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

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.

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.

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.

International Youth Day

International Youth Day

Today is International Youth Day, a day to consider the many difficulties that children face all around the world. From poverty and hunger to war and displacement, children face a wide range of hardships. Children are often the most vulnerable and unable to help themselves. At The BNI Foundation we have spent twenty years doing all we can to help children have access to education. The Business Voices initiative was designed to get business leaders to take action and help students and educational organizations in their own communities. Today there are Business Voices teams in cities all over the globe.

Established in 1999, International Youth Day grew from a United Nations program to bring awareness to the plight of children in need. It began with the first International Year of Youth in 1985 and the implementation in 1995 of the World Programme of Action for Youth which established broad guidelines to improve the world for children. Some of the primary goals of the United Nation’s program are to build a better world for children by focusing on fifteen priority areas including education, armed conflicts and health;  raise awareness about poverty and hunger;  and to encourage creative thinking to approach these problems.

Transforming Education

The theme of International Youth Day in 2019 is “Transforming Education,” which is perfectly aligned with the vision of the BNI Foundation. The United Nations is tying this effort with its 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which in part calls for inclusive and equitable quality education for all. Education is essential to achieving sustainable development and can play an important role in eradicating hunger, improving health, increasing gender equality and more.

In observance of International Youth Day and the beginning of classes this month throughout parts of the world, we encourage BNI chapter members and others to participate in activities to benefit students and educational organizations. The Business Voices initiative is an excellent way to organize with your business colleagues and make a real difference in your own community. Visit our website for information and a toolkit that will help you get started and provide ideas for charitable programs. Students and schools all over the world need your help, and that means right in your community as well.

Build-a-Bed

Members of BNI Commonwealth in Louisa, KY teamed up with The Kentucky Credit Union League Ashland Chapter to build beds for those in need for their annual Build-a-Bed project.

The goal is to give beds to school aged children who are forced to sleep on floors, couches, or in beds with multiple other children or family members. This regional Build-a-Bed Project through Morehead State University has provided more than 1,000 beds to children in Eastern Kentucky since it began in 2010. This year the Ashland Build A Bed committee set a goal to build 100 beds, in addition to the 200-bed goal set by MSUCorps AmeriCorps Program.

The Ashland Build-a-Bed Project will serve as a branch of the Build-a-Bed Project through MSUCorps. Ashland Build-a-Bed will build and distribute beds for the FIVCO area that include: Boyd, Carter, Lawrence, Greenup, and Elliot. The Ashland Build-a-Bed is a service project put together by the Kentucky Credit Union League Ashland Chapters which include: Members Choice Credit Union and Ashland Credit Union.

See photos of the envent on our gallery page.

Givers Gain Grants

Givers Gain® Grants Awarded to Five Deserving Organizations

This year’s winter round of Givers Gain® Grants have been awarded. Every year the BNI Foundation awards at least ten $1,000 grants to schools and educational organizations for projects that will benefit students. To qualify the school or organization must be associated with one of our Business Voices teams. Here are this year’s winners.

Swift Youth Foundation in Scottsdale, AZ

The Swift Youth Foundation was founded in 1980 to provide a camping experience to children who would otherwise be unable to afford it. The organization works to empower teens to make a positive difference in their own lives and communities by developing leadership skills and instilling a commitment to social action.

Horizon House in Philadelphia, PA

Started in 1952 as a support group for former mental health patients, Horizon House is committed to helping individuals live a fulfilling life in their communities. There PEACE program helps young people deal with early psychosis. 

Just for Girls in West Bradenton, FL

Just for Girls makes a positive impact on young women through prevention education, academic support, character development, and personal enrichment. They provide before and after school programs as well as education programs for K-8th grade that help girls map a new path to success, find their personal inspiration, and increase their grades. 

Investing in Kids, St. Augustine

INK works to provide scholarships, innovative programs and classroom resources to the students of the Saint Johns County public school system.

Carlson School 

Building Blocks School

Congratulations to all of the recipients. We look forward to learning more about the programs the Givers Gain® Grants will fund.

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.

World Teacher’s Day

World Teacher’s Day Celebrates Contributions, Recognizes Challenges

“Those who know, do. Those who understand, teach.”

Aristotle

Celebrated annually on October 5th since 1994, World Teacher’s Day was created by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to commemorate the adoption of the 1966 “Recommendation Concerning the Status of Teachers.” The 1966 Recommendation set benchmarks for the rights and responsibilities of teachers as well as international guidelines for the recruitment, employment and training of teachers around the world. World Teacher’s Day has become a day to recognize and celebrate the contributions of teachers and to encourage mobilization around the challenges teachers face every day.

This year’s theme is “The right to education means the right to a qualified teacher,” chosen to reflect the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights which recognized education as one of humanity’s fundamental rights. In the 70 years since the Declaration, UNESCO has worked toward ensuring every child has access to quality education. The primary challenge to this goal is a continued worldwide shortage of teachers, most pronounced among vulnerable populations like girls, refugees and migrants, and the poor.

World Teacher’s Day is observed in over 100 countries throughout the world. Events include community celebrations that honor teachers and conferences and symposiums concerning issues facing teachers and education.

Business Voices on World Teacher’s Day

This yearly celebration, and the awareness it creates, provide an excellent opportunity for Business Voices teams to mobilize and help schools, teachers and students in their communities. Projects can be geared to help teachers as well as the schools where they work and the students they teach. The Business Voices toolkit includes charitable project ideas including school beautification days, supply drives and even using your business knowledge to coach teachers and school staff. Take advantage of this day that honors teachers around the world to create excitement and support for the teachers in your own community.

Tax Free School Supplies

Tax Free School Supplies

This weekend many states offer sales tax free shopping on back to school items. This is the time to stock up for your school supply drives. Here are the participating states, their tax free dates and details:

Arkansas August 4 to August 5 – school supplies and clothing items priced at $100 or less.

Connecticut August 19 to August 25 – clothing and footwear priced under $100.

Florida August 3 to August 5 – school supplies at $15 or less, and clothing and footwear at $60 or less.

Iowa August 3 to August 4 – clothing and footwear priced at $100 or less.

Maryland August 12 to August 18 – clothing and footwear priced at $100 or less.

Massachusetts August 11 to August 12 – school supplies and most other purchases up to $2,500.

Missouri August 3 to August 5 – up to $50 of school supplies, clothing at $100 or less and computers priced up to $1,500.

New Mexico August 3 to August 5 – school supply items priced at $30 or less, computers up to $1,000 and clothing and footwear priced at $100 or less.

Ohio August 3 to August 5 – school supplies and books priced up to $20 and clothing priced at $75 or less.

Oklahoma August 3 to August 5 – clothing and footwear priced at $100 or less.

South Carolina August 3 to August 5 – school supplies, clothing, computers, and  home items.

Texas August 10 to August 12 – school supplies, clothing and footwear priced at $100 or less.

Virginia August 3 to August 5 – school supplies at $20 or less, and clothing and footwear at $100 or less.

Wisconsin August 3 to August 5 – clothing and school supplies up to $75 an item, computers up to $750, and computer supplies priced at $250 or less.

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