Philanthropy & Nonprofits
Amazon Makes Surprise $100,000 Donation to Local School District Programs Supporting High-Need Youth and Their Families
On Dec. 12, 2018, Amazon surprised five selected Inland Empire school districts with a $100,000 donation to provide holiday cheer and support the “right now” needs of family services programs. This donation will impact more than 30,000 students and their families throughout the Inland Empire. Specific uses for the donation will allow for students to participate in extracurricular activities, get transportation to school, have access to clothing, school supplies, and more. Every district also took home a decorated tree to put on display at a school or share with a family in need.
“The holidays can be a difficult time for some children and families, and we were touched to provide this fun and magical experience to the districts,” said Catie Hydeman, Amazon Director of Regional Operations. “We are proud to give back to the communities where our associates live and work – this was a reminder that together, we can do a lot to make a person smile.”
Resounding comments from party-goers noted how a special event like this was an unforgettable way to show every student there how special they are – and that they have the support of many behind them. Students and school officials spent the morning inside Amazon’s ONT2 facility in San Bernardino and you can bet the smiles were abundant as Amazon’s guests sipped on hot cocoa, decorated holiday cookies, met Santa Claus and took pictures with Amazon’s associates dressed as elves.
The Inland Empire’s donation, on Amazon Operation’s “Nice List,” was part of the tradition to deliver smiles to the communities where Amazonians live and work by donating food, living essentials and over $1 million to support the “right now” needs of families as well as providing holiday cheer for children at locations across North America.
Please note, each school district is open for commentary and/or to provide a quote for this story. Please feel free to reach out to them directly.
Amazon’s Inland Empire fulfillment centers made a surprise $100,000 donation to students and staff from Redlands Unified School District, San Bernardino City Unified School District, Rialto Unified School District, Riverside Unified School District and Moreno Valley Unified School District.
In Santa’s Workshop, Santa’s Amazonian elves help students pick out some awesome gifts to bring them holiday cheer.
An Amazonian elf lends a helping hand to a student to decorate a Christmas ornament for her holiday tree.
Philanthropy & Nonprofits
The OTIS Academy Launches in Zambia, Africa
In March of 2023, Eddy Sumar of ERS Consulting Services, in conjunction with the Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce (IERCC), traveled to Zambia, Africa, to bring the OTIS Academy, the Power Project/The Power of the Dream, and the value of Financial Freedom to the youth of Zambia.
On Tuesday, March 14, he met with CEO Chansa Mwila of the American Chamber of Commerce in Zambia (AmCham), where he presented her with an honorary membership to the IERCC. He also presented certificates of membership to Mr. Derby Chipwande and Mr. Edwin Mukwamba, Partners for the OTIS Academy in Zambia. All were very excited to be a part of IERCC and the OTIS Academy Project in Zambia. On the next day, Wednesday, Mr. Sumar and Mr. Mukwamba visited two schools, The Multisensory International School and Litewu School, where they demonstrated what the OTIS Academy can do for their students. They were very excited and impressed by the depth and quality of the programs offered.
The next few days Mr. Sumar took a side trip with his wife and Mr. Chipandwe and Mr. Mukwamba and his wife to Livingston, where they witnessed the Mighty Victoria Falls at the strongest it had been in decades. Next to the Falls is the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, where they encountered Cape and Forest Buffalo, Vervet Monkeys, Impalas, Baboons, Zebras, and the endangered White Rhino. They also crossed the border into Botswana, where warthogs and mongooses wandered among the human population.
Back from that little side trip, Mr. Sumar and Mr. Mukwamba visited two more schools on Monday, March 20. The first was Quickstep School Limited, the second Rockview University. Again, the reception to the program was very positive. So with this trip, one can say: the IERCC has gone global, the OTIS Academy has gone international, and both have arrived in Zambia!
People On The Move
Children’s Fund Appoints New President & CEO
Veteran Non-Profit Leader, Cesar Navarrete, to Guide Organization Helping Children
Kristin Pierce, Chair of Children’s Fund Board, a San Bernardino County nonprofit, has announced the appointment of Cesar Navarrete as the new president and CEO of that organization.
For the last eight years, Navarrete has served as Executive Director of Child Advocates for San Bernardino County, a Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program. Over that period, he doubled the capacity of that organization to improve the lives of children and youth in foster and juvenile care. Child Advocates, under his leadership, was awarded the prestigious Bank of America Neighborhood Builders Award in 2020.
For eight years previous, he served the Family Service Association, a Riverside County nonprofit. Fresh out of college, he started as a program coordinator at the Mead Valley Community Center, rising through the organization to Director of Programs Administration.
Navarrete is a Moreno Valley resident. He holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a Master’s of Public Administration from Cal State University, San Bernardino. He is a member of the public administration adjunct faculty there, teaching a course on Nonprofit Management and Leadership. He is also a member of the School of Public Administration Advisory Board.
He serves with several organizations throughout the county, including the San Bernardino County Children’s Policy Council and the San Bernardino County Foster Care Advisory Council. Children’s Fund and CASA have a history of supporting each other in their mutual goal of helping foster youth.
“Cesar impressed the search committee with his abilities as a visionary builder and his compassion for children and families,” said Board Chair Pierce. “He is the ideal person to lead us into a new era of service to the San Bernardino County.”
Navarrete was drawn to Children’s Fund because of its breadth of programs helping children. “Children’s Fund is a pillar in the community that works tirelessly to provide the help and support that our children, youth, and families need, not only to meet their basic needs, but to inspire hope, by breaking down barriers and creating new opportunities,” Navarrete said.
Navarrete replaces Ciriaco “Cid” Pinedo, EDD, the new CEO of the Mexican American Opportunity Foundation.
Philanthropy & Nonprofits
Entrepreneurship Center awarded $500,000 to support Inland Empire BIPOC small business owners and entrepreneurs
The Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship (IECE) at California State University, San Bernardino has been awarded $500,000 in unrestricted funding from the Citi Foundation to reach and serve more local Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) entrepreneurs and small businesses.
The Citi Foundation issued a $25 Million Small Business Technical Assistance RFP earlier this year and awarded 50 organizations nationwide with funding to support continued work in providing technical assistance to BIPOC-led small businesses that have been disproportionately affected by the unprecedented health, social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“BIPOC small businesses and entrepreneurs are vital to our local economy, and they have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mike Stull, director of the IECE. “Prior to the pandemic, the number of new Black-owned businesses and new Hispanic-owned businesses were growing at a more rapid pace than the overall business growth rate. New and early-stage businesses face numerous challenges and the pandemic has compounded those challenges. The timing of the Citi Foundation award comes as a critical time as the economy is opening up, and businesses are rebuilding and responding to new market opportunities.”
The IECE, housed in the Jack H. Brown College of Business and Public Administration, delivers innovative programs and educational resources to entrepreneurs and small business owners through a broad range of community and campus programs. As the leading entrepreneurial support organization in the Inland Empire, the IECE is also one of the largest University-based Entrepreneurship Centers in the world and has been recognized by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International) as a top 35 program for fostering entrepreneurship and innovation.
“This recent award from the Citi Foundation is a testament to the importance of BIPOC businesses to economic growth in the region, the strong reputation IECE has built as effective stewards of funds and the significant impact both will have on the surrounding communities,” said Shanthi Srinivas, interim dean of the Jack H. Brown College.
“Innovative organizations like IECE are providing pivotal support to small businesses as they navigate an ever-changing economic landscape,” said Brandee McHale, head of Citi Community Investing and Development and president of the Citi Foundation. “The Citi Foundation is proud to be supporting IECE and other change agents with the unrestricted, flexible funding they need to deliver specialized support to more minority-owned small businesses in their communities .”
IECE operates the Small Business Development Center, the Women’s Business Centers and California State Trade Expansion Programs in the Inland Empire region, which operate from full-time offices in Colton, Ontario, Palm Desert, Riverside and 10 part-time offices throughout Riverside and San Bernardino counties. The programs have a long history of delivering free business counseling, mentoring and training to existing and aspiring small business owners and entrepreneurs. Collectively, the programs have provided support to over 10,000 small business owners and entrepreneurs in 2020.
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