A Tribute to Veterans Day

November 11, 2014

On June 4, 1926 the United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I, when it passed a concurrent resolution with these words:

“On November 11th, may the recurring anniversary of this date be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations.”

My dad, Randy Wells, a Navy Sea Bee in 1970

My dad, Randy Wells, a Sea Bee in the United States Navy 1970

Today, and everyday, may we pay tribute to our Veterans, and showcase support for the incredible Nonprofit organizations throughout our country who are working to ensure that our Veterans are cared for, and their children are provided with strong foundations of support.

Two such organizations include Lines for Life, and the Tsuga Community Commission’s Oregon Summer Star Camp!

Lines for Life’s Military Helpline provides confidential and complication-free support for returning veterans and their families, and is a vital resource for those men and women who have given so much.

Tsuga Community Commission’s Oregon Summer Star Camp  – a special statewide community and customized camp for youth and teens to share experiences related to their parent’s military service.

Tsuga Community Commission's Oregon Summer Star Camp

Tsuga Community Commission’s Oregon Summer Star Camp

2014 is a deployment year for Oregon, and roughly 1,200 Soldiers from Oregon’s Army National Guard are expected to deploy to Afghanistan.

Today, and everyday, may we give thanks to those who have served, and those who continue to serve.

Today and everyday, may we remember war, and imagine peace.

360’s Everyday Philanthropist’s – Celeste Hamilton Dennis and Craig Dennis!

October 6, 2014

It’s there. That opportunity to extend good will. That chance to rise to the occasion. That moment when a simple action –  entirely authentic and built upon what’s right and true, can generate momentum and snowball into something so completely magical that it spills out into the masses, inspiring all that have the good fortune of seeing such a beautiful thing transpire.

Celly & Craig

This past June, 360 friends Celeste Hamilton Dennis and Craig Dennis organized a cash mob – where people flood a small, local business, and pledge to support it –  and what transpired was priceless.

In support of a beloved retailer in Celeste’s hometown of Levittown, N.J, Celeste and her husband, Craig, hatched a loving call to action to surround a local businessman, “Avi”, with a wealth of support that extended well beyond monetary measure.

Celeste and Craig are do-gooders by day, sharing their heartfelt talents at Idealist.org, and Treehouse, respectively, so it was no surprise that they launched forth with such a genuine plan to show a local retailer just how much he means to the community.

As a contributing writer for Everybody’s Invited, Celeste wrote about her plans for Avi’s cash mob, and outlined a step by step cash mob guide in hopes that you’re inspired to do the same.

In the post, Celeste states, “Like many small businesses on Long Island and across the U.S., he’d come up on hard times and was likely going to shut the store down. So we saw this as an opportunity to show just how loved and supported he was in Levittown and in the process, hopefully give him some extra cash.”

The result was renewed hope for Avi, and this short documentary.


ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Takes Fundraising to New Heights!

September 4, 2014

Unless you’ve been taking up residence on another planet, in another galaxy, you’ve heard about the now infamous, ALS Ice Bucket Challenge!

Since the inception of this social media fundraising platform on July 20, 2014, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has raised more than 115 MILLION DOLLARS to continue their efforts in fighting Lou Gehrig’s Disease on every front!

Jimmy Fallon

Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon took the ice bucket challenge, alongside house band The Roots, and fellow guests!

Celebrities, soccer mom’s, children, and business professionals alike, all geared up to participate in this unique form of fundraising!

But what exactly made this fundraising campaign so unique? For starters – Facebook.

Within one month, over 15 million had been exposed to this fundraising platform, and the social media pressures extended to family and friends to participate in this chilling form of fundraising, received unparalleled support and a whirlwind of participation. I was certainly swept up into the fundraising momentum, and inspired to participate as well!


In July of 2013, the ALS Association raised just $2.8 million in their fundraising efforts. In July of 2014, the ALS Association had raised $31.5 million total – in one month alone – a remarkable departure from the previous year’s fundraising efforts during the same time frame, and the first successful advocacy campaign ever created to raise deserving awareness of the devastating effects of ALS – a neurodegenerative disease that causes people to lose control of muscle movement, which often leads to paralysis and death within two to five years of being diagnosed.

The only FDA-approved drug for treatment, riluzole (Rilutek), extends survival by a matter of months, which is why the magnitude of support generated from this innovative form of fundraising now known as the Ice Bucket Challenge is providing those living with and affected by ALS with an epic sense of hope – the hope for a tomorrow that’s free from ALS.

As you and your team explore fundraising options, take a cue from the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. The next big fundraising idea could begin with YOU!




June 12th – World Day Against Child Labor

June 12, 2014

Today, throughout the world, around 215 million children work, many full-time. They do not go to school and have little or no time to play. Many do not receive proper nutrition or care. They are denied the chance to be children. More than half of them are exposed to the worst forms of child labor such as work in hazardous environments, slavery, or other forms of forced labor, illicit activities including drug trafficking, prostitution, and involvement in armed conflict.


In 2002, the International Labor Organization (ILO) launched the World Day Against Child Labor to focus attention on the global extent of child labor and the action and efforts needed to eliminate it.

Each year on June 12th, the WDACL brings together governments, employers, workers, and organizations,  as well as millions of people from around the world to highlight the plight of child laborers and what can be done to help them.

Around the world, large numbers of children continue to be engaged in paid or unpaid domestic work in the home of a third party or employer. These children can be particularly vulnerable to exploitation. Their work is typically hidden from the public eye, often resulting in isolation, or requirement that they work far away from their family home. Stories of the abuse of children in domestic work are all too common.

The creation of this annual observance of WDAC and continued efforts to end child labor, is thanks in part to Lewis Hine – a  New York City school teacher and social documentary photographer, who in 1911, was hired by the National Child Labor Committee to document child labor abuse in America. His heart-wrenching images of children at work helped lead to the passage of new labor laws in the United States.

group photo child labor

{“Breaker boys working in Ewen Breaker. S. Pittston, Pa, January 1911” – By Lewis Hine}

He felt so strongly that if people could just see for themselves the injustices of child labor, they would rise up and demand its end. He used his photography as a means to achieve social reform.

{Child Labor Law Promo Bill, by Lewis Hine}

Hine believed that a camera, held with hands of compassion, can be a powerful tool for positive change, and once stated, “perhaps you are weary of child labor pictures. Well, so are the rest of us. But we propose to make you and the whole country so sick and tired of the whole business that when the time for action comes, child labor pictures will be records of the past.”  

child labor

As written and documented by photographer, Lewis Hine: “Furman Owens, 12 years old. Can’t read. Doesn’t know A, B, C’s. He told me, ‘Yes I want to learn but can’t when I work all the time”. January 1909

Though much has changed since Lewis Hine’s portrayed the stark conditions of working children during the early 1900’s, the issues of child labor sadly continues.

Imagine a world in which every child attended school and nobody was forced to work against their will. World Day Against Child Labor stresses the central role of programs that reduce poverty and vulnerability, and in partnership with the United Nations, is working to ensure that children have access to basic resources including nutrition, health and education, so that they may fully realize their potential.

Dine-Out for Raphael House!

May 6, 2014

On Wednesday, May 7th, more than 20 local restaurants throughout Portland will be donating a percentage of their proceeds to support Raphael House’s life-saving domestic violence shelter!  dine out for raphael house


Every year, local restaurants and diners show their support for local families escaping domestic violence by contributing a portion of proceeds to Restaurants for Raphael House – a multi-faceted domestic violence agency dedicated to ending intimate partner violence for good.

If you’ve not yet made plans for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, take a look at this incredible list of participating partners, and schedule your reservations now!

Accanto – 2838 SE Belmont St
Bread and Ink Cafe – 3610 SE Hawthorne Blvd
Chiang Mai – 3145 SE Hawthorne Blvd
The Country Cat – 7937 SE Stark St
PaaDee – 6 SE 28th Ave
Pacific Pie Co. – 1520 SE 7th Ave
¿Por Que No? – 4635 SE Hawthorne Blvd
Roost – 1403 SE Belmont St
Saint Honore Bakery – 3333 SE Division St
Ya Hala – 8005 SE Stark St

Beulahland – 118 NE 28th Ave
Bin 21 – 5011 NE 21st Ave
Dove Vivi – 2727 NE Glisan St
Firehouse – 711 NE Dekum St
Nonna – 5513 NE 30th Ave
Radio Room – 1101 NE Alberta St
Smallwares – 4605 NE Fremont St

Lincoln – 3808 N Williams Ave
¿Por Que No? – 3524 N Mississippi Ave

Cafe Nell – 1987 NW Kearney St
Pacific Pie Co. – 1668 NW 23rd Ave
Saint Honore Bakery – 2335 NW Thurman St

Bento Box – 530 SW 10th Ave
E-San Thai – 133 SW 2nd Ave
Mother’s Bistro & Bar – 212 SW Stark St
Thirst Bistro – 0315 SW Montgomery St #340

Chuckie Pies – 430 5th St (Lake Oswego)
Rivershore Bar & Grill – 1900 Clackamette Drive (Oregon City)
Saint Honore Bakery – 315 1st St #103 (Lake Oswego)


Cascade AIDS Project to Celebrate 25 Years of ARTful Fundraising!

May 3, 2014

It has been said that “Art remains the one way possible of speaking the truth”, and the truth is, over 1,000 people will be gathering tonight at Portland’s Memorial Coliseum in dedicated support of Cascade AIDS Projects 25th Annual Art Evening & Auction!

promo image

For 25 years, some of the most talented local and national artists have generously donated their works to the auction. A highly curated, and impressive showcase of acclaimed artists committed to speaking their truths through concept and medium. This year’s Live Auction  features seventeen captivating lots, including the exemplary work of  Dale Chihuly, Anna Skibska, and Tom Cramer to name a few. The funds raised thanks in part to featured artists, incredibly generous patrons of the arts, and fervent supporters of CAP, supports the vital advocacy, prevention and educational services and outreach CAP provides to thousands of Oregonians living with HIV/AIDS.

Got Game?! Show it off at this pub-style trivia contest for Open Meadow!

May 1, 2014

Tonight we join Open Meadow at Portland’s Left Bank Annex for their 4th Annual Got Game fundraising eventa pub-style trivia contest where guests can exercise their brains and brawn to create tremendous possibilities for young people in our community!

Got Game

Auctioneer, John Mayo will join host, Drew Carney of KGW for an unforgettable evening of comical Q & A to raise deserving funds for Open Meadow, an inspiring organization that has been making a difference in the lives of North Portland youth since 1971!

Open Meadow believes that strong, healthy communities provide pathways to success for everyone, and that education is central to creating these pathways. And at Open Meadow, education is the key to disrupting core issues of racism, poverty, and violence –  which serve as continuous barriers to success. Open Meadow focuses on young people: endowing them with the skills, power and hope to be agents of change in their communities. Investing in the education of every student motivates and empowers them to create the equitable communities we all deserve.

One such student, Eddie, featured in the incredibly inspiring video below, is proudly launching into a vibrant future thanks to the foundation of support he’s received from Open Meadow!

Offering a personalized educational experience for middle and high school youth, Open Meadow Schools develop connection, capability, and confidence in disconnected youth through relationship-based, quality learning experiences that result in academic, personal, and community success.


Brian Grant Foundation is Powering Forward with Parkinson’s

March 31, 2014

Every 9 minutes, someone in the United States is diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Right now, more than 1 million people are living with Parkinson’s in the U.S. – that’s more than the combined totals of people with Multiple Sclerosis, Lou Gehrig’s disease, and Muscular Dystrophy. April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month and the Brian Grant Foundation is Powering Forward with Parkinson’s through strategic community partnerships to bring awareness and raise program funds.

The Brian Grant Foundation was founded by former 12 year NBA player, Brian Grant, after his own Parkinson’s diagnosis, to create a community for those living with Parkinson’s, as well as their family and friends impacted by the disease. The Brian Grant Foundation’s mission is to empower those impacted by Parkinson’s to live active and fulfilling lives. In four years, they’ve made an amazing amount of progress, developing programs focused on the importance of diet and exercise.

Brain Grant

{Photo by Brant Grant Foundation}

In honor of the Brian Grant Foundation and Brian Grant’s athletic career with the Sacramento Kings and Portland Trail Blazers, Moda Health and Kaiser Permanente are teaming up at two NBA games in April. High energy, information filled evenings have been developed for the games in Sacramento (April 2) and Portland (April 4). As the honored charity at Rip City Eclipse when the Portland Trail Blazers host the Phoenix Suns at the Moda Centera t-shirt featuring Brian Grant was designed to be sold exclusively at the game. All proceeds from the evening benefit the Brian Grant Foundation.

Rip City Eclipse

{Design by Moda Health}

Sometimes it takes getting hit to realize who’s got your back. Sometimes it takes fans to remind you that doing the dirty work matters. – Brian Grant

BA360 is honored to provide strategic development consultation for the Brian Grant Foundation. We are huge fans of their important work. You can join us in powering forward to make a difference at Brian Grant Foundation or showcase your direct support, contact Executive Director, Cherise Bjornsgard, at 503-265-1597.

Chance Encounters…

July 1, 2013

While en route to the BA360 office this morning, I stopped in at one of my favorite haunts next door – Food In Bloom Cafe for my “usual order”. Food & Bloom Cafe Though this locale isn’t the stomping grounds for the cast of Cheers, at Food & Bloom, everyone knows your name, the food is delicious, and on most occasions, you’re guaranteed to run into a familiar face or a treasured friend, and today’s chance encountering was a sweet surprise, and transported me back in time, when I saw the sweet, smiling face of Jensine Larsen, Founder & CEO of World Pulse. Jensine Larsen




In 2005, I had been a professional fundraising auctioneer & consultant for two years, and was just launching my own company, Benefit Auctions 360. It was at this time that I met this incredible woman, Jensine Larsen, whom had just launched a nonprofit media organization in order to present an inspiring and innovative magazine called, World Pulse.

Equipped with years of experience as a young journalist in Burma and the Amazon, Jensine Larsen discovered that some of the world’s most important stories are rarely mentioned in the mass media. So she began a quest to create a media source that would bring the vital, yet untapped, voices and solutions of women and youth to the world stage, and in doing so, the premiere issue of World Pulse Magazine debuted in 2004. Thousands of individuals and grassroots organizations took notice. Newsstand sales were double the average for new publications and the magazine was nominated for “Best International Coverage” and “Best New Title” of 2004 and 2005 by the Independent Press Awards. world pulse 2

When I first met Jensine, momentum was building behind both of our projects. The launch of her “bold and beautiful new magazine, one that would cut to the heart of global problems through the eyes of women and highlight solutions already underway” (World Pulse), and the launch of my company, Benefit Auctions 360, which was led by a passionate driving force to assist Nonprofit Organizations in their fundraising efforts, allowing them to better our communities and inspire other agents of change along the way.

My want and need to support Nonprofit’s in their fundraising efforts was infused with Anne Frank’s timeless message, “How wonderful it is that no one need wait a single moment before beginning to improve the world,” and when I met Jensine, I immediately wanted to join her grassroots efforts to empower women through her then new media platform, because this beautiful, heartfelt, and remarkably intelligent woman was certainly not waiting a single moment before beginning to improve the world.

So it was then, shortly after the birth of my company and the arrival of World Pulse, that Jensine Larsen, Jessica Tomforde, and myself set forth for Colorado for a seed funding tour. Looking back, I think it’s safe to say that though unbeknownst to us at the time, we were part of an inaugural crowdfunding campaign.  At sold-out luncheons, Jensine spoke to captive audiences, whom were eager and honored to take part in supporting this new media platform. Bunking with friends and donors along the way, we traversed through Colorado together, collectively experiencing the beauty and powerful potential of what World Pulse was becoming thanks in part to Jensine’s vision, and the bounty of support shown by each and every donor and enthusiastic voice along the way.

I look back on that time fondly, and seeing Jensine today made me smile, pause and reflect on the phenomenal impact that she has made on women throughout the world – an action media network now powered by women from 190 countries, lifting and uniting women’s voices to accelerate their impact for the world. A platform for change, a sanctuary for those who have been silent, created by one woman who recognized that she need not wait a single minute before improving the world.



“You Will Always Find People Who Are Helping”

April 24, 2013

By: Keely Montgomery, BAS

Maybe it is the fact that Mother’s Day is right around the corner, or that I am expecting another addition to my family only months away, but I’ve been finding myself in this contemplative place surrounding the tremendous love of mothers, fathers and legal guardians. There is so much careful thought that goes into every decision surrounding our little ones. Like anything in life, as parents we do our very best in our roles and hope that the choices we make will help to create a basis that will be safe and healthy for them to leap from when our kids are more independent and making their own choices. As our youth step into this world as young adults and as older adults later on, we can only hope that they will come across the resources and people to both help and inspire them to live their lives in the most healthy and positive ways. And we hope that they will become the kind of person who will willingly lend a helping hand to others when they have the capacity to do so.

When a horrific incident like what took place in Boston last week occurs, sometimes it is tough to remember that acts of kindness are present all around us, and truly do outweigh the bad in the world.

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.” – Fred Rogers (Mr. Rogers)

Here at Benefit Auctions 360, we are lucky that we don’t have to be reminded of the good in the world because those reminders come to us daily by having the opportunity to get to work with our many wonderful clients as they strive to continue to bring important programming to our communities. We are reminded of this when we meet thousands of volunteers each month at auctions and in committee meetings who are so dedicated to the cause and to the people they are serving. I will hope that my kids grow up to give back to our community just as these people are doing every day, and just as we as parents try to model to them.

Last week was an exciting one for fundraising in Portland as we partnered up with Oregon Red Cross and Dress for Success for the first time, along with joining long-time clients Doernbecher Children’s Hospital Foundation,  We are proud to say that all three organizations achieved record-breaking numbers in funds raised at their events!

Here is a quick peek at what we’ve been up to:

The Red Cross stage was the idea of the team over at Severson Events. Below is a pic of April Severson and Heidi Kent – the two creative brains responsible for pulling together the look and feel for this event!

At Dress for Success, the highlight of the reception was the fancy Diamond Dig!

A stunning performance by the ever-talented Julianne Johnson kicked things off for the evening.

Our Principal Auctioneer, Johnna Wells, had the chance to share the stage with KGW’s Drew Carney again, who is always so much fun to work with!

We had a sea of support throughout the evening with guests supporting Dress for Success by raising their bid paddles high and proud!

The Diamond Dig reveal after the Special Appeal – everyone was a winner!

And, here I am with just some of the many, many volunteers who worked so hard to help pull together a great event!

Congrats and thank you to the whole team at Dress for Success and to Sally Dadum Bixby, owner of Philanthropy Studio for all of her hard work in pulling together such a spectacular event!