Twenty years ago (as of 2011), Jim Ziolkowski stepped away from the corporate world, with all respect to General Electric, to embark on a journey. He was inspired to make a change and bridge the gap between the privilege and wealth in America, and the poverty of those in need worldwide. Thus, buildOn was founded. In his words, so powerfully stated, buildOn is not a charity; it is a movement. Its aim is to mobilize urban youth through service, placing them in control of their own destiny.
(For more information regarding buildOn please visit: www.buildon.org)
A 20th anniversary celebration was held for this great organization at the Hilton Hotel Downtown Stamford starting with a cocktail hour and silent auction on the mezzanine level:
"How will the world be a better place 20 years from now? How can we put an end to worldwide poverty?" Guests could jot down their ideas, hopes and dreams and place them in the Time Capsule:
Honoree for the evening, Keith Sherin, Vice Chairman and CFO of General Electric and his wife (middle, left) with the event's emcee, Savannah Guthrie, of the Today Show:
The evening continued with a ballroom reception including dinner:
There were opening remarks, by emcee Savannah Guthrie of The Today Show and buildOn COO, Mark Friedman:
buildOn CEO, Jim Ziolkowski, shared a few words about the progress and future goals of buildOn. He would then present an award of excellence to the honoree of the evening, Keith Sherin, Vice Chairman and CFO of General Electric:
Alumni of buildOn shared their personal testimonies of trial and strife, growing up in challenging economic conditions. They went on to share that through buildOn they were included in a community of new friends and given the opportunity to serve others, which made an large impact on their future:
The evening ended with a student appeal and an auction, the proceeds of which helped buildOn continue it's outstanding philanthropic work. It was inspiring and uplifting as students entered the ballroom and rushed the stage with the chant, "WE ARE.....BUILD ON!!!"