AVB and Friends Pledge $215K to Aid Foster Kids

By Alan Wolf, YSN

If, as AVB CEO Jim Ristow advises, a good way to tackle the fear that the health crisis evokes is through giving, then BrandSource is fighting back big time.

After forming a Charity Committee to find a virtuous (and cost effective) recipient of the group’s goodwill, BrandSource followed up on the suggestion of AVB Marketing staffer Amanda Nelson and alighted on Together We Rise.

This California-based non-profit is dedicated to bettering the lives of the hundreds of thousands of children and young adults who find themselves adrift in the nation’s foster care system. Often forgotten by the public and too often the victims of abuse and neglect, these youngsters face constant uncertainty and anxiety, which has only been compounded by the pandemic.

By partnering with social workers, child advocacy groups, volunteers and organizations like BrandSource, Together We Rise performs thousands of acts of kindness that can brighten the days and change the future for these foster kids. Among its efforts: bringing separated siblings together for reunification events; providing bicycles and skateboards to those who’ve lost the simple joys of childhood; and granting scholarships to college-bound students and easing their transition to campus life.

For BrandSource’s part, our contribution — culled from the generous donations of vendor partners, board members, region chapters and AVB staff — will help provide foster kids with carryalls to replace the trash bags many use to cart their meager possessions. The new duffel bags will be stuffed with essentials like blankets, hygiene kits and even BrandSource teddy bears, to help instill a sense of permanence and worth.

As of this week BrandSource has raised a record $215,000 for the cause, helped by matching grants from the group and CEO Ristow and topped by a $30,000 pledge from GE Appliances.

“I am so excited about the progress we are making and the interest everyone has shown in our new charity partner,” said AVB Marketing’s Nelson. “The people that make up the organization, how they came to be, and the work they do is very special.”

“We couldn’t think of a better way for our members and vendor partners to make an impact on everyone’s future,” added Jennifer Baldwin, AVB’s general manager of customer experience. “The cost of not investing in our foster youth is far greater. What many people don’t realize is that our economy suffers as a whole when 70 percent of foster care clientele require government assistance by the time they age out of the system. By investing in them early they will get the support they need to finish high school and receive a college degree or necessary work experience so they can contribute to growing our marketplace.”

In a holiday address to members, Ristow urged the extended BrandSource family to continue giving what they can by texting avbgives to 443-21 or click HERE as the group closes out its December “Month of Giving.”

“These kids need our help,” he said. “And I guarantee you all — if you give, you’re going to feel better helping all these people in need.”

The fundraising campaign continues a longstanding AVB tradition of aiding children and follows last year’s $154,000 donation to Make-A-Wish Arizona and 2018’s $75,000 contribution to Toys for Tots.

BrandSource, a unit of YSN publisher AVB Inc., is a nationwide buying group for independent appliance, furniture, mattress and CE dealers.