buildOn’s 2014 Gala Raises $3.5 Million with Help of GE Challenge

Over 900 members of the buildOn family came together on Thursday, November 20th to raise $3.5 Million in support of the American urban youth and rural villagers across the globe who are making their dreams come true, every day, through service and education.

The 2014 buildOn Gala, held at the Stamford Hilton, recognized the students, parents, business and community members who are leading in the buildOn movement at home and across the globe. This year we recognized Jeff Bornstein, Chief Financial Officer of GE, who accepted the Global Impact Award in recognition of GE’s 23 year partnership with buildOn.

“buildOn has proven to be the most effective model for impacting the crisis of low expectations in our countries toughest neighborhoods. The organization does not tutor, it does not deliver test prep, it does not offer after school recreation” Jeff Bornstein stated during his acceptance speech, “what it does offer participants is a sense of self-worth, a sense of community, a sense of accomplishment and the confidence to expect more of themselves and others – all of this realized through organized community service in their neighborhoods and building schools in the poorest places on earth.”

Read the full transcript of Jeff Bornstein’s remarks.

Bornstien Family

Above: The Bornstein Family (left to right), Matt, Jill and Jeff. Check out more photos from the 2014 buildOn Gala.

Along with accepting the Global Impact Award Jeff Bornstein and GE challenged major corporations to give back by investing directly in buildOn’s U.S. Service Learning Programs located in under-resourced schools in Bridgeport, Conn.; The Bronx and Brooklyn, N.Y.; and Detroit, Mich. buildOn’s gala grew from $2MM to $3.5MM in contributions – a 50% increase from last year thanks in large part to these efforts.

A special thank you to our $100K GE Challenge Investors: Credit Suisse; CSI; Deutsche Bank; GE; Goldman Sachs; Jones Day LLP; KPMG; Pitney Bowes; and Weil, Gotshal.


Above: Dan Janki presents celebrates the GE Challenge Investors. Check out more photos from the 2014 buildOn Gala.

buildOn students proudly and emotionally shared their thoughts on how buildOn has become a force for change in their lives by emceeing the event, through spoken word poetry and through a keynote speech by Brooklyn Student, Lakei Grant. And for the first time in buildOn’s history, a parent took the stage to express how buildOn has changed her son’s life.

“We don’t always have a lot of leaders coming out of our community,” said Nikeeya Jefferies, Lakei Grant’s mother. “Yet here we have an inside look at how things are in communities that suffer from violence. That’s why I am so proud of what Lakei is doing. Lakei has seen the problems that come with violence and when you don’t prioritize education, but he learned through buildOn that you can help change things in your community. Since joining buildOn he is more understanding, does not take things for granted. He works harder in school. I am proud of the person he is growing into.”

Nikeeya and Lakei

Above: Lakei Grant and his mother Nikeeya Jefferies. Check out more photos from the 2014 buildOn Gala.

Thank you for all of those who joined us for this moving and inspirational evening!