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.

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/.

 

2021 Seats & Feets Campaign Thrives in Texas

2021 Seats & Feets Campaign Thrives in Texas

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:

  • More than one third of American parents say they worry about their child having enough socks and underwear.
  • Of the parents that reported sending their children to school without socks or underwear, 51% shared they did so because they could not afford to provide their child with enough pairs of socks or underwear to make it through the week.
  • 55% of children who did not have underwear and socks to wear wanted to skip school or refused to go to school because he or she was embarrassed by not having any socks or underwear to wear.
  • Sending children to school without socks or underwear not only affects the child, but it also has a profound emotional impact on the parents. Parents reported feeling worried, stressed, sad, disappointed and insecure as result of having to send their children to school without socks or underwear: 41% worried; 39% stressed; 39% sad; 34% disappointed; 28% insecure.
Source:
America’s Youth: The Need for Basic Necessities. A National Survey
Conducted for JCPenney and The Y by M

 

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: 

  • BNI Profit Powerhouse 
  • BNI FPC 
  • BNI Circle of Trust 
  • BNI Rock Your Biz  
  • BNI CIA 
    BNI Live Oak  
  • BNI 360  
  • BNI Capital Connectors  
  • BNI Patriots of Profit

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.

Business Has A Voice in Education

BNI Foundation Co-Founder and President, Beth Misner, had a chance meeting at a local, Austin restaurant with a family from Houston. Michael was here to attend a rally to ask our state government not to cut funding for programs that help medically fragile children with their needs, including learning and keeping up with their counterparts as they undergo necessary medical care.

You’ll love meeting Charlotte, Michael’s young daughter, as Beth interviewed her daddy about their efforts. Remember, Business Voices is an initiative of the BNI Foundation. Our Business Voices teams say: “Bureaucracy Not Involved.” How can we help education and kids? That’s our #1 question.

We are improving tomorrow’s business through education today. Our mission is to create a conduit between Business and Education for children’s educational needs. Charlotte is just one of the reasons why we do this!

Please leave a comment below if you want to join Beth in the BNI Foundation and help us help kids with our unique and powerful movement.

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