Volunteering at Binc

I have been volunteering at the Binc Foundation for almost a year. What a year it has been! I visit the Binc office for a few hours a week and do my best to help Pam, Kit, and Alison update the website, figure out a social media plan, and anything else they need me to do.

Why do I volunteer at Binc? I probably should say something noble like “I get to help Binc assist booksellers in need” or “I am helping to carry on the legacy of Borders”. Truthfully, I volunteer for those reasons and also because it is a lot of fun. I enjoy working with Pam, Kit and Alison who are incredibly driven and dedicated to Binc’s mission, which leads them to give me interesting and challenging tasks to complete. I’m learning tons about social media, creating quality website content, blogging, non-profit business and so much more. I helped to celebrate surviving the Zombie Apocalypse! and watched a Zombie Flash Mob invade Arbor Brewing Company in downtown Ann Arbor (I don’t think many people can say that about their volunteering experiences). I also had the opportunity to take pictures of the Borders “B” in various places around Ann Arbor to promote the auction of the letters from the Borders Store 01 sign.

books resized

I’m grateful that I have been given the opportunity to volunteer at the Foundation. Not only am I getting a chance to learn more about social media and marketing (and Zombies), but more importantly, I’m also helping Binc with their mission to assist booksellers in need.

If you are interested in volunteering at the Binc Foundation please check out the Get Involved page or contact info@bincfoundation.org

Post by Penny Johnson, member of the Marketing & Communications Committee

Selling on eBay for Binc

Do you sell on eBay? If so, then you can help raise money for Binc to assist booksellers in need, while you sell through eBay Giving Works. Simply follow the easy steps on the eBay Giving Works site to designate a percentage of the sale of an item to be donated to Binc.

ebay_blog_imageYour merchandise will be tagged as a charitable sale and show up on our branded Giving Work page as well as the general categories you choose. It has been shown that listings for a charity get more attention and often sell for more. As an added bonus, when your listing sells, eBay will credit back a portion of the seller fees!

The Binc Foundation will continue to list items on our Giving Works page and we’d like to have you join us.

Not a seller, but definitely a buyer? Be sure to bookmark our page and check back often.

Medical Recovery Services: Helping Binc Reduce Medical Bills

In just over two years of working with Medical Recovery Services (MRS), Binc has been able to help make a substantial difference in the lives of 20 bookstore employees and their families. The MRS staff provides professional and detailed support to advocate for the best care at the lowest prices before, during or after a medical illness.


Many of the bookstore employees requesting assistance with medical bills have come to Binc after serious medical procedures, such as a knee replacement, heart surgery and even chemotherapy. These bookstore employees who were experiencing extreme financial hardship came to us with a total of $78,000 in medical debt and MRS successfully negotiated these bills down to $34,500. with the 56% total savings negotiated by MRS, Binc was able to eliminate all of the outstanding bills.

MRS services and support has helped Binc be good stewards of the dollars generously donated by bookstore employees, bookstore owners, publishers and friends of the Foundation. If you or someone you know is dealing with a medical illness that has caused a financial hardship MRS is a great resource. If you are a bookstore employee experiencing a medical illness please contact Binc to see how we can help.

Where do you get your book industry news?

Binc is searching for the best avenues for reaching book store owners, booksellers, book store lovers and other would-be supporters. Our biggest challenge continues to be finding book store employees who are having an unexpected emergency financial crisis and getting them the assistance the desperately need.

To this end we are asking you for assistance. Please take a few minutes to fill out this survey, letting us know where you go for book industry information. What are the companies, publications, blogs, social media pages/groups we should be in contact with? In this internet age, there are hundreds of outlets and you can help us decide the best places to focus our outreach.

We realize that you are often asked to take surveys and your time is valuable, so we have added in a small bribe. Two people who complete the survey will be chosen at random to receive a gift card from Target or Whole Foods. Please fill out the survey by March 10th to be entered for the drawing.

Thank you in advance for helping the Binc Foundation focus our efforts to find those booksellers who need our help.

Borders Signage Auction a Big Hit

Borders Signage Auction a Big Hit

We were blown away with the response to our first-ever Charity Auction on eBay. The signage letters from the outside of the Borders flagship store in Ann Arbor were clearly much more sought after than we had imagined. Book people started the bidding and bid fast and furious to the bitter end, resulting in more than $3900 being raised to date. Check out our eBay page for additional letters still on the auction block. We are listing items regularly, so check often!

 binc letters

The letters are finding new homes all over the country. A children’s book author in Massachusetts purchased the word BOOKS, and we hope it will bring both joy and inspiration. A woman in New York purchased a letter for her Borders Alum brother and it is gracing his Ann Arbor home. A husband from New Jersey wrote “My wife worked for Borders for almost 12 years so rest assured it is going to a good book loving home.” We hope to hear where all the letters end up, follow us on Facebook to see the results.

We owe a debt of gratitude to the building owners, Malcolm Properties, LLC. Willingness to help and quick action on the part of the owners and demolition crew rescued these letters from the dumpster and allowed them to be used for a good cause. All the proceeds will benefit the programs of the Binc Foundation in support of booksellers.

We send a huge “thank you” to all who participated (and continue to participate) in the auction. We know that the winners will treasure their little piece of Borders history.

Binc 2013 Scholarship Program to award up to $100,000

2013 marks a new chapter for the Binc higher education scholarship program. Starting on February 18th, 2013 the program is open to all bookstore employees and their dependents in the United States that have at least one year of service in a bricks and mortar bookshop. The program for 2013 remains open to former Borders employees and their dependents too.

The 2013 program which runs through April 18th, 2013 will again offer up to $100,000 in scholarship awards. Binc will offer up to five $5,000 honor scholar awards and up to thirty $2,500 scholar awards.

This year Binc has simplified the online application making it easier than ever before. To apply, an applicant simply logs on to the Binc scholarship website and registers for a username and password. Once an applicant has registered there are seven pages that need to be completed to submit your application.

Page 1: Student information

Page 2: Bookstore employee or former Borders associate information

Page 3: Current college or university enrollment information

Page 4: Work experience

Page 5: Activities, Awards and Honors

Page 6: Goal statement

Page 7: Household financial information (FAFSA)

Since inception the Scholarship Program has awarded over $1M to booksellers pursuing post-secondary studies at accredited schools.

Don’t miss your chance, apply for a scholarship today!

Needymeds – Great resource for affordable medical care information

NeedyMeds is a great non-profit resource website; it is one of my go-to websites for grant recipients needing help with medical bills. Their mission is to help “people in need find assistance programs to help them afford their medications and costs related to health care.”

Their website is packed with great information – really packed! When navigating NeedyMeds, go slowly and give yourself time to take it all in. I highly recommend starting your journey on Needymeds website homepage and giving yourself at least 30 minutes to explore that page completely. Once you are familiar with the homepage sidebar and have signed up to receive the NeedyMeds drug discount card, it is time to delve deeper into the site. I recommend visiting the diagnosis-based assistance page if you need help with a specific diagnosis or the free/Low-cost/sliding-scale clinics to find an affordable care center near you.

Over the course of the year, I will periodically share my helpful hints about the programs & services of NeedyMeds and other national organizations that you might find useful in your daily life.

Stay tuned and learn about more great websites, charitable organizations and state-run programs.

Bid on a Piece of History

On New Year’s Eve the outdoor signage was removed from Borders flagship store in Ann Arbor, MI, marking a sad, but inevitable milestone in the lives of many book lovers. Because of the generosity of Malcolm Properties, LLC, the building owners, the letters spelling BORDERS BOOKS & MUSIC have been donated to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation to use in fundraising efforts. All the money raised will go toward Foundation programs to assist book store employees across the country with emergency financial grants.

Starting January 21 until January 31 you can bid on these letters through an online eBay charity auction. The 2-foot tall metal and plexi-glass letters are waiting to adorn your bookshelf, wall, cupboard, indoors or out – wherever you want a little fun. Whether you want one of the distinctive “B”s, your initials, a favorite letter, or enough letters to spell out a special word or name be sure to bid early and often!

Pam, Alison & Kit Look Back on Binc’s First Year

During this Holiday season we are looking back on what made this year memorable. We want to share why we are proud of Binc with our great supporters, volunteers & all book people.

Pam’s List

1. Still helping booksellers in need. Our vision to expand to the entire book industry is beginning to be realized as grants are issued to booksellers across the country.

2. Providing a legacy of Borders/Waldenbooks. The generosity of Borders and Waldenbooks alumni has allowed us to expand our mission and become “book people helping book people.”

3. Efforts at improving awareness are starting to pay off and take hold industry wide. We attended many events from CAMEX to BEA to the fall IBA tradeshows and the booksellers we’ve met along the way are beginning to help us spread the word about the Foundation.

4. Accomplishing so many of our goals and checking them off our ‘to do’ list.

Pam's To Do list.
Pam’s To Do list.

5. Getting to work with amazing volunteers, board members, interns, and staff. I have no doubt that the people who support Binc are the reason we have achieved so much this past year. Thanks to each person who has contributed to Binc through volunteering at an event, donating, sharing our social media posts, liking us on Facebook and letting booksellers know we are here to help.

Alison’s List

1. Helping bookstore employees after Superstorm Sandy. After Sandy made landfall in NYC, Binc very quickly contacted bookstores in the impacted areas of New York, New Jersey & Connecticut. In total Binc assisted 10 bookstore employees who needed help paying bills after the storm due to loss of work for a week or more.

2. Meeting Jennifer Keeley a former Borders associate at the Heartland Fall Forum. It was Jennifer’s suggestion to the Midwest & Great Lakes IBAs, that Binc be the recipient of their silent auction fundraiser, raising over $3,000!

3. Continuing to support former Borders employees in 2013 who are experiencing financial hardships.

4. Giving my first interview for Binc. I spoke with with Melville House in the the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy and taught them about Binc. They helped us spread the word through their MobyLives! blog. Relief for Booksellers in Need.

5. Working with the Program Committee to make great changes for the 2013 Scholarship program. The 2013 Binc Foundation Scholarship Program will open February 2013 and will be open to former Borders associates & all bookstore employees, operators & their dependents. If you are planning to seek higher education in the coming year we hope you will apply!

Kit’s List

1. Sharing the idea of an industry wide foundation with others. The reactions range from disbelief to amazement to excitement. Even a few whoops of joy from former Borders folks as they find out that the Foundation lives on!

2. Creating office policies & procedures from scratch. Payroll, benefits, employee handbook, accounting, IT/phone systems and more– it was all learned and implemented.

3. Continuing to be good stewards of our donations. We want our supporters to always know that their donations are efficiently used to help book store employees in their time of greatest need.

4. Expanding our fundraising to include community and industry supporters. We reinvented our fundraising model to encompass a larger audience. Through the Big House Big Heart Run, our wildly successful Zombie Apocalypse!, and various smaller events, we raised over $20K. Many thanks to all the volunteers who made this possible. Click here to donate through our online option!

5. Going from 0 to 450+ in Social Media. One year ago we barely understood social media – now in addition to our new website and blog, we have a Facebook page, LinkedIn group and a Twitter feed. Be sure to follow them all!

We are all very proud to be a part of the bookselling community and wish you all a joyous and safe holiday season.

Best Wishes,

Pam, Kit & Alison

Making Room for Giving Tuesday

We have a day for giving thanks. We have two for getting deals….Wouldn’t it be great to have a day for giving back?

On Tuesday November 27, 2012 charities, families, businesses and individuals are coming together to transform the way people think about, talk about and participate in the giving season.

It’s a simple idea. Find a way for your family, your community, your company or your organization to join in acts of giving. Tell everyone you can about what you are doing and why it matters. Join a national celebration of our great tradition of generosity.

And together we’ll create ways to give more, give better and give smarter.

New York’s 92nd Street Y was the catalyst and incubator for #GivingTuesday, joined by the United Nations Foundation and an amazing team of influencers all offering their ideas, contacts and wisdom to help shape and improve the concept.

But what really matters is YOU. #GivingTuesday relies on people everywhere playing their part to make it a real success.

Find out more about Giving Tuesday here.

Click here to find out how you can give to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation to help support booksellers in need.