Category: Philanthropy

Meet Pratima & Ashwin

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When Ashwin and Pratima look back on the life they had when they were students, one thing they remember fondly is the community they were a part of. To them, community meant activities, friendships, and shared philosophies—all things that enabled them to be the people they wanted to be. So even though they were one of the first residents of 600 Goodale, they were thrilled to find that the community was already thriving.

It started with fitness. Working out has given Ashwin and Pratima more than just physical benefits. The couple said one of the highlights of group fitness classes is that while they are exercising they are also getting to know their neighbors—making working out as much fun as going out! Pratima remembers how easy it used to be to find excuses not to work out, but she said Kaufman made it so easy to hit the gym that they both made it a habit. “Now we work out several days of the week without having to leave our building, and spend more time focusing on our mind and body with yoga classes twice per week!”

While they now spend more time taking care of their health, Ashwin and Pratima said they love that they can spend less time taking care of their recycling, now that recycling bins are just a few steps from their apartment. “Before we moved here we would pile up all our recycling in a corner of the apartment, then pile it all up in our car and drive to a recycling center. Kaufman has relieved us of that headache with the Go Green campaign.”

Beyond just recycling, the couple said they love the community’s involvement with Besa, an organization that helps connect people with volunteer opportunities throughout the area. Pratima said, “We really enjoy giving back to the community, and when we were students, community service opportunities were much more accessible and available. But Kaufman’s association with Besa has given us the opportunity to start being part of a community once again.”

Don’t think that for this couple life is all work though. Pratima said the atmosphere at 600 Goodale provides plenty of opportunities for them to relax. “The awesome staff at the office—especially Lauren, Reika and Liz—make us feel instantly at home, and the courtyard is wonderful. It is a perfect spot for relaxing, with the pool, fire pit, outdoor grilling area, cabanas, and a beautiful view of the Olentangy River.”

Pratima said she thinks moving to 600 Goodale has made a wide-reaching impact on their lives. “One big thing that has changed is our appreciation for an apartment that we actually love. It has made us realize how important it is to be in a place that fits in with our philosophy and needs, including getting the opportunity to be part of a community that makes a positive impact in people’s lives.”

Besa’s Matthew Goldstein Helps Central Ohioans Give Back to the Community

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After graduating from The Ohio State University with bachelor’s degrees in marketing and political science, Matt Goldstein landed a job at Abercrombie & Fitch. During his five-year tenure with the retailer, he spearheaded several volunteer projects that engaged hundreds of his co-workers.

When a project ended, the commentary was always the same; Matt’s co-worker’s invariably told him it was their primary contribution to the local nonprofit community. He quickly realized he was working with a group of young, talented, smart people who wanted to be more involved in community service, but lacked the means to fit philanthropy into their busy lifestyle.

That’s when the idea for Besa, a social welfare platform that makes philanthropic opportunities more accessible to the Columbus community, started to take root.

In 2010, Matt resigned from his corporate gig to focus on developing Besa full time. It launched two years later.

“The growth over the first year has been tremendous,” Matt says. “We have had a strong community response from the start. In fact, we added the volunteer portal in March to make it even easier for people to connect with immediate impact projects.”

In January, Besa began managing volunteer opportunities specifically designed for the community here at Kaufman. In March, the Kaufman Development Volunteer Portal launched, allowing residents, staff and friends to sign up for those exclusive opportunities, monitor dollars raised, and track volunteer hours tied to Kaufman initiatives.

We’re proud to report that, to date, Kaufman has logged 275 volunteer hours and donated more than $14,600 worth of goods and services to the community through Besa.

Since Besa’s launch, more than $40,000 in goods and services and 1,200 volunteer hours have been contributed to Columbus nonprofits.

For Matt, the most rewarding part of his job is watching a volunteer light up when they make an impact.

“Just the other week, a first time volunteer was helping a client select food from the Broad Street food pantry,” he says. “After they walked through, the client shook the volunteer’s hand and thanked her profusely. The client exited out the door and the volunteer walked by me with a smile that lit up the entire food pantry.”

Matt also loves seeing volunteers take the initiative to better the client experience.

For instance, Besa volunteers once a month at Dress for Success, helping low-income women select workplace outfits and build confidence. When two volunteers noticed one of the aspects clients struggle with most is how to match items to make an outfit, they met with the executive director and are now in the process of creating a lookbook that clients can use to style outfits appropriately.

So what’s next for Besa?

Matt says his team is developing an app that can be used to sign up for a volunteer project, remind volunteers about an upcoming project, and provide directions to the corresponding venue. A blog highlighting local philanthropic events and efforts, and how to get involved is also in the works.

It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the upcoming holiday season, but here at Kaufman we encourage you to pause and consider how you can positively impact our community. Besa’s Adopt a Senior program, which helped more than 1,000 seniors last year, is a great way to give back.

Once again, Besa is partnering with the Central Ohio Agency on Aging to provide low income seniors with Christmas presents. To participate, just send an e-mail to adopt@GiveBesa.org, and Besa will respond with a specific senior and all the details you need to buy, wrap and drop the presents off.

“Many seniors live in isolation, with little or no family support and, for most, the Adopt donation will be the only help they receive over the holidays,” Matt says.

For more information about Adopt a Senior or other Besa volunteer opportunities, visit givebesa.org.

VeloScience Bike Works Encourages Cycling While Giving Back to the Community

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Several years ago, Geoff Clark was urged by a friend to open a bike shop in New Albany. At the time, he hadn’t even considered opening his own business, let alone moving back to the Midwest from New Jersey.

But early last summer, Geoff was asked to consult with The New Albany Company about attracting a bike shop to the area. After spending a few days visiting Columbus bike shops, going on group rides, and talking to local riders about the cycling scene, it became clear that Geoff’s own ideas and vision aligned with The New Albany Company’s. Suddenly the idea of opening his own bike shop didn’t seem so crazy. This time when he was asked, he agreed.

Geoff said, “Within a few days, I had a business plan put together, and financing fell into place.” Despite a few hurdles along the way, VeloScience Bike Works officially opened for business in November of 2012.

Cycling in New Albany
Geoff considers New Albany to be an ideal location for cyclists. He said, “We have a great variety of terrain here–flat, rolling hills, some really steep climbs if you go east a few miles. There is very little traffic outside the town, and the roads are in great condition. We have a nice network of bike trails in town and nearby, and since Highway 161 was built, the old State 161 roadway makes a terrific conduit to safely ride out into the countryside, away from traffic and congestion. Additionally, it’s easy to get to New Albany from other parts of the city, and there is plenty of free parking around town, so many of the local cycling clubs start their group rides here. The Starbucks in Market Square – right next to the VeloScience storefront – has long been the meeting place for group rides.”

Those elements made it an easy decision for Geoff to make the move and open his own bike shop. He said, “I think we’ve done a great job of creating a fun, warm, engaging environment that gets people excited about cycling. Whether you ride just to the farmers market or ice cream shop, or you race professionally, you do it because it’s fun. That’s what it’s all about. We’ve stocked the store with products that we trust, that we know will enhance your riding experience, and help you have more fun.”

[As the weather warms up, Geoff hopes to host a weekly ride from The Gramercy New Albany. Stay tuned for more info, or visit thecyclingclub.org to learn about other group rides.]

[The Gramercy New Albany Ambassadors Visit VeloScience Bike Works]

Giving Back
When it comes to philanthropy, Geoff’s philosophy is simple: “If you’re able to help others, why not?”

After talking with Pelotonia Founder Tom Lennox, Geoff realized that many bike shops were benefitting from Pelotonia, but Pelotonia wasn’t benefitting from them in return. That inspired Geoff to create an incentive for riders that would also directly impact the goal of raising funds for cancer research. Through their new program, 15% of every dollar spent at VeloScience by registered Pelotonia riders is contributed directly to their Pelotonia fundraising accounts.

In addition to supporting cancer research, VeloScience is also giving back to children in the community. When Geoff’s friend Mac Macdonald purchased a bike for his 9-year-old daughter, Sophia, she wanted to give her old bike to another little girl. Geoff said, “That’s a pretty impressive frame of mind for a 9-year-old to have. She’s a terrific kid with great instincts who has learned early the rewards of helping others.”

Mac brought Sophia’s old bike into VeloScience, where Geoff cleaned it up and restored it to perfect condition. He said, “Since it was winter and I had lots of extra time, we decided to expand this into a bigger program.” After collecting and restoring used bikes, the first batch was delivered to children at Parson’s Elementary in January. Geoff was amazed by the response. He said, “We plan to keep Sophia’s ReCycling going year-round. The city of New Albany has allowed us to use a vacant office building for storage, so we have a place to stash bikes while they are waiting on parts. And we’ve made a great connection with a church in Delaware County that is collecting bikes on our behalf. So far we have donated 28 bikes, and there is a steady stream of bikes coming in. We hope to expand the program into the middle schools on the south side, too.”

[If you have a bike to donate to Sophia’s ReCycle, please drop it off at VeloScience Bike Works (map) or call (614) 855-9590 to arrange for pick-up.]

Besa’s Volunteer Portal Connects Kaufman Residents with Volunteer Opportunities

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We’re thrilled to announce that the Kaufman Development Volunteer Portal has officially launched on the Besa website.

Besa is a social welfare platform that makes philanthropy more accessible to the Columbus community by connecting users with local nonprofits that align with their interests.

The Kaufman Volunteer Portal provides access to a dedicated page on the Besa website, where Kaufman residents, staff and friends can sign up for exclusive volunteer opportunities, monitor dollars raised, and track hours volunteered through Kaufman initiatives.

Besa’s Executive Director, Matthew Goldstein, said, “Kaufman Development has established itself as an industry leader in creating residential communities. I am constantly inspired by the opportunities offered to Kaufman community residents to engage in the community at large, and the Kaufman volunteer portal represents just such an opportunity. By means of the portal, Kaufman residents will be uniquely positioned to address issues of social welfare in Columbus, and I personally am looking forward to assisting all able and willing residents in pursuit of the Kaufman motto of ‘Inspired Living’.”

We’re very excited to be working with Matthew and the entire Besa team, and we see the ability to connect our residents with deserving organizations in the central Ohio area as win for everyone involved. This is a tremendous opportunity for our residents and employees to join together and make a difference in the Columbus community.

In the words of Reika Oda, Kaufman Community Ambassador, “Besa couldn’t be a better match for our passion for philanthropy, and I’m excited for our residents to be a part of the volunteer revolution. It’s going to help connect our residents to great new possibilities, help users track hours and organize their volunteer profile, and spread more awareness about the charities in need. It’s a great way to get connected and involved.”

We’re excited to give back and create positive change in our community, and we hope you’ll join us by visiting givebesa.org/kaufman.

Besa Partnership Helps Kaufman Communities Give Back

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We’re thrilled to announce our new partnership with Besa, a social welfare platform that makes philanthropy more accessible to the Columbus community. Besa’s database of over 400 organizations promotes civic engagement by connecting residents with local nonprofits that align with their interests.

Beginning in March, Besa will manage volunteer opportunities specifically designed for the Kaufman community. Our residents will have access to a dedicated Kaufman page on the Besa website that will allow them to sign up for volunteer opportunities, monitor dollars raised, and track hours volunteered through Kaufman initiatives.

Matt Goldstein, Executive Director of Besa said, “This partnership presents the Kaufman residential communities with unprecedented possibilities for volunteer involvement. Our role is to provide Kaufman residents and employees with a full roster of volunteer opportunities, inspire them to give back and engage with the community at large. Through this partnership Besa is advancing its core mission and we are excited to partner with the Kaufman Development team.”

The opportunity to partner with Besa aligns perfectly with Kaufman’s commitment to philanthropic initiatives. Brett Kaufman said, “Kaufman Development was founded on a few core beliefs in which we, as a group, are incredibly passionate. At the top of the list of those beliefs is the importance of philanthropy. This is a fundamental part of our company, our communities, and for me, something that I love having integrated into my work and life. Besa is a clear leader and innovator in philanthropic activity and we could not ask for a better partner to bring our vision to life.”

Since its September 2012 launch, Besa has shared over 30 stories of people and organizations making a difference in our community. They have managed volunteer experiences that included 200Columbus, purchasing Christmas presents for low-income seniors, and partnering with a local band to provide food, clothes and toys to a homeless shelter.

“Team Kaufman” is excited to get involved, give back, and create positive change in our community. Join us in discovering local causes by visiting mybesa.org.

Making a Difference During the Holidays

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There are so many opportunities to give back to the community around the holiday season, it can be difficult to decide where to start. We asked Matthew Goldstein, executive director of Besa, for ideas to make a difference in Columbus during the holidays.

• Fight Hunger at a Soup Kitchen
Soup kitchens are full of volunteers during the holiday season, but many lose a lot of support come the new year. Volunteers are critical, especially during the cold winter months. Consider giving a couple hours of your time to the downtown Columbus Community Kitchen or Worthington Food Pantry after Christmas to help fight hunger in Columbus.

• Support Toys for Tots
Toys for Tots was created in 1947 when a group of Marines recognized a need to help the under-privileged children of America. Last year, the Central Ohio chapter collected and distributed over 40,000 toys to local children for the holidays. Help brighten the holidays for a Columbus child by donating to the Columbus Toys for Tots Campaign.

• Provide Companionship at a Senior Home
Brighten the holidays for a local senior by volunteering at a Columbus senior home, such as the New Albany Gardens & Care Center. Participate in group activities, and experience the reward of providing comfort and companionship for residents.

• Save a Life at an Animal Shelter
No kill animal shelters are at capacity, and the need for foster families and donations is high. If you are interested fostering a pet or donating food/supplies, contact Columbus Dog Connection. Columbus Dog Connection’s foster program pays all vet bills and provides volunteers with supplies such as a crate and toys. “Meet the greatest volunteers, give back to dogs, save a life.”

Donate to a Local Charity
Donations are a great way to support critical community programs. You can donate directly to your favorite charity, or use Besa’s database to find a charity that speaks to your interests.

 

Besa is a social welfare platform that helps users discover causes and connect with local nonprofits that align with their interests.

Grow Your Charitable Spirit Here

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At Kaufman Development, we believe that giving back to the community is a win-win situation. When people get involved, it improves the health and well-being of both the receiver—and the giver. With that in mind, Kaufman Development is partnering with the Community Shelter Board (CSB) to create a range of opportunities for our residents to get involved. Because we build places for people to live, it seemed like a good idea to join the fight against homelessness. Here’s how you can help.

• Corporate Support: To demonstrate our commitment to the community and the need to end homelessness, Kaufman Development is donating $1 per month to the CSB for every Kaufman resident. That means you’re already giving back, simply by living in a Kaufman community.

• On-Site Connections: Donate personal items for people who are experiencing homelessness or transitioning to a place of their own. Simply drop your personal items in the box located on site at all Kaufman Development communities. From diapers to deodorant, we’ll keep you informed about much-needed items so you can help to meet immediate needs when they occur.

• Tours and Service Opportunities: From serving a meal to tutoring a child, there are numerous ways to give back to your community. Call them field trips if you like, but we will be opening the door to many on-site service opportunities. For up-to-date information, check the calendar at www.livekaufman.com or www.csb.org. Or simply plan a visit the Community Shelter Board to learn more about the organization’s mission.

One Day to End Homelessness: With homelessness on the rise, there is no better time than the present to get involved. The Community Shelter Board is asking homeowners and renters to donate a day’s worth of their rent or mortgage to the cause. It’s an opportunity to step up to the plate and do something about the problem. The CSB is partnering with 10 TV and the Dispatch Media Group in this effort. To date, they’ve signed on 2,700 new donors.

Candle with a Cause: When residents move into a Kaufman community, they receive a welcome basket that includes, among other things, a candle from Candle with a Cause. Proceeds from the sale of these candles go to the Community Shelter Board. We hope the candles serve as a constant reminder of the work being done to end homelessness.

In the words of CSB Executive Director Michelle Heritage, “Homelessness is not incurable. We can end it in our community. And when people get involved, we get closer to that reality.”