From the Executive Director
A Decade in Review
With 2014 drawing to a close it is time to reflect on how well we executed on our mission and how we can make Bridges to Learning (B2L) an even stronger organization for the future. Prompting this reflection, in no small way, is the fact that 2014 represents Bridges to Learning’s 10th Anniversary.
It is important to note that over the last 10 years B2L has received donations over $1,000,000 to support the organization and its mission. Over $660,000 has gone directly to Anh Linh Free School to provide resources “for the education, well-being and social development” of many impoverished children. On an annual basis over the past 10 years 300-400 at risk children have had their lives changed from their time at Anh Linh School. It has been a remarkable decade of Investing in Hope.
Fiscally, B2L has been prudently managed. 65% to 70% of annual funds raised go to Anh Linh School each year with the balance being used to manage the organization. Year-end financials are completed by an outside accounting firm and approved by the Board of Directors and are available on our web site. Annual visits are made to Anh Linh School to review our joint budgets and plans for the coming year. The organization also submits documents to the Charities Review Council for their rigorous review of our accountability standards.
2014 In Review
The highlight of a busy 2014 was the Investing in Hope Gala held October 3rd. Celebrating 10 years of giving, the Gala provided an evening of fun, food and entertainment for 170 generous guests. Over $75,000 was generated for B2L and the children of Anh Linh School. Many of the guests were recognized for their involvement and support since the first Gala in 2007. The children at Anh Linh sent their heartfelt thanks via a wonderfully cheerful video. Also available for viewing from our website.
Give to the Max Day ended with B2L receiving nearly $2,500 in donations. Among the thousands of non-profit participants competing for donations, we are very happy with these results.
A new Board Member was elected at our November Board meeting. Thomas Linzmeier has agreed to join our Board and we feel fortunate to have his extensive firsthand knowledge of Vietnam and his strong belief in B2L’s mission.
2015 and the Future
2015 brings an opportunity for the Board to look at the next 10 years and plan the changes necessary to keep B2L a growing and vibrant organization, continuing to serve children in impoverished environments. Along with just about everything else, the nonprofit world has changed over the past ten years. Traditional sources and techniques of funding have changed dramatically. Even though strategies and initiatives for the future will be defined through a strategic review process planned for early 2015, the Board has voted for one important change as follows:
B2L’s annual “Investing in Hope Gala” will not be scheduled for 2015 but rather planned for 2016. This important gala may become a biennial event in the future. 2015 will host other fundraising events including a large and exciting Vietnamese Community Gala planned for April 18, 2015. Mark your calendars now! There will be more to come on this fun event as we finalize the plans.
Bridges to Learning’s Partners Program
Over the years, there have been a number of businesses that have supported Bridges to Learning through gala donations and free in-kind services. They have asked us how they might support us in an ongoing and more consistent way in the future. Together we have established a “Partners Program”. Each “Partner” will donate to Bridges to Learning a percentage of each sale when the customer mentions or references Bridges to Learning at the time of purchase. Each “Partner” will offer its own terms and in some cases may offer preferential pricing as well as donating a percentage of the sale. At time of purchase just mention Bridges to Learning and ask about their “Partners” Program with Bridges to Learning.
Currently there are two “Partner” companies:
Teachers Day Celebration
Anh Linh Love School celebrates Teachers Day
Every year on November 20th, the students and teachers at Anh Linh, along with all the other schools in Vietnam, celebrate Teachers Day. It is a day with a program of music, poetry, and gifts from the students to the teachers. It is a time when students express their thanks and respect to their teachers.
In Vietnam as in many Asian countries, teachers are revered and held in esteem second only to mothers. This day is set aside annually to acknowledge that special contribution that teachers bring to the lives of their students. Students prepare for the day by writing personal letters or poems to their teachers and making or buying small gifts. Former Anh Linh students return to the school on this day to honor the teachers who have guided and encouraged them.
Please read these happy letters written by the students (in beautiful handwriting) to honor their teachers.
Anh Linh Love school is my second home.
At school, my teachers are kind as my mother. My dear friends are so friendly as my brothers and sisters.
My teachers teach me a lot of good things and help me to become a good student.
I love Anh Linh school very much. I promise to be nice and study well.
Tran Minh Hoang,
About my teachers,
My principal is Bui Thi Kim Ngoc. She is so kind. She is the best in English.
I remember most about last Mid Autumn Festival. Miss Ngoc invite many volunteers from university to celebrate festival with us. They sang and played games with us. It was very fun and I was very happy.
Bui Duong Truc Mai,
About my teachers,
I just came to grade 2 at Anh Linh school. My teacher is Miss Truc.
I love her. She teaches me a lot of good things. I study many good things in few months. I promise to study well and do all my homework so that my teacher is happy.
Nguyen Thanh Tung,