Givers Gain Grant Provides Chess Sets, Coaching to Virginia Beach Students

Givers Gain Grant Provides Chess Sets, Coaching to Virginia Beach Students

 

Hampton Roads Chess Association in Virginia Beach, VA is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing the life benefits of chess to people of all ages and abilities. They work closely with area schools, and other local organizations, to provide chess equipment and instruction to students throughout the region. Now, Hampton Roads Chess Association is also a Givers Gain Grant recipient.

 

“We are so grateful for your support in being able to impact children who could not otherwise afford chess programming,” said Executive Director, Tina Schweiss, “These children will learn focus, impulse control, decision-making, planning and organizing, calculation, pattern recognition, time management, and so much more through chess.”

 

The bulk of the grant was used to hire chess coaches to provide instruction to students at two elementary schools, Seatack Elementary in Virginia Beach and Lindenwood Elementary in Norfolk, VA. Hampton Roads has partnered with Connect With a Wish – a Virginia non-profit that serves children in foster care – and a portion of the grant funds were used to provide the children with chess classes, clubs and tournaments to participate in as well as personal, portable chess sets. Finally, any remaining funds supplemented the Joan H. Schlich Memorial Scholarship Fund which covers individual, need-based scholarships. “We have a scholarship fund with which we strive to turn no child away for inability to pay. The fees they would normally pay for tuition, training accounts, etc. are covered by the scholarship in whole or in part,” said Schweiss.

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The Hampton Roads Chess Association has done great work introducing and promoting the game of chess to children and adults, all the while working with a network of other non-profits and chess focused organizations to maximize their impact and reach. We at the BNI Foundation are proud to support this worthwhile organization.

Business Voices Future Leaders Week

What is Business Voices Future Leaders Week?

Business Voices Future Leaders Week (BVFL) is a simple way for BNI professionals to offer young people career orientation advice within their local community. During the week of October 17 – 21, 2022, we are inviting Chapters to hold their weekly Meeting in a local school, showcasing the way BNI teams work together. After the Meeting, volunteer Members will remain in the school to talk and answer questions about their chosen professions.

 

Why did the BNI Foundation create BVFL Week?

BVFL is designed to give students a real world understanding of what businesspeople do and how they got there. As BNI Members and Directors, we have unique experiences and are proud to have so many entrepreneurs who may not have a traditional educational background. At the BNI Foundation, we believe it is important for students to see that every educational and professional experience is important. Regardless of the path to your career, it is important to show students that success is achieves in many different ways. Business Voices Future Leaders Week also provides opportunities for BNI Members to give back to their communities and gives Chapters a reinvigorating experience to remind them of the importance of their networks for growing their businesses and the communities in which they live.

 

How to get involved

If your Chapter is interested in participating in BVFL, please register in advance by using the link provided below. To make the process as smooth as possible, you must register your team in advance. Once registered, a representative from our organization will email you the event packet with all of the materials needed to have a successful and fun day!

Our Goal for BVFL Week

Our goal is to provide career orientation advice to students ages 15- 18 years old as they prepare for their future careers.

 

 

Register today!

Business Voices Future Leaders Week

The 3 Pillars of the BNI Foundation

The 3 Pillars of the BNI Foundation

 

Every solid structure needs a good foundation. The BNI Foundation’s 3 Pillars are what make our organization succeed in making the biggest impact for as many young people as we can. Our 3 pillars are Business Voices, Givers Gain Grants, and the Misner Endowment Fund, all of which are essential to fulfilling our mission. Below outlines each pillar and how they work together to make us the BNI Foundation!

 

Business Voices

Inspired by a cry from an inner-city community, Co-Founder Elisabeth Misner was moved by one parent’s televised plea for help with the dire situation in that community’s schools, and thus, Business Voices was born. Business Voices (BV) allows BNI Members, Directors, and Chapters to use their time, talent, knowledge, and experience to help children in the communities in which they live and work. Through BV, you can make an impact on your community, supporting educators and students as they grow and learn. Our Business Voices teams are our volunteer teams that provide “boots-on-the-ground” support all over the world through utilizing the network of BNI Chapters.

 

Givers Gain Grants 

Our Givers Gain Grants are grant funds given to organizations whose mission is to positively impact young people. Our Givers Gain Grants help to fund programs that help young people by providing clothing, after school programs, tutoring classroom supplies, scholarships, and much more. Grants are generally $1,000 USD and are funded by donations received from our generous supporters. They are available to support educational organizations in countries around the world. Our Grant Cycle runs twice a year, once in Spring and again in the Fall, each lasting approximately 4 weeks.

 

Misner Endowment Fund

The Misner Endowment Fund was created in 2019 to ensure financial support for the BNI Foundation for years to come. Donations to the Misner Endowment fund grow with our organization through interest earned and will support children and education by funding grants and programs. Through their generous support, Misner Fellows are helping us achieve our goal of having $1,000,000 USD in the Endowment Fund — which was the dream of Co-Founder, Elisabeth Misner.

 

 

A Magic (Johnson) Moment at the ConnexFM Conference

A Magic (Johnson) Moment at the ConnexFM Conference

 

Our chairmen, Kevin Barber and David Kauffman, along with board member Michael Walchonski, were recently given the opportunity to speak about the BNI Foundation’s impact at the ConnexFM conference in Long Beach, CA. While there, they met and spoke with Magic Johnson, world renowned basketball star and philanthropist. At the meet and greet they thought they would have a bit of private time with Magic, but he had other plans.

He was pushing past the backstage crowd and got to our chairmen and Kevin asked, “How can we help you?” He stopped and looked at them and said, “What did you say?” David responded,” We are the BNI Foundation, and our foundation has a similar mission as yours, we help children succeed, I want to know how we can help you?”. He looked and said, “That is a totally different conversation.

Give me something to write on and call me to set up a meeting.” After talking about both of our Foundations for a brief time, he gave them his number! BNI Foundation and Magic Johnson have hopes to work together on a project soon. A true testament to the Givers Gain philosophy, we are excited to see what the future holds!

New Life Beginnings: Partnership with Connex Foundation

New Life Beginnings Project: Partnership with the Connex Foundation

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!

BNI Foundation Learning Center in Kashipur Village, Bangladesh

 

[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/.

 

Giver’s Gain Grant Funded to Bring Diversity to Art Schoolbooks

[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.

 

 

National Volunteer Week

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.

Halloween Safety

Tips for a Safe Halloween Night

Halloween, which originated from ancient traditions and religious rituals over 2,000 years ago, is observed around the world as a celebration of candy and mischief, dress-up, dark adventure, and for some, the supernatural. It is most popular in the US, Canada and Ireland- from 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 light-colored materials and items in your costume to increase visibility 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! Drive slowly through residential areas and where trick-or-treaters are present.
  • Turn the headlights on early.
  • Do not text and drive! Distractions can be deadly on Halloween where crosswalks may be less utilized by children and families. 

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

National School Backpack Awareness Day

Practice Backpack Safety

National School Backpack Awareness Day is observed every year on the third Wednesday of September. The awareness day was launched by The American Occupational Therapy Association in 2001 with the goal of encouraging proper backpack use by students. Improper use of backpacks can result in back pain, injuries, and bad posture as well as circulatory and other health issues. This is a great opportunity – now that school is in full swing in the US – to review proper backpack use with the students in you life. Here are some basic tips.

  • Always us both of the straps on a backpack. Slinging a backpack on just one shoulder can lead to pain, injury and bad posture. If the backpack has waist and chest straps, use those too. The waist and chest straps help to distribute the weight of the pack and keep it stable on the body. Well padded straps help to avoid cutting off circulation to the arms.
  • Ensure that the backpack’s size is appropriate for the child. Straps should be adjusted so the pack fits snugly against the child’s back and the pack should be worn high on the back (one or two inches above the hips).
  • A packed backpack should weigh no more than 10% of the child’s body weight. Heaviest items should be packed closest to the back of the pack (near the child’s back) with lighter items toward the front. Check periodically to ensure only essential items are in the backpack.
  • Backpacks should be picked up and put on by bending and lifting with the knees, not the back. If the child is having trouble lifting and putting on the backpack, it is likely too heavy.

Signs of Improper Use

  • Difficulty putting on and taking off the backpack
  • Pain while wearing the backpack
  • Numbness or tingling in the arms while wearing the backpack
  • Red marks on the shoulders where the backpack straps rest
  • Slouching or bad posture while wearing the backpack

The American Occupational Therapy Association has made a comprehensive checklist available for download. You can find it here.

Interesting Fact:

The modern backpack was invented by Gerry Outdoors in 1938 as a recreational tool for hiking and camping. In 1968 JanSport went into business making lightweight nylon backpacks which made them popular with students around the country. Today JanSport is the largest backpack maker in the world.

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