"Education is not the filing of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." -William Butler Yeats
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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

30 Things The Brandon Foundation Is Thankful for

November is the month of Thanksgiving. The holiday was originally celebrated to give thanks for the harvest and preceding year. At The Brandon Foundation, we have so much to be thankful for, and we wanted to share a few of those things with you! Here are 30 things we’re thankful for, one thing for each day in the month of November.

  • Jesus, our Lord and Savior through whom all things are possible
  • That we are an organization guided by God through our purpose
  • Miss Caty, our Founder and Executive Director
  • Our Scholars
    • Aaliyah, Auntral, Darrell, DeAundre, Deijah, DJ, Edyn, Elijah, Ethann, Isaiah, Josh, Malakhi, Medina, Noel, Saphia and Shawnn Michael
  •  Our Mentors
    • Mr. Abdul, Mr. Albert, Miss Aly, Miss Brittany, Mr. Chuck, Miss Dawn, Mr. Drew, Miss Jasmine, Miss Kelly, Mr. Nik, Miss Sara
  • Our Board of Directors
    • Miss Cadie, Mr. Chris, Miss Melissa, Miss Rebecca and Miss Tara
  • Miss Khiala, our Assistant Director
  • The parents of our scholars who support us all every step of the way
  • Our Fundraising Committee
    • Miss Brie and Miss Jen
  • Our Volunteer Marketing Expert
    • Miss Abby
  • Our Corporate Sponsors
    • Big City Cars, Calico Precision Molding, Holm Reporting & Video, Northside Plumbing and Sweeney Law Firm
  • Our Donors & Supporters
  • Our families
  • Our Guest Speakers
  • Opportunities to volunteer and give back to our community
  • Prayer Circle
  • Friendships, old and new
  • Snack Time
  • The opportunity and ability to learn
  • The schools that our scholars attend and their teachers
  • Activities like art, sports, and mindful movement
  • The Fort Wayne Community
  • The many local churches that families of The Brandon Foundation attend
  • St. Henry’s Community Center
  • Group Outings, like the Pacers' game we got to see last Friday
  • Kava the therapy dog and his master Miss Angela
  • The Three Rivers Parade
  • Local Universities, especially IPFW and St. Francis
  • Indiana Youth Institute who helped in our strategic planning as well as with training for mentors and board members
  • Giving Tuesday and all those helped us raise $1,600, exceeding our goal!

What are you thankful for this holiday season?

Thank you for reading!
Abby Bormann & The Brandon Foundation

Monday, November 21, 2016

The mission, should you choose to accept it: Kindness

Last week as our scholars reflected on the results of our recent presidential election, the discussion turned inward. The President of the United States, together with the other branches of the federal government, holds an enormous amount of power with potential to change the world on a grand scale. But if you’re not POTUS, how can an individual, even a very young one, change the world? The answer The Brandon Foundation discussed was one random act of kindness at a time. From this, came the scholars’ mission to be carried out over the next two weeks. Use $10 to make an impact on their world and spread kindness!

Here are some of the ideas our scholars came up with:

Darrell: Put $10 in a blessing bag that will be handed out to Fort Wayne’s homeless as part of The 
Brandon Foundation’s annual Blessing Bags Project, which will be our December service event.

Malakhi, Ethan & Shawn Michael: Give $2 each to 5 people.

Josh: Buy 5 Bibles to give to 5 people.

Saphia: Buy 24 cupcakes to pass out to people.

Isaiah, Auntral, Medina & DJ: Give $10 to 1 person in need.

Elijah: Give $10 to someone when he next goes out to eat.

DeAundre: Purchase 3 cases of water and write affirmations on each battle. Then pass out the bottles of water to 72 people.

We hope you’ll join Mission: Kindness this week and throughout the holidays!

Don't forget that next Tuesday, November 29th is Giving Tuesday! If you'd like to make a donation to The Brandon Foundation, you can click the "Donate Now" link at the top of our blog page. Our goal for this year's campaign is $1,500.

Also, we are delighted to be one of the many charitable organizations that shoppers can support through AmazonSmile. In case you haven't heard, "AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support your favorite charitable organization every time you shop, at no cost to you." If you go to smile.amazon.com, you can select a charity to support. Then each time you shop, Amazon will donate 0.5% of the purchase price to the organization. Just make sure that you always shop on smile.amazon.com!

Happy Thanksgiving!
Abby Bormann & The Brandon Foundation

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Scholars and World Citizens

Among the qualities that make up a great leader is good citizenship. At The Brandon Foundation, one way that we practice this trait is through monthly community service activities. In fact, we already have almost the whole school year’s volunteer days planned.

For the month of September, thirty scholars, mentors, board and family members volunteered with Kids Against Hunger. Together with thirty-five other teams, more than 100,000 meals were packed to send to families in the Philippines! It was exciting to be part of such an effort, seeing members of the Fort Wayne community come together to aid global citizens half way around the world.

Rebecca Bormann, President of the Board of Directors, said of her experience at the event, “I was very fortunate to have a father who instilled in me the importance of giving back. One of his favorite quotes by Martin Luther King, Jr. is ‘Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, “What are you doing for others?”’ I feel so grateful to be able to help pass this lesson along to our scholars. I love to watch our students generosity out-poured and eagerness to help others!”

Kids Against Hunger is a food-aid organization based in Omaha, Nebraska, with more than 75 satellite locations across the U.S. and Canada. KAH’s goal is to eradicate world hunger, which they do through packaging highly nutritious, fortified soy-rice casserole meals. They partner with other organizations to distribute meals in over 60 countries. Last year, Kids Against Hunger’s packaging centers put together over forty million meals!

Our plans for the upcoming months are:

October  - Lutheran Children’s Hospital – painting pumpkins with patients

November – Community Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Indiana

December – Make and distribute care packages for Fort Wayne’s homeless

January – OPEN

February –Lutheran Children’s Hospital – making Valentine’s cards with patients

March – Lutheran Life Village – visit the elderly

April – St. Mary’s Soup Kitchen

May – OPEN

If you know of any organizations that need a helping hand from our good citizens let us know! We’re still looking for a couple of opportunities yet this year. You can email us at brandonfoundation@hotmail.com. 

We are BLESSED to be a BLESSING!

Thank you for reading!
Abby Bormann & The Brandon Foundation

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Planning for the Future: The Brandon Foundation’s Strategic Plan

As The Brandon Foundation’s 4th academic year begins next Tuesday, the Board of Directors has been planning for the many years to come. This summer, The Brandon Foundation Board met with Michael Burns Consulting, LLC to put together a three year strategic plan.

The Board first completed a thorough analysis of what The B Foundation has accomplished so far, where our strengths and weaknesses lie, and which resources are already available to us and which are lacking. After much consideration, they set goals, prioritized them, and considered what steps we need to take to accomplish them.

Here’s a peak into the Board’s assessment of the current Brandon Foundation and the potential future in store for us:

Our greatest strengths are the reputation that we’ve built in the Fort Wayne community and Christian principles that guide us. Our main weaknesses come from the increasing need for volunteers and the limitations of our current facility that we are beginning to outgrow.

SIDE NOTE: If you or someone you know is interested in getting involved, we have a variety of opportunities for YOU! We need mentors, board members, committee participants, grant writers, a mentor coordinator, and an educational consultant! If you don’t have a lot of time to spare for an official position, you can also support us at our events!

The biggest opportunity that we see on the horizon is to find a corporate or private sponsor, which would grow our financial resources. This would allow us to expand the program. However, it is extremely important that we maintain the one-on-one relationships between scholars and mentors, so it will be key to our success to grow only if it makes sense for the organization. We do not want to grow too quickly simply for growth’s sake. The pressure to expand is the biggest threat to The B Foundation as an increase in the number of scholars without an equal increase in mentors will pull us away from one of our core values.

A few of our future goals include: moving into our own facility, additional board members, paid staff members, and honing our governance practices. Our ultimate dream is for current scholars to return to The Brandon Foundation as future mentors!

With the continued encouragement and support of community members like you, we know that we can achieve all that we’ve dreamed and more!

Thank you for reading!
Abby Bormann & The Brandon Foundation

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Summer Break for The Brandon Foundation Scholars

Summertime means no school, staying up later, catching lightening bugs in the evening, and SUMMER CAMPS!!! This summer, our students attended many different camps.

Deaundre and DJ picked up some new moves at the Plex Flag Football camp! Through the Plex’s program, Deaundre and DJ learned about being strong and active not only physically but also mentally through hard work, drive, and initiative. Deaundre also performed in the Civic Theatre’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat as a part of the children’s choir!

Isaiah and Auntral went to the Euell Wilson summer camp. The Christian-based organization focuses on helping youth to develop values and skills needed to become contributing citizens and productive leaders. The boys went to teen night and participated in dance team. Auntral got to play football at St. Francis. And to top it all off, they spent a week at Bear Lake! They canoed, slept in a cabin, and roasted marshmallows nightly!

Shawn Michael took gymnastics classes at Gymnastics in Motion. The gym believes in introducing children to healthy physical activity by providing a fun and safe learning environment! Gymnastics in Motion prides itself on keeping class sizes small both for safety and so that students can get the individual attention they need in a positive and helpful atmosphere.

Our girls – Edyn, Medina, and Aaliyah – spent a week in the great outdoors at Camp Michindoh in Hillsdale, Michigan. Michindoh is a Christian-centered camp and conference center on a beautiful 250 acres serving adults and youth of MICHigan, INDiana, and OHio. The girls swam, did lots of activities, and made new friends in a fun and caring environment! I got a chance to speak briefly with the Jackson sisters after they returned from camp, and here’s what they had to say about a few of their favorite things at Michindoh:

Medina loved swimming and going to the chapel every day! Campers went to chapel once in the morning and once in the evening daily. Medina found the chapel sessions to be fun and inspiring!

Aaliyah’s favorite activities at camp were going to chapel, volleyball, crafts, and archery!

Thank you for reading!
Abby Bormann & The Brandon Foundation

Thursday, July 7, 2016

The B Foundation's July Community Event

Come out and join us for the Three Rivers Festival Parade!


WHO & WHAT: The Brandon Foundation students, mentors, and supporters will be walking (or riding on our float) in the 48th Annual Three Rivers Festival Parade this weekend! The theme of this year's parade is Indiana's Bicentennial: Celebrate History - Ignite the Future
Be sure to wear your red, white, and blue!

WHEN: Saturday, July 9 starting at 10am

WHERE: Downtown Fort Wayne - from Calhoun St. to Berry St. to Fairfield Ave. to W. Wayne St.

Here's a link to the route map: Parade Route

Come out to support The Brandon Foundation, enjoy the beautiful summer weather, and have a great day of family fun!

Go to http://www.threeriversfestival.org/ for more information about the parade and other events going on downtown Saturday for the Three Rivers Festival!

Saturday, June 4, 2016

An Interview with Miss Caty

Click on the link below to watch the 21 Alive interview with our founder, Caty Holm!

21 Alive - INsight - Interview with Miss Caty

Miss Caty, Founder, with DeAndre Hawkins, a Brandon Foundation scholar

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

An Evening to Empower: Students Today, Leaders Tomorrow - The Recap

Well, the big night that we’ve been planning for months finally happened last Friday. An Evening to Empower was a big success thanks to all of you, our many supporters! We had 140 guests and raised $32,000 which will be used for the upcoming school year’s programming, next summer’s camp fees, and to grow our college scholarship fund. In case you missed it, here’s a recap:

When the doors at Yolo opened, the night kicked off with photos of our fabulously dressed guests by Heather Applegate of Life’s Journey Photography and live music by the Todd Harrold Band. Brandon Foundation students escorted patrons to their tables in the banquet hall. Inside, Teresa Yarbrough of Expressions Studio Gallery had started a live painting that would be auctioned off later in the evening as a part of the live auction. Our guest of honor was “the real Brandon” who inspired the creation of the organization. Guests perused the selection of silent auction packages and put in initial bids, feeling out how much competition they’d have for the items they wanted most. Granite City provided beer tastings to pair with the crab cake and caprese skewer appetizers. Following dinner, the B Foundation Step Team gave a stellar performance! Coach Adrian has instilled in them incredible discipline, and I, for one, was extremely impressed by the routine.

Ryan Clark of Dynamic Sound Entertainment emceed the rest of the night and kept the good vibes rolling. Next, we heard from a few very important adults members of our organization. Miss Caty, the founder, greeted the audience and spoke about The Brandon Foundation’s core values. Miss Rebecca, vice president of the board of directors and mentor, spoke about the important role that parents have and why their partnership has been critical to our success. Then, Rockell Franklin, the mother of our two oldest young men, expressed the impact that The Brandon Foundation has had on her and her family’s life. Finally, Melissa Hirsch, secretary of the board, closed an emotional and powerful segment of the evening by announcing Sara’s Service Scholarship. The award was created in honor of Miss Sara, one of our first mentors, who recently found out about a serious health issue. Students will be able to apply for the award for use towards higher education, and the decision criteria will involve financial need, academic achievement, and an exceptional community service record, just as Miss Sara herself has had in the Fort Wayne community.

The evening’s excitement culminated in the live auction, called by Jerry Ehle and Max Woebbeking of Schrader Real Estate & Auction of Fort Wayne. A few intense bidding battles ensued, but the ice was broken by the surprise of finding that some packages had a twin! There were 2 craft beer buckets and 2 gourmet dinners with Chef Eric Braun to be auctioned off. Shortly after the live auction finished up, silent auction bidding closed. Guests collected their new treasures, grabbed a bite of cheesecake and headed home for a much deserved good night’s rest.
If you didn’t make it this year, we hope you’ll join us next time!

To see all of our photos, use the QR code below!

Thank you for reading!

Abby Bormann & The Brandon Foundation

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Entrepreneurship: You’re Never Too Young to Start Your Own Business

For the month of March, the students at The Brandon Foundation were given a big, new challenge: to start their own businesses and run them profitably. At the end of the challenge, 1 student with the most profits would win a BIG check for $175, on top of whatever profit they would make during the month.

Students chose to sell either a product or service. The names of each student’s business are below. Once students decided on what to sell, their mentors helped them to create a business plan, which detailed the price of the product or service, the cost of materials needed and a target market to sell to. After business plans were finalized, students developed a marketing plan and designed business cards. Miss Caty gave each student a $20 startup loan to purchase supplies, which was later repaid from each business’ profits. Finally, they could start production and marketing!

- Auntral’s Easter Baskets
- Darrell’s Dogs
- DeAndre’s Greeting Cards
- DJ’s Candy Bags
- Edyn’s Cleaning & Decorating Services
- Isaiah’s Babysitting Service
- Khi’s Kakes
- Medina & Dejiah’s Customized Pencils
- Shawn Michael’s Pencils                                           

Lessons at the foundation for the month of March focused on the ins and outs of running a business and how other young entrepreneurs have been successful. Some very young business owners have already made millions of dollars because of their innovative ideas and hard work. Tom Harris, Fort Wayne city councilman and business coach, came to speak with the students as well about maximizing their profits. In short, the students learned that age should never stop them from pursuing their dream of running a business!

After 30 days of learning and a lot hard work, Edyn Moore won the challenge and earned $155 in profit from her business, Edyn’s Cleaning & Decorating Services! Here’s what she had to say about her experience:

Edyn Moore, Age 10, 5th Grade

AB: Where did the inspiration for your business idea come from?
        EM: I saw a magazine article about how to do cleaning and be more organized.

AB: What has been the most difficult part about running a business for you?
        EM: The hardest part was trying to accomplish new cleaning and decorating tasks for the first time.

AB: What was the most important thing that you learned from the challenge?
        EM: Even though I’m only 10 years old, I can still do anything that I want to, even though I’m little.

AB: How excited were you to find out that you won the challenge?!
        EM: I was really happy, but I didn’t want to make a big deal about it because I knew the other students wanted to win, even though they were happy for me.

AB: What do you plan to do with your profits and the money that you won?
        EM: I already put $100 in my college fund, and the rest is for me.

AB: Do you plan to continue your business?
        EM: Yes

AB: Is there anything that you want to change about the business going forward?
        EM: I would change calling more people ahead of time to get more clients.

AB: Do you see yourself owning other businesses in the future, for your career?
        EM: Probably not for my career, but I would for extra spending money, like for the summer. 

AB: So, do you know what might want to do for a career.
        EM: I want to be a famous track player.

AB: Is there anything else that you'd like to say about your experience during the business challenge?
        EM: It was really fun! It was never about the money for me. Even though we had to do it, it was just something fun for me to do!

Thank you for reading!

Abby Bormann & The Brandon Foundation

P.S. In case you haven’t heard, or haven’t bought your tickets yet, The Brandon Foundation is having a dinner and auction fundraising event on Friday, May 20th from 6-10pm at Yolo Event Center in Fort Wayne! The money raised from this event will go towards programming and our college scholarship fund, and our goal is to raise $60,000. If you’d like to join us, please buy your tickets at the following link: http://brandon16.auction-bid.org/micro2.php! If you are not able to join us but would still like to support us, you can make a donation at the same link and share the event with your friends and family!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

An Evening to Empower: Students Today, Leaders Tomorrow

The Brandon Foundation is gearing up for our 2nd dinner and auction at YOLO Event Center in Fort Wayne, Indiana on Friday, May 20th.The night will be an "Evening to Empower" our current and future students. The goal of the event is to raise $60,000 ($40,000 for our College Scholarship Fund and $20,000 for our program funding).

Because of the generosity of our supporters, The Brandon Foundation's students have shown tremendous improvements, both academically and socially. We are so proud of our scholars; almost half of our students made Honor Roll this past academic quarter. Our students have also been learning the importance of giving back to the community. One of our favorite community service projects this year was making Valentines with, and for, the patients at the Lutheran’s Children’sHospital. We met some amazing children who were so happy to have a break from their hospital beds. As we left, we passed out Valentines to people waiting in the lobby. The smiles and happiness were priceless! 

Would you consider helping our efforts? You can help make our event successful by donating an item, gift certificate, a service, or a monetary gift. Your tax-deductible contribution will make it possible for the children of The Brandon Foundation to continue to grow, pursue opportunities, and develop as future community leaders. We anticipate having over 200 attendees, and all business donors will be featured in our program. Any donation in support of The Brandon Foundation will be well-received; no gift is too small.

Donations may be mailed to:
The Brandon Foundation
P.O. Box 15966 Fort Wayne, IN  46885

If you have an item that needs to be picked up, please contact Rebecca Bormann at (260) 413-8483 or rebeccab262@gmail.com to make arrangements.

We want to extend an invitation for you, your family, and your friends to attend our "Evening to Empower." As guests, you will enjoy live music by The Todd Harrold Band and a live painting by Teresa Yarbrough during cocktail hour, socializing, formal dining, and a silent and live auction. We still have individual tickets for $50 and table sponsors (8 tickets) for $500 available; we would love to see you there!

To purchase tickets, please visit our event page.