buildOn's 2014 Gala raises 3.5 Million with help of the GE Challenge

STAMFORD, Conn., Dec. 2, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Over 900 business leaders and community members came together on Thursday, November 20th and raised $3.5 Million to support buildOn's efforts to empower urban youth in the United States and rural villagers across the globe to make their dreams come true through service and education.

The 2014 buildOn Gala, held at the Stamford Hilton, recognized the students, parents, business leaders, and community members who are leading the buildOn movement at home and across the globe. This year, buildOn 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."

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. Participating companies included: Credit Suisse; CSI; Deutsche Bank; GE; Goldman Sachs; Jones Day LLP; KPMG; Pitney Bowes; and Weil, Gotshal.

buildOn students and parents shared their stories of how the organization has become a force for change in their lives through spoken word poetry and through a keynote speeches by Brooklyn student, Lakei Grant and his mother Nikeeya Jefferies.

Ms. Jefferies shared how she felt the organization has impacted her son's life by stating, "We don't always have a lot of leaders coming out of our community, 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."

To find our more about the buildOn gala or to request an invitation to next year's event, please email

About buildOn: At home or abroad, buildOn's goal is to break the cycle of poverty, illiteracy and low expectations through service and education. Across the U.S., buildOn empowers urban youth to transform their neighborhoods through intensive community service and to change the world by building schools in some of the economically poorest countries in the world. Since 1991, buildOn has constructed 674 schools worldwide, with more than 90,000 children, parents and grandparents attending these schools every day. For more information, visit

CONTACT: Alex Smith Director of Communications E: T: 203-216-2084Source: BuildOn