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.

 

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.

 

 

BNI Global Convention 2021 Fundraising Success

BNI Foundation Fundraising Success Report: BNI Global Convention 2021

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.

 

Alphabetical Donor Country List

National Volunteer Week

At Home Volunteer Opportunities.

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.

BOOKS

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.

MENTORING

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.

COUNSELING

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.

CLOSE TO HOME

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 in Abruzzo Italy

Business Voices Redevelops Classrooms in Abruzzo Italy

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.

GTS at Ashley Park Elementary

Global Support Team Takes Ashley Park Elementary Under It’s Wing

The BNI Foundation Global Support Team had a great year with it’s sponsored school, Ashley Park Elementary! This year the team made a concerted effort to really make a difference for the students and teachers. Below are highlights of the results of the team’s hard work, time and funds invested toward Ashley Park Elementary.

  • In September the team collected school supplies and BNI HQ donated book bags for the preschool classes
  • In December they collected PJ’s for the Preschoolers
  • In February they collected belts for the students
  • In March they collected Navy colored polo shirts for the students’ uniforms
  • In April they collected Khaki pants for the uniforms
  • BNI HQ sponsored a field trip for the 5th grade class to Laser Tag as well as a stop at BNI HQ for free ice pops from “King of Pops’ and a tour of the offices and a talk with CEO Graham Weihmiller
  • In May they held a teacher appreciation for the amazing teachers that work in very difficult situations day in and day out.  The team collected money and had a Coffee truck available at the school in the teacher parking lot to offer all of the staff free specialty coffees.  There were also donuts, bagels and other yummy treats in their teacher lounge.  The staff was blown away and so appreciative of this gesture.

Congratulations to the Global Support Team for a great year sponsoring a deserving school. Keep up the good work. Check out the video below and the gallery at this link.

National Conference Special Awards

Special Awards Presented at the BNI National Conference

At this year’s BNI National Conference in Las Vegas, four special awards were handed out to deserving executive directors from around the country.

The Ivan Misner Excellence in Giving Award was presented to Norm Dominguez, Executive Director of BNI Arizona.

The Beth Misner Leadership Award went to Shelli Howlett, Executive Director of BNI DFW, BNI Austin and BNI San Antonio.

The final award was presented to four individuals. Dawn Lyons and Mike Macedonio, Executive Directors of BNI San Francisco, and Dr. Margie Cowan and Dr. Emroy Cowan, Executive Directors of BNI Colorado all received the Alice Astrouer Philanthropy Award.

Congratulations to all of the special awards recipients and thank you for all the work you do.

Youngest Donor to the BNI Foundation

At the US National BNI Directors’ Conference, the BNI Directors supported our charitable work and donated over $1800 to our charitable work. Ivan and I promised to match the donations which came in at the conference, so that brought our total raised to just over $3600. THEN on Sunday morning, Andrea and Mark Stough of BNI SW FL had a group dance card with Dr. Misner. Their young son, Brendon, gave a cash donation of $50 to the BNI Foundation!

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