AGB Foundation Bike Giveaway event graphic for 12/22/21

One of our favorite events at the Foundation is the annual Bike Giveaway, which helps kick off the holiday season early. Last year, we brought Christmas cheer to residents of the 60620 community with hot chocolate, a black Santa Claus, and 100 brand-new children’s bicycles. It gave us so much joy to give bikes to kids who had never had their own. The smiles on their faces were priceless, and inspired us to give back even more this year.

Thanks to our partnership with Walmart and the generosity of Always Giving Back Foundation donors, we are looking forward to gifting 200 kids’ bikes this year! We will distribute them to children in underserved areas of Chicago on Saturday, December 11, 2021.

In keeping with our tradition, we will serve hot chocolate from a heated tent (after all this is Chicago), and will enjoy a two-hour visit with not just any Santa, but Chicago’s Black Santa—Dreezy Claus! A big thank you to our donors for being our strongest supporters throughout the year, and especially during the holidays.

If you are interested in volunteering your time and talent to the event, please email Venetta Coley. Happy Holidays!

Your continued support allows us to impact even more young people and families in underserved communities. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for your generosity.

 

AGB Foundation postcard for virtual silent auction Nov. 26 to Dec. 3, 2021

Shop for holiday gifts and help a great cause at the same time during the Always Giving Back Foundation Silent Auction, taking place online November 26 through December 3, 2021.

The Silent Auction is our biggest fundraiser of the year, an annual event that makes many of our programs possible. Because of COVID, this year’s Silent Auction is a virtual experience. Participants can bid on various high-end items beautifully presented and ready for gifting (or enjoying).

This year’s fundraising goal is $10,000, and proceeds will support the foundation’s programs for underserved members of the community. These include professional internships, college scholarships, and direct assistance to families, such as our upcoming bike giveaway event.

We have curated an exciting collection of Silent Auction prizes this year, including tickets to a Chicago Bulls basketball game, two-night luxury hotel stays in Chicago, high-end restaurant gift certificates, clothing, massages and more! If you are on social media, please like and follow us on Facebook for details on our fantastic Silent Auction items.

Registration is now open through our secure partner Silent Auction Pro! You’ll need to create an account to view a sampling of auction items, and it only takes a minute to set that up. Your credit card will not be charged unless you are the highest bidder on an item.

The bidding begins on Black Friday, November 26, and closes December 3, 2021. All are invited to participate in the bidding and support the mission of the Always Giving Back Foundation!

The AGB Foundation is pleased to partner with the Greater Auburn-Gresham Development Corporation (GAGDC) for another Free Food Pop Up and Vax event! Attendees will receive fresh fruits and vegetables and can also get COVID vaccines at the event, which starts at 10 am on Tuesday, October 26, 2021. The AGB Foundation will host a book bag giveaway, donating sturdy book bags in bright colors for elementary school children and 20-piece school supply kits. This event is open to the public and will be held in the Save a Lot parking lot at 7938 S. Halsted St. in Chicago.

Our Summer Business Interns collaborated with the GAGDC previously to pass out more than 200 book bags stuffed with school supplies and PPE materials in time for the new school year!

This community partnership aligns with the AGB Foundation’s culture of giving and our mission to pay it forward in our own backyard of Englewood and other underserved areas of Chicago. We are committed to disrupting the cycle of poverty in black and brown communities, and we believe that providing educational tools helps move us toward that goal.

Teaming with the GAGDC allows us to expand our reach to include the service area of Auburn Gresham, Englewood, and West Chatham. It also allows our organizations to support one another and make a greater impact. We are proud to be a member of the GAGDC and stand with them in their efforts to promote economic development, health, safety, and sustainability on the far South Side of Chicago.

The Free Food Pop Up and Vax event will be supported by AGB Foundation members and our Marketing Department. If you are interested in volunteering to assist with our backpack giveaway, please send an email to Venetta Coley. You are also welcome to assist our efforts with a charitable donation!

 

AGB Summer Business interns assist with summer backpack giveaway

 

Seeking Donations for a Successful Fundraiser

The AGB Foundation is gathering in-kind donations for our 10th annual fundraiser, held virtually from Nov. 26 to Dec. 1, 2021. Your donation of an item or gift card for an experience will be used to create themed baskets for an online auction.

In years past, we have raffled off incredible prizes, including gift certificates to restaurants, tickets to sporting events, salon services, fine artwork, and so much more. Please support our efforts this year with a donation for our gift baskets!

Your donated gifts and other revenue raised from our campaign will directly support the following programs:

  • Business Internships for young adults
  • College Scholarships for freshmen
  • Family First initiatives to assist parents and children in need

All donated items are tax deductible, and donors will be recognized in all our print and digital marketing materials.

Examples of items we would be delighted to receive include: gift certificates, tickets for performances or athletic events, airline or hotel vouchers, signed sports memorabilia, memberships to museums, high-end wines and craft liquors, tickets to local attractions, and the like. If you know of a business that we could reach out to for a silent auction donation, we’d love your recommendations!

Have an item to donate? Please send an email to Venetta Coley. Be sure to include a description of the item and its value, along with your contact information, business name, logo, and website address. If we need to pick up the donation, please let us know. Otherwise, we ask that you mail the item(s) to Always Giving Back Foundation, 7545 S. Western Ave., Chicago, IL 60620.

2021 Silent Auction poster

 

Portrait of AGB Summer Business Internship participants in professional dress

 

 

Congratulations to our sixth cohort of Summer Business Interns! They spent seven weeks with us this summer, learning what it takes to run a successful business.

The highlight of this year’s program was a capstone presentation to the executive team at AGB Investigative Services. The interns became department experts and provided assessments with recommended improvements for the areas they worked in. This gifted group of young people was eager to learn about the skills and experience needed to operate the various departments. Working at AGB inspired several interns to explore entrepreneurship, thanks to the example set by John and Denitra Griffin, and all they have accomplished.

This year, we expanded the Summer Business Internship to 25 students and were able to offer them a weekly stipend, thanks to our targeted youth investment funding and a state grant that we were awarded. 

Our interns worked across every department in AGB. They spent time in Marketing, Procurement, Finance, Human Resources, and—for the first time—Fleet, where they saw the logistical side of AGB. The cohort came away with a wealth of experience! Students learned how to draft contracts, studied the science behind marketing research, and got a first-hand look at how the Foundation creates content and facilitates programs.

Your support allows us to continue providing a REAL (Real Experience Always Learning) opportunity to deserving young people of color. We couldn’t do it without you!

Please consider supporting the foundation today with a tax-deductible gift.

“Providing internship opportunities . . . changes the whole equation.”   —Eduardo J. Padron, educator  

 

Donate – Always Giving Back Foundation (agbfd.org)

“We have a powerful potential in our youth, and we must have the courage to change old ideas and practices so that we may direct their power toward good ends.” Mary McLeod Bethune.

We love our Interns at AGB. This month’s news letter is dedicated to Kinaya Kerr. Kinaya is a recent graduate of Whitney M. Young Magnet High School and a returning AGB Intern.  She is working under the leadership and guidance of Sara Martinez, the Program Director for the AGB Foundation.  Kinaya was given a leadership role as an Intern Supervisor. She will be attending FAMU (Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University) in the fall where she plans to major in Business Administration. I had the opportunity to interview this dynamic young lady.

  1. Tell me the difference between last year’s intern program and this year’s intern program and how have you grown so far? “I think that last year my group missed out on the personal connection and attention. We were in the office about 12 times over the course of 6 weeks. The 2021 cohort gained an abundance of in-person office experience. This year, I’m a leader as opposed to just an intern. The most valuable lesson I learned was how to be a leader. With Sara as my supervisor, she created a great environment for me inside and outside of work.  I have been a little bit intimidated by a person’s level in the past but Sara created a space to build a personal connection. That was something that I realized was important to being an effective leader. Being both the Intern Supervisor and their peer, I thought it was critical for them to understand I’m here to lead and not be an authority figure. A leader is only as strong as their team, and they have to be willing to follow.”
  2. What are you most passionate about learning personally or professionally? Personally, I am passionate about learning how to be more confident in myself. I have always been gifted intellectually but I have had experiences where that was frowned upon. Professionally, I  want to learn how to overcome fear. I want to be an entrepreneur.  I will encounter some failures and hardships. I want to acquire more tools to assist me in dealing with those obstacles. One of my biggest goals, as I enter college, is to learn how to communicate effectively.  I’m reserved, and an introvert, so I want to learn how to be more assertive; especially when representing myself in the workforce.
  3. Tell me about your volunteer and community service experience inside and outside of AGB? With AGB, we planned a car wash to raise money for the Foundation. As the lead on that project, I learned the details needed to make an event like that come to life. We had a great time planning the event, and it was a success. For the past 3 years, I was in an organization called Top Teens of America, where I was the Vice President of the Midway Chicago Chapter my last two years in the organization. We would go to senior homes for Christmas, and Valentines day. We would serve them food, play bingo, and host ice cream socials. We planned Halloween parties for children’s shelters and made Easter baskets for the kids. I love kids, and it made me so happy to see their faces light up when they saw us.
  4. What would you like to leave us with in terms of telling the reader who you are? I am like a butterfly. When I was in 7th and 8th grade, I was very self-conscious about myself. I was not proud of myself. I was a caterpillar then. Now, I am so proud of myself and the growth I see in myself. High school was like the cocoon stage. I was discovering who I was, from my passions to what my dream career would be. In college, I will emerge as a powerful young lady.  My favorite quote is, “pressure makes diamonds” because there is a lot I will go through as a black woman in America that I need to be prepared for.

When you let the youth lead, you will learn things about them you never knew and discover skills and talents you didn’t know they had.” LDSYouthLeadership.com

AGB is paving the way for our future Black and Brown leaders of America.  Please continue to support the AGB Foundation. If you would like to make a donation please click on the following link:

Donate – Always Giving Back Foundation (agbfd.org)

 

 

“Surprise is the greatest gift life can grant us” said Russian Poet and Novelist Boris Pasternak.  This quote rings true and was definitely a surprise for the five scholarship recipients. According to scholarship statistics by race, only 38% of scholarship recipients are minority students, and 62% are white students.  The AGB Foundation has leveled the playing field by awarding (5) Scholarships to deserving minority students in June. How did we do this ? The AGB Foundation was awarded a $40,000 grant courtesy of NBC Universal Studios.  This grant enabled us to extend our program to provide additional services like care packages, mentorship, mental health and wellness support throughout the duration of their academic career. The Scholarship categories were named after the First Family of AGB, The Griffins, otherwise known as the G Tribe!

  • John Griffin III – Students that qualify for extensive financial assistance
  • Najia Griffin – Student Athlete
  • Nia Griffin – Diverse Learning Needs
  • Geneva Stringer – First Generation College Student
  • Jibril Griffin – STEM

Each of these scholarships were awarded to students in secrecy with them being under the impression that they were coming to AGB for a follow up interview. Unbeknownst to them, we had secretly hidden their parents in a conference room where it was revealed that their students had been awarded a scholarship. You can imagine their surprise.  The students were in a different part of the building, where they were anxiously awaiting further instruction. They were reunited with their parents in celebration of the big reveal that they had each been awarded a $2,000.00 renewable scholarship. This was the first time in AGB Foundation history that we were able to award a renewable scholarship thanks to the grant provided by NBC Universal Studios.

The AGB Foundation thought about the scholar’s journey as they head off to college by providing each winner with a new set of matching luggage.  As Oprah Winfrey would say, “you get new luggage, and you gGet new Luggage”. It was quite a surprise as we rolled the luggage out and presented it to the scholarship awardees.  The parents of the Scholars were very appreciative and thankful for the luggage as evidenced by the happy smiles.  The morning’s event was capped off with a luncheon and no event is complete without cake.

The five Scholarship recipients are pictured below: They represent the Future of Black Excellence to come.

 

“The scholarship program is more than just about giving money, ” said Dr. Denitra Griffin.  “It is really about connecting with young people and helping them gain access to the resources they need in order to secure employment post graduation.”  “This grant from NBC 5 Universal Studios is allowing us to do that.”  “It is allowing the opportunity to share our resources and information to coach our Scholars throughout the tenure of their studies.”

 

Thanks for your continued support to the Always Giving Back Foundation.  If you would like to continue the blessings, please click on the following link:

Donate – Always Giving Back Foundation (agbfd.org)

AGB Business Internship Updates

Over the past seven months, our AGB interns completed an extensive training course in Workforce Development led by Sara Martinez, AGB Program Manager for the Foundation. The goal was to prepare them for employment and to teach them about the different departments within a thriving business like AGB Investigative Services. We introduced them to the AGB Leadership Team, and the interns learned about their specific job duties. The following departments participated in this exercise: HR, IT, Operations, Marketing, Finance and Procurement.

In addition to this exposure, our crop of interns learned critical professional skills, including how to dress, respond to emails, and communicate with their colleagues. They were trained in resume writing and also learned interviewing skills, which they used in meetings with AGB departmental leaders. As a final highlight, we were pleased to provide 11 business suits for our female interns and nine suits for our male interns, courtesy of the Tom James Company.

Our interns completed all this training during Saturday workshops in preparation for the opportunity to work in house at AGB Innovative Security Solutions this summer. We will be announcing those summer placements very soon!

 

Expansion of Programs

We are excited to announce that the AGB Foundation was recently awarded  the NBC5 Project Innovation Grant for $40,000.  This award will be used to expand the scholarship program and provide holistic support to our scholars through mentorship, social and emotional support, and post-graduation employment.  The enhancements of the program include care packages to the Scholars during mid terms and finals, professional headshots, resumes, and professional clothing.

The program initially provided 1 year of support  to our scholars but with this new grant and expansion of services, we can provide 4 years of services and critical mentorship to guide them towards their academic achievements and post graduate goals.

Financial Wellness

“Risk comes from not knowing what you are doing.”  —Warren Buffet

This is especially true with personal finances. The AGB Foundation piloted a new Virtual Financial Wellness Workshop Series that will run throughout 2021. This program is a direct response to the youth in our community and their desire to accumulate wealth. At the AGB Foundation we are invested in providing sound financial advice to our participants. We are blessed with the financial acumen of Les Goldstein, a financial advisor to AGB who has over 30 years of experience in the investment world. It’s never too early or late to learn about financial wealth management. Over three weeks, Les presented workshops addressing the following topics: retirement, investments, digital currency, inflation, stocks & bonds, mutual funds, savings, & managing credit card debt.  We invite you to take our financial wellness course by completing a brief survey. You do not want to miss out!

Community Day of Service

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, What are you doing for others?” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

We have done it again and every year, it gets better!  On our most recent Community Day of Service we were fortunate to provide our surrounding communities with 300 care packages.  The packages went to the following organizations: St. Sabina Church Food Pantry, Sheldon Heights Church Food Pantry, Ujima Village, Margaret’s Village, and The Olive Branch Mission. These organizations are located in the Auburn Gresham,  Englewood and West Pullman neighborhoods, which are often underserved.

La Forice Nealy, president and CEO of the Olive Branch Mission, told our staff,  “I didn’t realize it has been nearly three years that you have been in partnership with us, donating and volunteering your time, making a difference in hundreds of precious people’s lives.”

Thanks to AGB Investigative Services for their financial support in purchasing the contents of the care packages, to Bank of America for donating the face masks and hand sanitizers, and to AGB employees for donating their time and additional items, as well.

 

 

2021 Interns

“Put your heart, mind, and soul into even your smallest acts. This is the secret of success.”   —Swami Sivananda

Our summer interns are coming! This year, we expanded our summer internship program to include employment readiness. Our interns in training have been attending Saturday workshops since November in preparation for their summer placement. They  have learned how to send professional emails, conduct conference calls, dress for a professional setting, time management, and so much more!

This summer will  be the first time our interns will have to interview for their summer intern position. But don’t worry, we are teaching them critical interviewing skills and the importance of having a resume. We hope this experience prepares them for future interviews when they are ready to dive into the workforce. You do not want to miss their transformation.

It is time to Celebrate!

It’s time for a grandiose celebration folks! AGB Investigative Services turns 20! Can you believe that it all started in the basement of the Griffin Family home?  Fast forward to 20 years later and they are THE largest Black owned security company in the nation! They employ over 1200 individuals and are located in 17 states  across the nation. AGB is also in the midst of opening up a new Cyber Security Office. It will be located on the South Side of Chicago where AGB will provide high paying technical jobs in one of the fastest growing Industries.

“The Man who has no imagination has no wings.” Muhammad Ali

 

The Mission Continues

The AGB Foundation is celebrating AGB’s 20th year by continuing the annual Community Day of Service that will take place on Monday April 12th. This year, we will support 5 community organizations by providing care packages filled with the essentials. Some of the essentials include;  soap, feminine products, hair brushes, PPE, and a few other items packed with love and support by the AGB Staff.

The 5 community organizations that we are supporting this year are: Margaret’s Village, Sheldon Heights Church Food Pantry, Ujima Village Overnight Shelter, and St. Sabina Food Pantry. We will deliver 300 care packages for our homeless and less fortunate residents in the south side of Chicago. It is our ministry to continue to help and uplift our community and fulfill our mission of disrupting the cycle of poverty through workforce development, financial wellness and philanthropy.

“If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else”. Booker T. Washington

Access and Opportunity

Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” This is why we continue to create access and opportunity for our Chicago youth who attend a 2 year college or 4 year university through our Scholars Program. Our Scholarship not only provides financial support, but an array of services that include giving our scholars a professional resume, professional headshot, and an updated LinkedIn profile. The total amount of U.S. student debt has reached over 1.5 trillion. This makes student loans the second largest source of consumer debt behind mortgage debt. We want to alleviate some of the costs to 5 wonderful students. If you know of any high school seniors in Chicago who are about to embark on their higher educational journey, please have them apply for our  AGB scholarship today!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Piecing it Together

 The Always Giving Back Foundation is a place where Chicago minority youth can build their confidence. We provide social and emotional support throughout their college journey. We are a safe space for them to be themselves as they transition from adolescence to adulthood. There is nothing more powerful than seeing youth piece together their perspective on the world and how they see themselves.

The rate of college enrollment has increased in the last decade because of the economy and labor market. Research shows that 16 million undergraduate students enrolled in Fall of 2018 but only 13% of them were African American students. Those same students are underrepresented on predominantly white campuses. We are providing resources to rising undergraduates, one student at a time.

Last year we surprised five deserving youth with scholarships. See here: https://youtu.be/OiW9bOD3c50 Our scholars blossom into leaders and advance in their careers post college. We will share the AGB Scholarship with you Stay close to your email. Applications will open soon!

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Let’s Celebrate

This women’s month we celebrate our cofounder Dr. Denitra Griffin. She stands next to John Griffin Jr. as they run the largest black owned security firm in the nation, AGB Investigative Services, while actively serving  on several boards. Her wealth of knowledge is vast and her heart seeks to make the Chicago community a better place to live.

Have you heard her story? or why the foundation exists today? Better yet, how she manages to do it all, such as keeping the family together, running a successful business, and owning her womanhood? “There are times you have to be both a lion and a lamb.” Lean in and tune to the Secure Podcast.