National Volunteer Week, established by Presidential Proclamation in 1974 to recognize the impact of volunteers and to highlight the various opportunities available for those interested in volunteering.
Volunteers lend their time and talents to keep benevolent and essential organizations operating, face some of our greatest challenges and help provide services that may otherwise not be available to those who need them. They make our communities stronger and can sometimes produce transformative effects. This week we shine a light on the efforts of volunteers and consider ways we can make a difference.
Since its establishment, National Volunteer Week has grown exponentially and today leads to thousands of projects and special events being organized around the country. All kinds of volunteering opportunities are available online, at places of work and in communities.
BNI member have an exclusive volunteering opportunity. The BNI Foundation was founded more than 20 years ago to improve tomorrow’s business through education today. The Business Voices Initiative helps BNI chapter members, as well as other business leaders and organizations, team up with and help schools and educational organizations in their communities. Visit our website for more information.
Take some time this week to consider the essential work of volunteers now and throughout history. You are sure to find inspiration to volunteer yourself.
Today is the last day of National Volunteer Week. It is a time to reflect and show appreciation for all of the volunteers who provide their time and energy unselfishly to people and issues that need attention and help. It is also a time to consider how we can help. Below are some volunteer opportunities to explore during the current quarantine. Most of these volunteer activities are convenient to participate in from home and will be easy to continue even when we are no longer confined.
BookShare.org is dedicated to offering books to those with reading disabilities including vision impairments, dyslexia and learning disabilities. Online volunteering opportunities include scanning books into their database and editing books scanned in by others.
A great option to help in your own neighborhood is by following the lead of our volunteer of the year, Brian Bentzen. He set up a “social distancing neighborhood library” where kids can share their books. This is a great way to stay connected in your community while sheltering in place.
CarrerVillage.org is a platform where students, “who want to be you when they grow up,” ask questions that you, as an experienced professional in your field, answer. You will need a LinkedIn account to take part. Sharing your expertise with students is a great way to practice Givers Gain® in the spirit of the mission of the BNI Foundation.
CrisisTextLine.com is a free national crisis intervention and counseling service conducted through SMS texting. Set up for individuals dealing with issues like bullying, self-harm and suicidal thoughts, it is currently being used by many having a particularly hard time with isolation during the quarantine. Volunteering involves a screening, online training and weekly four-hour shifts answering texts from people needing emotional support. If you could benefit from this service, text HOME to 741741.
Those with certain health conditions and the elderly are more susceptible to the serious effects of Covid-19. This increases the risk of running errands where they will come in contact with others. If you go to the store for groceries and medicine, consider doing the shopping for your at risk neighbor to minimize their risk. Always follow the recommended social distancing guidelines and practice increased hygiene in all of your volunteering activities.
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.