New initiative to provide e-readers and educational content to students in Africa


The Thanks Be To God Foundation (TBTG) is embarking on an exciting new initiative to provide e-readers and educational content to students in Africa.  This initiative is consistent with the foundation’s goal of supporting youth around the globe. In past years the foundation has provided funding for a classroom and housing for teachers in Tanzania. In addition TBTG has provided E-readers and computers for a school and a local library in the country. These projects have been completed in conjunction with our outstanding partners including The Friends of Tanzania Schools, Bricks For Life, Share in Africa and Sophisticated Systems Incorporated.

With this new bold initiative, starting in the summer/fall of 2012, TBTG is currently in discussions with two potential partners to support this e-reader initiative. Both organizations, World Reader and Share in Africa are doing fantastic work in this area. It is neither the intent nor desire of TBTG to recreate a similar program but rather to work in partnership with organizations committed to this important cause.  Various studies have confirmed that there is a significant and positive impact on student learning when technology, specifically e-readers, is available to students.

How can TBTG help? What is our role?  How can you help us help others? TBTG is targeting supporting this initiative via a number of programs and activities. First, the foundation will be funding at least one, if not multiple projects in support of World Reader, in the coming months. Each project will include providing 50 e-readers loaded with approximately 100 titles, half of which are focused on local content in the various countries. Secondly, TBTG will be embarking on an aggressive campaign to collect “used e-readers” for distribution via our partners working on the ground in Africa.  This program will provide an opportunity for individuals and organizations to donate their used devices to our foundation.  Thirdly, TBTG hopes to work with a variety of publishers and partners to provide additional content in order to enhance the learning experience for children.  Finally, TBTG, working with volunteer organizations, hopes to facilitate providing volunteers to assist with the collecting of e-readers in the US and the deployment devices and content in Africa.

This is a BOLD, yet potentially very impactful initiative. Please stay tune for future updates as it relates to specific targets for this initiative and feedback on our progress. As always your support is graciously appreciated and necessary to “CHANGE THE WORLD”  ----  something that I truly believe, working together, we can accomplish.

May God Bless You, this initiative and the work of the foundation each day.

Thank you.
Dwight Smith
 

Springfielder to climb mountain to help local children

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Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Springfield soon will have $5,000 more to help children because a former resident climbed to the roof of Africa.

Dwight Smith, 54, a Columbus businessman and philanthropist who attended Springfield's Highlands and Lincoln elementary schools and Franklin Junior High, has made the money available as a challenge match for this weekends' Big Brothers/Big Sisters Bowl for Kids' Sake.

The event will begin at 9 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. Sunday at Victory Lanes.
A 1974 graduate of Northeastern High School, Smith has been involved in efforts to help children at Lincoln, where Big Brothers/Big Sisters has one of its school-based mentoring programs.

Volunteers screened and supervised by the agency meet with students for an hour a week during the school year for up to three consecutive years.

"It's about mentoring, not about tutoring," said Linda Shaffer, agency president. "We're there to be that positive reinforcement that says to kids, 'Yeah, you can.'"

Because of his connection with Lincoln - and his regard for the Promise Neighborhood program now operating there - Smith made Big Brothers/Big Sisters a beneficiary of his fundraising trip to Mount Kilimanjaro.

At 19,340 feet above sea level, the Tanzanian peak is the tallest point in Africa.
Through sponsorships and pledges, Smith's September climb raised "a few nickels short of $60,000," for his Thanks Be To God Foundation, which is associated with the Columbus Foundation.

Half the proceeds will go to children's programs in Africa and half to charitable projects in Central Ohio. The local Big Brothers/Big Sisters challenge grant is from the latter.

Smith, who covered his own expenses on the trip, called the climb "the hardest thing I've ever done."

But he said the seven-day climb to the summit, nine days without a shower and beset by altitude sickness, also had its benefits: "You come out of your tent in the morning, and you're looking down on the clouds and up at the glaciers."

Said Smith in a web posting, "It is not often in life that we have the opportunity to combine activities that we enjoy with causes that we are passionate toward."

Having reached the summit, Smith will be at Victory Lanes on Sunday with his family, including aunts and uncles from Springfield, to take part in the event.

Shaffer said those unable to make Bowl for Kids' Sake in person can help by raising money as "virtual bowlers" by clicking on the BBBS Springfield link at www.bbbscolumbus.org.

Added Shaffer, "We're always looking for people who have an hour or 45 minutes a week to provide that extra support our kids so desperately need."

Call Big Brothers/Big Sisters at (937) 390-9900.

Contact this reporter at (937) 328-0368.
 

Registration now open for the 2013 Capital City 1/2 Marathon Team

 

Support for The Acumen Fund

The Thanks Be To God Foundation announces its support for The Acumen Fund as a financial partner.  The Acumen Fund is a non-profit global venture fund that uses entrepreneurial approaches to solve the problems of global poverty. Acumen seeks to prove that small amounts of philanthropic capital, combined with large doses of business acumen, can build thriving enterprises that serve vast numbers of the poor. Acumen’s investments focus on delivering affordable, critical goods and services – like health, water, housing and energy – through innovative, market-oriented approaches. For more details please visit www.acumenfund.org

 

Supporting Acumen is consistent with The Thanks Be To God Foundation’s (TBTG) commitment to supporting entrepreneurs both locally and globally. As our TBTG Kiva team provides small loans to individual businesses around the world (www.kiva.org), The Acumen Fund supports much larger opportunities that are scalable to the degree that each idea/investment has the potential to impact thousands or even millions of people. 
 

Financial Literacy Program

The Thanks Be To God Foundation (TBTG), working in conjunction with The Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), announces its support for a financial literacy program for high school students. The objective of the program is to promote financial literacy for students by initially providing education on the basics of budgeting and money management. The second objective is to provide a real life experience centered on exposing students to investing in the stock market.

 

As the completion of the literacy program the students will be invited to form, or to join, an investment team. The team will provide recommendations and actually manage a portfolio funded by an anonymous supporter of the TBTG Foundation in the amount of $10,000. The students research various markets, industry sectors, and individual stocks and then make recommendations to purchase or sale portions of the portfolio. As the end of each school year the portfolio will be valued and 100% of any gain in the portfolio will be directed by the students to support organizations such as FCA or other programs at their schools or in their communities.

 

It is our hope that this type of experience will broaden the student’s exposure to potentials careers in financial services and/or at a minimum help the students to understand the importance of budgeting, saving, and investing at an earlier age. In addition, and as the result of the approach being utilized, the requirement to “give back” the increase supports the basic theme of The Thanks Be To God Foundation -- the requirement to share one’s blessings with others.

 

It is the hope of the TBTG Foundation that other supporters will make available a portion of their personal portfolios to provide students in a number of schools with a similar experience. Imagine, as the result of scaling this initiative, that students in middle and high schools are managing portfolios and making financial recommendations based on research while at the same time re-enforcing the importance of giving back.