At the inception of The "I Love U Guys" Foundation, the focus was on the arena of school safety. The question was simple, "Can we really help?" We attended symposiums, conferences and events about school safety and did tons of research. The Foundation hosted roundtables of its own, and also contracted an Emergency Management Practitioner to jumpstart the learning curve and make introductions. (Perhaps the best research investment we have ever made.)
In January of 2009, John-Michael Keyes negotiated an exit from his company and began seriously looking at the landscape of school safety. His motivation was pretty simple: Does the Foundation initiate programs of its own, or does it simply raise a little money for other initiatives and programs?
What happened next was remarkable. With so many individuals, organizations, districts, departments and agencies looking at student safety, there still seemed to be a missing piece - a lack of clear, distinct, common language between first responders, students and staff.
Ellen and John-Michael Keyes devoted their skills in design and packaging, and critical thought. Their twenty-five year professional careers proved essential building blocks for the Foundation. And their passion is a beacon. Because of circumstance, they are also invited into conversations not typically open to private citizens. But it didn't stop there; the "I Love U Guys" Foundation also began to solidify a strong, diverse Board of Directors and the volunteer base checked-in with its knowledge pool and skill-sets.
Finally, the Foundation could act as a conduit. Through research and collaboration with experts in education, law enforcement, emergency management and psychologists the Foundation assembled real world solutions that could be brought to the classroom, in partnership with first responders.
The end result has been a "Perfect Storm" for advancing student and school safety. The ability to create, package, promote and institute programs and initiatives advancing student safety exists within the organization; including all of the supporting material necessary to advance them. With the ultimate in stewardship, we produce professional, relevant and comprehensive materials at a fraction of the typical cost. Simply amazing.
The joy of youth is a gift given to each of us at birth. It is a gift that is both precious and fragile, and can be experienced and shared not just in childhood, but throughout one's lifetime. To know the joy of youth is to know laughter and exuberance, to be free of worry, to feel cared for, and safe. The joy of youth is at all times exposed to the elements of life. Inevitably, and sometimes very quickly, these elements erode or even destroy our sense of security and wellbeing, our positive outlook, our desire to give and to share.
While there is nothing that can be done to absolutely protect the joy of youth from all of the elements which may undermine or destroy it, there is much that can be done to restore and protect it - for both children and adults.
In support of our Mission to restore and protect the joy of youth, The "I Love U Guys" Foundation has established three Points of Focus that guide what we do and how we do it:
Every vital organization has a soul, an ethos. Our soul is kindness. It is the example we set, and the energy we put into the universe. Kindness is one thing each of us is capable of, and perhaps the only thing over which we have absolute control. While we may not fully know the power of its presence, we do so painfully know the power of its absence. Anger, despair, and alienation are born of the absence of kindness. These same feelings underlie the desperation that leads to violent acts against others. What difference might a simple kindness make?
Community is the body in which our soul of kindness lives. It is where we gather in celebration and in sorrow, where we practice giving and experience reliance. Community is a rich confluence of different lifestyles, ideas, and resources. It magnifies and multiplies us, giving us the capacity to do those things that need to be done but which we cannot do alone.
Responsibility is our conscience. At its center is the awareness that our perceptions, words, and actions impact others. Each of us has the power to give, to support, and to create. As well, we have the power to hurt, to detract, and destroy. We are responsible for how we use our power. Responsibility is the energy that converts intentions to actions; nothing gets done if someone does not do it. Each of us has responsibility to do what we can for our own security and well-being - and that of others.
For some it may be difficult to accept. The right actions at the right time by the right people may not have the right outcome.
When what we hoped for didn't happen, some may want to find fault. But there is no fault to be found in the command decisions made given the information and behavior presented. There is no fault to be found in the courage and speed of their response.
From our family, there is only respect.
The best people did the best of things. The outcome could have been far more grave. We as a family know this and appreciate this.
Real life doesn't always have a happy ending.
Excerpted from the Keyes Family Statement regarding the March 27th, 2007 release of the CBI Report on the Platte Canyon Hostage Crisis.
When The "I Love U Guys" Foundation first formed in 2006, the commitment was in part to help other organizations in support of the mission. We also funded a modest scholarship program for Platte Canyon High School graduates. During that time, school safety became an ongoing interest.
In 2009 the Foundation collaborated with schools and first responders to create the Standard Response Protocol and began an outreach program to show schools and first responders how it works. The results have been simply astonishing - millions of students; hundreds of thousands of educators, administrators and school staff; and tens of thousands of first responders. All using the same language, same training, same expectations of behavior during a crisis.
In 2010 the Foundation launched an awareness campaign talking to teens about the tough topic sexting. Behind the scenes, we spoke with District Attorneys and Prosecutors about sane intervention, without lifelong sex offender status.
In 2012 research indicated that there was another gap in the spectrum of school safety. Few schools had a plan to reunify students with parents after a crisis while maintaining accountability and accommodating mental health demands. Again, collaboration and research resulted in the Standard Reunification Method.
With a combination of in-house talent, a dedicated board of directors, tireless volunteers, and strong collaboration, the Foundation developed these programs at a fraction of traditional costs.
It's not enough to have strong programs. Districts, departments and agencies have to know about them. Have to be motivated to implement them. And have the training to do it.
And motivation is the key. Anyone who has worked in institutional environments knows that it isn't enough to say something should be done. Motivated people need to do it. And they need the tools to succeed.
When the Foundation developed the SRP to address the lack of common language between students, teachers and first responders it was debated how best to introduce it. Of course we would not mind if some government entity comes along, adopts and mandates the program, but without first proving its effectiveness we knew it would be an uphill climb to take this approach.
We also knew that several Colorado schools were already working on or had pieces of critical incident response in their safety plans, so we talked with them directly. When Jefferson County School District became the first to adopt the SRP in 2009 we knew we made the right choice to take a more grass-roots approach, talking with individual schools or districts about our programs, letting their success speaks for itself.
If you are a school, district, department, agency, or organization then all downloadable materials on this site are available at no charge.
In refreshing materials and guidance (early 2015), we looked at every aspect of the SRP. The "I Love U Guys" Foundation made a profound decision. While Foundation programs were offered free of charge to public schools, districts, departments and agencies, other organizations were asked for a modest donation to the Foundation. Across the US and Canada, Law Enforcement began expanding the recommendation of the SRP to other organizations.
While we welcome every donation, the suggested donation was occasionally a roadblock for implementation in the private sector. In 2015, the Foundation board approved providing the materials, at no cost, to any organization.
Saying it again, any school, district, department, agency or organization can use the materials free of charge. All we ask is that the Foundation is notified.
Our ability to provide materials to districts, departments and agencies at no cost relies, in part, on charitable funding from the private sector. It is important to us that we know who is using our programs, how effective they have been, and any feedback - good or bad. So, please let us know if you are using our programs.
Barbara Behl |
David Benke, PhD |
Frank DeAngelis |
James Englert - Treasurer |
Louis Gonzalez - Secretary |
Pat Hamilton |
Ellen Stoddard-Keyes - President |
John-Michael Keyes |
Carly Posey |
A comment that we frequently hear is, "I thought the organization was bigger than it is." Whenever we hear that, we reflect for a moment. The quality of the program materials, the reach, and the impact that The "I Love U Guys" Foundation is extending across the US and Canada can only be described as astonishing. That reach has created an obligation.
While the I "Love U Guys" Foundation was founded in 2006 and engaged in conversations about school safety, it was really 2009 when we pivoted toward developing school safety programs. At the time, we had no idea that schools, districts, departments, agencies and organizations would grow to depend on Foundation programs and training to jumpstart their individual school or organization safety efforts.
Today, we feel a strong obligation in continuing to advance our programs and services, and offer the programs, online, at no cost. But that takes funding. Like many small non-profits it can be a challenge to create a successful sustainability model.
We were initially able to fund program development and outreach through fundraising events and donations. But demand soon exceeded capacity. Now what? In 2009 Mr. Keyes began getting requests to present at conferences and symposiums. Often an honorarium was offered to The Foundation. That gave us a glimmer of an idea.
Can The Foundation provide value by charging for keynotes, presentations, training and workshops? The answer turned out to be, “Yes.”
Initially, it was keynote presentations. Soon it grew into breakout sessions, staff training and other seminars. Today, the Foundation offers a number of training options. That takes us to Core Mission Driven Earned Income.
The Foundation is laser focused on our mission. Our programs are aligned with the mission. And our earned income is aligned with the mission. Every time a Foundation representative delivers a keynote, or trains an audience, it is in support of the mission. Keynote presentations not only introduce our programs, but they increase awareness, galvanize an audience to action, and are a catalyst for program implementation. Our training sessions give participants practical, tangible outcomes in our programs application, operation and utilization.
Our event income is also mission driven. The bulk of that income is from our annual school safety symposium, The Briefings.
Even our sponsorships are mission driven. Every commercial enterprise that sponsors The Foundation is a heartfelt organization offering valuable products or services in this arena.
Core Mission Driven means that we maintain discipline. Often we get requests for site assessments, consulting, or safety planning. While it may look like we're leaving money on the table, those are areas that are out of our wheelhouse or not in our mission.
We also resisted the urge to create revenue through other means. Donated cars. Thrift Stores. Product sales. Commercial real estate development. While some organizations may see income from these endeavors, they also often pull energy, resources and time away from the core mission.
I had no idea of the scale of work the Foundation does.
Kay Genschorck | Assistant Principal - Deer Creek Elementary School
The role of a responsible non-profit is to provide service that can't be given by government and would be difficult for the private sector to profit from.
The "I Love U Guys" Foundation relies in part on donations to help achieve our mission. Our programs impact millions of kids, hundreds of thousands of teachers, and tens of thousand first responders across the country. The unique way we do it is a case study in stewardship. Please consider us in your charitable giving.
In looking at charitable giving, The "I Love U Guys" Foundation strongly encourages you to evaluate how an organization utilizes funds. We agree with GuideStar, Charity Navigator, and the BBB Wise Giving Alliance that simply looking at "Overhead" may not be the best measurement of effectiveness. In fact, those organizations have penned an Open Letter to the donors of America about the "Myth of Overhead."
Without looking at outcomes, one might see the bulk of the Foundation's expenses come under the "Overhead" umbrella. Yet we're impacting millions of students, hundreds of thousands of educators, administrators and school staff, and tens of thousands of first responders.
One metric that we've developed takes last year's total revenue and applies it to the total number of schools and organizations that are using our programs this year. With that metric, every 50¢ the Foundation received in 2017 impacted 28 kids, 3 educators and a cop.
We have several different programs in thousands of schools across the country. The Standard Response Protocol and the Standard Reunification Method are our flagship programs and are in use in schools across North America.
We have also provided Platte Canyon High School graduates with a supplemental scholarship. At this point we've given over $55,000 to these remarkable students.Please consider us with your charitable giving.
Historically, donors often looked at a non-profit with a binary eye. How much is overhead? How much is going to programs? There is growing awareness that there may be other ways to look at it. In the case of The "I Love U Guys" Foundation, here's what QuickBooks says:
Holy smokes! Over 60% of expense is payroll! For the bulk of 2017, the Foundation employed 4 full time employees. At first blush $7,240 actually going to programs seems ludicrous. Especially when you think about our impact. We think that we can look at this through a different lens. The "Core Mission Support" lens.
In 2017, the Foundation developed and released expanded Standard Reunification Method materials. A significant level of effort performed in-house. We also worked with the Texas School Safety Center - customizing materials for Texas specific environments.
Our Executive Director traveled over 120 days, delivering over 80 keynotes, presentations, breakouts and workshops. While these were more often than not earned income opportunities, they were also mission driven. Training our programs and emboldening and motivating audiences to embrace this fuzzy concept of school or organization safety. Other staff performed dozens more trainings with the same outcomes.
With that in mind, we can allocate Payroll and Benefit expense to four categories:
If every action we take is viewed through the concept of Core Mission, then here's what expense allocation looks like:
You may have noticed our net income is minus $23,000. The Foundation's fiscal year is January 1st to December 31st, and we use cash accounting. What that means is that some earned income activities conducted in late 2017 may not be received until 2018. We had several trainings conducted in November and December where funds weren't received until January (or even February) 2018. Yet, expenses were incurred in 2017.
So, while QuickBooks reported an end of year loss using cash accounting, accrual accounting would have revealed a positive end-of-year. We continue to use cash accounting because it more accurately paints the current picture in time.
It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work.
It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.
This 3.5 day Symposium examines lessons learned from traumatic events and reveals new, preemptive school safety measures growing in multiple realms. The Symposium is designed to provide a number of takeaways that districts, departments and agencies can implement immediately. This is not open to the public, and attendees will be asked to show an agency or organization I.D. upon check-in.
Law enforcement, school personnel, victim advocates, mental health professionals, emergency and risk management staff, school safety teams and all first responders.
Presenters include school administrators, law enforcement, criminal justice and school security administrators who have been involved in the response and recovery to school violence and other events.Find Out More