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.

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

Spring 2023 Givers Gain Grant Cycle

Spring 2023 Givers Gain Grant Cycle

Each year the BNI Foundation opens our Givers Gain Grant Cycle for one month in the Spring and Fall. We are excited to announce the Spring 2023 Grants Cycle which is open from March 1 – 31, 2023.

Givers Gain Grants are one of the important “Pillars of Success”, which is the moniker given to the 3 programs of the BNI Foundation. Over the last 25 years that the BNI Foundation has been providing monetary assistance to schools, educational organizations, and other student-focused programs around the world. Together, we have fundraised over $3.5 Million USD to help improve the educational circumstances facing financial instability that negatively affect educational opportunities. Our grants aim to help the most students as possible, leading to our grants funding programs and supplies that benefit 100s or 1,000s of students each cycle.

 

For Those Interested in Applying

We encourage all eligible organizations to apply for a Givers Gain Grant but we know that the process can often times be a daunting task. When preparing to apply for BNI Foundation’s Givers Gain Grants, follow these tips to make sure you’re providing the best information possible about your organization and programs.

  1. Be specific. Organizations that provide specific projected impact numbers or details about how the grant will be used have a higher likelihood of being awarded a grant.
  2. Don’t be afraid to ask. If you’re unsure about the grant process or have a question, please email us at info@bnifoundation.org and someone from our team would be happy to answer any questions!
  3. Have a relationship with someone in BNI. Although we want to help as many students as possible, the BNI Foundation is still growing and are only accepting applications from those that have a relationship with a BNI Member, Director, Chapter, or Global Support Team.

 

More Information about Eligibility

The BNI Foundation awards grants by referral only. A school or educational organization must have a relationship with a BNI Chapter, Member or Business Voices Team in order to be eligible for a grant. If you know of an organization which would benefit from a grant but does not yet fulfil this criteria, this may be an excellent opportunity to build a relationship with their nearest chapter. Please contact us for guidance if required.

The grant monies should fund projects which:

  • Benefit the largest possible number of children (i.e., do not primarily provide items which will become the property of students)
  • Enhance the classroom and learning environment
  • Support, where possible, multiple classrooms, teachers or instructors

Grants are awarded in Spring and Fall after a 4-week open-application cycle. Recipients may only apply for a grant once within a rolling 12-month period. The number of grants awarded is dependent upon the number of applications received and the amount of available funds at the time of the funding cycle and is subject to change.

We look forward to receiving applications from organizations with a primary focus on children’s education and, if successful, to building relationships with these organizations for years to come.

Announcing the New Partnership: NFL Alumni Association and BNI Foundation

NFL Alumni Association x BNI Foundation Partnership

 

The BNI Foundation and NFL Alumni are announcing a major collaboration to raise money for children throughout the United States. This partnership brings together two of America’s most well-known and respected organizations with a shared goal of making a positive impact on the lives of our nation’s youth and communities. 

The BNI Foundation’s mission is to lead a global movement of businesspeople who fund educational programs and volunteer time to prepare children for a promising future. We have established partnerships with local community programs to help empower and equip students with the skills necessary for a better future. The NFL Alumni is the oldest, most well-known and well-respected retired player organization in professional sports. The NFL Alumni focuses on their Caring for Kids Program, which provides services to underprivileged youth.  Together, we will work to fight childhood hunger, improve access to mental health services, support education and promote physical fitness for young people. 

This new collaboration between our two organizations will help expand our reach even further – enabling us to assist more children in need than we would ever have been able to assist before. Thanks to this partnership, the BNI Foundation and the NFL Alumni will be able to increase our fundraising efforts greatly; allowing us to expand our reach into more areas of the country where there is an immediate need to help students.  

This groundbreaking partnership will allow our two organizations to pool resources, aiding and supporting students, educators, and communities. Our ability to draw upon key resources from every corner of the country will create a vast network that can provide lasting relief.  

 

Both the BNI Foundation and NFL Alumni are committed to making a real difference in the lives of children and families. Our collaboration will create a powerful force for good that will benefit not only those currently receiving assistance, but also future generations who may find themselves in similar situations.   

 “We are always looking for companies and individuals who are willing to partner with us in our mission. If you are interested in joining forces with us, please reach out to me so we can discuss potential collaboration opportunities. Our commitment to helping vulnerable children is unwavering, and we strive to create enduring relationships with like-minded individuals and organizations to further support this cause. Our hope is that together we can help children in need get access to the essential services they require for their education and well-being.”

             – David Kauffman, BNI Foundation Vice-Chair – DavidK@bnifoundation.org

Clear Goals to Propel Your Nonprofit

Clear Goals to Propel Your Nonprofit

Is your nonprofit organization moving towards its missions? If not, it may be due to a lack of clear and specific goals. The mission statement should act as a beacon. Look at it as the as the ultimate goal that everyone is always working toward. However, mission statements are often far-reaching by design and meant to encompass a broad set of goals and objectives. The goals that get you to your mission should be much more specific and measurable. They include the projects that staff and volunteers will work on throughout the year. Clearly stated goals can motivate staff, donors and volunteers.

Evaluation

Before setting goals, the first step is to evaluate where your nonprofit currently stands in terms of finances, donors, staff and volunteer engagement. You may want to focus on one or more of these when setting future goals. This is also the time to look at past and current goals. How effectively are those goals being pursued? Do the goals serve the mission? Determine where the organization is succeeding and what issues are outstanding. Goal setting should involve staff from all departments. Keep communication open and the process transparent.

Examine the forces outside of your organization that will affect your work. Developing trends, changing community needs and donor and volunteer motivations could all suggest directions for goal setting. An understanding of where your nonprofit stands on these issues should give you an idea of weaknesses to improve and strengths to bolster. Keep your mission statement in mind as you determine your short and long term goals.

SMART Goals

Having determined your nonprofit’s standing, it’s time to set the goals that will guide your future actions. SMART is a long-standing goal setting system used by organizations around the world. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based. Each of these aspects works to create goals that are clear and motivating to your staff and volunteers.

SpecificGoals are specific as possible to provide focus and clarity. 

Measurable:  Goals must have objectives and milestones that can be measured. These will serve to mark progress.

Attainable:  Goals are realistic. Set ambitious goals that you have the resources to accomplish.

RelevantYour goals fit the big picture. Goals are relevant to the organization’s mission.

Time-based:  Deadlines can bolster motivation. Use multiple shorter deadlines.

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SMART Examples

The following are examples of specific goals that will nonetheless apply to many nonprofit organizations. Each one can serve as a starting point for formulating your own goals.

Raise Funds

Fund raising is certainly one of the most important goals that many nonprofits share. Some specifics of fund raising are how, how much, and by when. Sources include social media calls to action, fund raising events that can raise awareness and direct appeals to existing donors and volunteers.

Increase Awareness

Exposure and increased awareness will often help facilitate other goals, and a clear and specific mission and goals can make your audience more receptive. Concentrate on the communication channels you have in place that are most effective and new strategies you can introduce to increase your reach. Monitoring and measuring your impact is now easier than ever with online analytic tools.

Recruit

Recruit both volunteers and donors to maintain the effectiveness of your organization. Some will become both volunteers and donors so appeal to both altruistic impulses. A good place to start is by expanding your existing network and securing regular, ongoing donations. Increase donation channels to make it easy for your donors.

The new year can be a great time to reorganize and set upcoming priorities and goals for your nonprofit organization. Short and long-term goals should provide achievable and measurable steps to achieve the organization’s mission. Ensure that goals motivate your staff, volunteers and donors to action. With these points in mind, your nonprofit’s goals will help propel it to success.

The Easiest New Year’s Resolution to Keep!

The Easiest New Year’s Resolution to Keep!

If my own personal experience is anything to go by, at this point in January it could just be that some New Year’s resolutions – especially those of the “I am not going to do, eat, or drink that any more” or the “I am going to do this, that or the other every day” variety, have already been consigned to history. Disappointing as that might be, for those of you who followed this suggestion….

“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”

……you are still very much on track – at least with this one!

And the quickest and easiest way to get started is to put the date of this year’s 2nd Business Voices Future Leaders (BVFL) Week in your diary NOW – October 15 – 21, 2023. This is the week in which we invite BNI Chapters to hold their weekly meeting in a nearby school. If the week itself is not convenient, any time in October is fine too.

At the end of the weekly meeting, in which 15- to 18-year-old students have the chance to experience how modern business owners work together to help each other become more successful, selected Team Members go to or remain in the school to provide career orientation sessions, talking about their own professions to young people facing complex career decisions. The students’ homework assignment then gets them talking to their parents/guardians about their own jobs and careers and the experiences they have drawn from them.

Business Voices Future Leaders Week took place for the first time in October 2022, when 770 BNI Members from 65 Chapters gave practical career orientation advice to over 6500 students in 11 countries! And now for the really exciting part:

· After one meeting, 4 students went home and told their parents “Mom/Dad, school was so cool today, please can you join BNI?!

· An electrical contractor was approached after his weekly presentation by a 16-year-old boy who offered to connect him with his father who was building a factory. The last time we heard, negotiations had already commenced!

· Within four weeks of BVFL 2022 closing, it had already resulted in one Thank You for Closed Business for $243,000!

BNI Members who took part last year got so much out of the event themselves that they are already looking forward to returning in 2023 and a number of schools have asked if we can establish BVFL as a permanent fixture in the school calendar. If you would like to know more about how your chapter can take part, please register your interest via this link Business Voices Future Leaders Week – BNI Foundation to receive a detailed information package.

And if you simply have questions about what we do at the BNI Foundation and why we do it, please contact us on info@bnifoundation.org and one of our team members will be in touch to set up a call. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

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David Kauffman, January 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

Speak Up For Service Day Celebrates Community Involvement of Youth

Speak Up For Service Day Celebrates Community Involvement of Youth

Too often, the community involvement of young people is overlooked. On Speak Up For Service Day, October 30th, we recognize the impact of the young people who are actively engaged in community service. Speak Up For Service Day shines a light on their contributions.

The Mandan Lions Club of North Dakota, itself a community service organization, established Speak Up For Service Day in 2014, but its history goes back a little further. In 2003, the Lions club started the Student Speakers Contest for high school students in honor of Laura Christensen Espejo, a local woman who had devoted her life to improving health care availability for the less fortunate of Fargo and Peru. The contest went statewide in 2010. Today Lions Clubs throughout the North America hold public speaking contests for youths. Speakers are encouraged to share insights about current issues.

Get Involved

Speak Up For Service Day provides an opportunity to recognize the youth in your community for the projects they support and to encourage further community involvement by young people. If you are in a position to do so, create opportunities for youth to get involved. The benefits are many including confidence boosting and positive community impact. Here are some ways to observe Speak Up For Service Day:

  • Be vocal! Speak to others, especially young people, about the service initiatives available in your community.
  • Celebrate and encourage young people who get involved in their communities.
  • Raise awareness about the contributions young people make to their communities.

Starting to give of one’s time and effort at a young age can lead to a lifetime of fulfilling volunteer work and community service. Use Speak Up For Service Day as a springboard to get a young person in your life involved in community service.

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