An Evening to Empower: Students Today, Leaders Tomorrow

The Brandon Foundation is gearing up for our 2nd dinner and auction at YOLO Event Center in Fort Wayne, Indiana on Friday, May 20th.The night will be an "Evening to Empower" our current and future students. The goal of the event is to raise $60,000 ($40,000 for our College Scholarship Fund and $20,000 for our program funding).

Because of the generosity of our supporters, The Brandon Foundation's students have shown tremendous improvements, both academically and socially. We are so proud of our scholars; almost half of our students made Honor Roll this past academic quarter. Our students have also been learning the importance of giving back to the community. One of our favorite community service projects this year was making Valentines with, and for, the patients at the Lutheran’s Children’sHospital. We met some amazing children who were so happy to have a break from their hospital beds. As we left, we passed out Valentines to people waiting in the lobby. The smiles and happiness were priceless! 

Would you consider helping our efforts? You can help make our event successful by donating an item, gift certificate, a service, or a monetary gift. Your tax-deductible contribution will make it possible for the children of The Brandon Foundation to continue to grow, pursue opportunities, and develop as future community leaders. We anticipate having over 200 attendees, and all business donors will be featured in our program. Any donation in support of The Brandon Foundation will be well-received; no gift is too small.

Donations may be mailed to:
The Brandon Foundation
P.O. Box 15966 Fort Wayne, IN  46885

If you have an item that needs to be picked up, please contact Rebecca Bormann at (260) 413-8483 or to make arrangements.

We want to extend an invitation for you, your family, and your friends to attend our "Evening to Empower." As guests, you will enjoy live music by The Todd Harrold Band and a live painting by Teresa Yarbrough during cocktail hour, socializing, formal dining, and a silent and live auction. We still have individual tickets for $50 and table sponsors (8 tickets) for $500 available; we would love to see you there!

To purchase tickets, please visit our event page.

Giving Tuesday: One Week Away!

Have you marked your calendar?

Set your alarm?

Added #GivingTuesday to your To-Do List?

December 1st is a day you won't want to miss! 

Since 2012, #GivingTuesday has inspired giving around the world after the infamous Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and this year, The Brandon Foundation is participating, too.

Our goal? Raise $1,000 on December 1st.
And, if we meet that goal? Miss Caty, our Founder, will be kissing a pig. 

Yes, a real pig.

Please, help us reach our goal by donating to The Brandon Foundation on December 1st. Save the date, and donate by clicking on the "Donate Now" button at the top of this webpage.

Can't donate on December 1st? Please share with friends, families, and businesses who may be interested. Any support, financial or otherwise, is appreciated.

There are many ways to get involved in #GivingTuesday. We encourage you to visit #GivingTuesday to learn more about how you can make a difference.

For our 30 days of thanks, today, Day 24, we are thankful for your giving. 

30 Days of Thanks: Day 9 & 10

Day 9: We are thankful for Delta Sigma Pi, the co-ed, professional, business fraternity at IPFW's Doermer School of Business.

Members of the Delta Sigma Pi have supported The Brandon Foundation by inviting us to some of their networking events. Through these events, we have met some amazing people who are as concerned with giving back to our community as we are! Delta Sigma Pi is always so positive and encouraging, and we are thankful to have a relationship with them.

Day 10: We are thankful for our guest speakers!

We have been so lucky to have so many wonderful people volunteer and make time to visit with our students. Sharing stories and experiences is a priceless gift we can give our children; knowing people have come from similar backgrounds and have overcome struggles to be successful is encouraging to our future leaders. Allowing our students to meet community leaders personally has been so beneficial to helping them set new, long-term goals We've had visitors from local businesses, lawyers, coaches, principals, non-profit organizations, and so many more. Each and every time, our students learn something new and meet another person who has inspired them to make good choices and become successful.

30 Days of Thanks: Day 7 & 8

Day 7 & 8: We are so very thankful for the teachers and parents of our students!

We are so thankful for the adults in our students' lives. Having the support of our students' teachers has been so beneficial, as we've been able to get reports about their progress in their classrooms. Additionally, parents are committed to getting their children to and from our program each week and support us during our community service projects.

Thank you, teachers and parents, for believing in The Brandon Foundation and for sharing your children with us!

30 Days of Thanks: Day 6

Day 6: We are thankful, grateful, and blessed by St. Henry's Community Center. Being located inside their church and community center has been such a blessing. St. Henry's has provided us with great classroom space, and, with the assistance of one of their employees, Paul, The Brandon Foundation is safe and clean for our students. We are so lucky to have Paul and St. Henry's in our lives; we will be forever grateful for being able to establish and grow our program within theirs. 

30 Days of Thanks: Day 4 & 5

Day 4: We're so thankful for our game room donations! After our students work hard all day, it is so nice for them to have a place to go to relax. Although there have been some serious competitions that have taken place in the game room between mentors and students, the foundation really enjoys the game room and is so grateful to have all the fun items we've received!
Day 5: We are thankful for Miss Teresa! Every week, Miss Teresa visits for our art program. The students really have a great time with her and have learned so much. Having Miss Teresa be a part of the foundation has been such a blessing; the kids love the creative outlet.

30 Days of Thanks: Day 3

Day 3: We are thankful for... Kava! 

Kava is our therapy dog and friend. Shortly after opening, he became a part of our program. Kava visits our students a few Mondays a month and loves listening to our kids read. Kava (and his owners!) is a huge supporter of The Brandon Foundation, and we are so lucky to have him in our lives. We celebrated his birthday this week, so the students sang to him:

Aaliyah reading to Kava.
Kava waiting patiently for a friend to read.
The birthday dog, Kava!

30 Days of Thanks: Day 2

Day 2: We are thankful for our young ladies' group, Proverbs 31. 

In September, we formed a group for our girls who are in or approaching high school. The group meets twice a month to discuss the challenges young ladies are faced with, and the obstacles they have to overcome, while becoming women. Founded on the epilogue of the noble woman, these ladies have already discussed many of the virtues and traits found in good, honorable women. Together, they have also talked about the importance of having good role models and being good role models. During these meetings, the young ladies are given an opportunity to open up, be themselves, and share their triumphs and their struggles. Our hope is that these young ladies continue to develop their confidence and share their voices with the people in their lives.

Some of the many topics of discussion for the Proverbs 31 Group.

Founder and Leader of Proverbs 31, Caty, and some of our young ladies.

30 Days of Thanks: Day 1

Throughout November, in honor of Thanksgiving, we decided to participate in the "30 Days of Thanks" project. We often have discussions with the students at the foundation about giving back and becoming the leaders we know they are. So many times, our struggles surface, but, amazingly, our students are quick to remember that their situations could always be worse. Their gratitude and determination impress us, and we want to encourage you to participate in this project with us as we give thanks...

Day 1: We are thankful for our Founder, Caty Holm.

In August 2013, The Brandon Foundation opened its doors, but the idea had been developing for years prior. After graduating from Indiana University, Bloomington (Go Hoosiers!), Caty spent her first year teaching Kindergarten in Carmel, Indiana. For the next 9 years of her ten year teaching career, she taught 2nd and 3rd grade at an inner city school in Indianapolis; it was there that she would meet Brandon and her life would change...

Caty moved back to Fort Wayne after taking a job with Fort Wayne Community Schools as a Reading Interventionist, where she worked for 2 1/2 years. Today, Caty works full time during the day as a Court Reporter for Holm Reporting, a company she owns with her dad, who also plays a vital role in the foundation; she can be found most evenings at the foundation or working on projects or with kids from the foundation.

We asked Caty what motivates her to work so hard, and she was quick to answer:
"I believe that ALL children deserve the opportunity to achieve their dreams no matter what their situation may look like or what their past looks like. My passion as an educator and a leader comes from my own struggles as a child and how I was able to turn my pain into the passion that enables me to live out my purpose and help these kids towards their destiny."

Clearly, our foundation is being guided by a strong leader. Her passion is contagious. If you haven't spent time with her - whether at the foundation or not, you're missing out. Within minutes of meeting Caty, you can see, hear, and feel her passion and vision for her students and for the foundation.

In order to help you get to know her and show you why we are so thankful for her, we asked her some more questions:

What is your favorite song right now? Caty said, "I have two. Anything by Tori Kelly, and 'Good Good Father,' by Chris Tomlin." (Check it out, and let her know what you think!)

Caty is always smiling, which is another thing we love about her, so we asked her what makes her laugh. She gave us a list: "My dad's corny jokes, conversations with our kids are always entertaining, and dinner with good friends always leaves me with sore cheeks from laughing!" 

We're so blessed to have her. This month, you will learn we are thankful for many things, but without Caty's passion, vision, and leadership, The Brandon Foundation would not be the same. Thank you, Caty, for being so selfless and for giving us your everything everyday. 

Have you heard? Miss Caty is kissing a pig!

Yes, you read that right! A friend of The Brandon Foundation has offered to share his pig with us if we can raise $1,000.00 on Giving Tuesday.

Giving Tuesday is an annual event - the national day of giving - dedicated to encouraging people all over the world to give back to their communities after celebrating Thanksgiving and before shopping for the holidays.

Last year, we asked our friends to consider The Brandon Foundation as a possible recipient of their donations, and this year, we would like to do the same... only, we've added an incentive. If we receive $1,000.00 in donations, we will record our fearless leader, Miss Caty, kissing a pig! As you can imagine, the students at the foundation are excited!

So, mark your calendars! Tuesday, December 1st is #GivingTuesday and every dollar helps us reach our small goal.

The results are in...

It was just three short months ago that we began our #BeADreamMaker sponsorship program, and we are excited to report that the results are in...

With the help of many individual, family, and corporate sponsorships,

The Brandon Foundation has raised $22,077.00!

While we were short of our goal, we are thrilled with the support we received. Not only was each one of our students sponsored, but we have enough funds to develop our College Scholarship Fund and enroll our students into new programs during the 2015-16 school year!

Over the next few weeks, our students will begin school, and they will start with all of their supplies loaded into a new backpack. Additionally, we have been doing some shoe shopping (who doesn't love a new pair of school shoes?). The students (and their families!) are happy and grateful; it's a wonderful thing to witness.

The Brandon Foundation will officially begin on Monday, August 24th. This year, we are adding two new students; we now have 12, who range in ages from 5-15 years old. We could still use some help with mentoring, so if you or someone you know may be interested in joining us two hours a week, please let us know. We love referrals and appreciate your help!

While we follow a new curriculum this year, we will begin our year with familiar extra-curricular actives such as art classes and visits from Kava (our dog friend). A new addition to our program will be a boys club and a girls club for our students in 4th grade and above, which will be lead by an adult who visits every other week. These clubs will allow students to discuss, discover, and dissect what it takes to grow up in a world that presents challenges. The leader of these groups have committed to becoming role models for our students and guiding discussions that revolve around maintaining our morals and virtues; we're so excited to see the impact this club will have on their lives.

A few of the board members did some planning earlier this week, and we cannot wait to share what will be happening each month at the foundation. Be sure to keep checking back for updates, especially after the first of the year when we begin discussing our next Silent Auction Event! As soon as the date is set, we promise to share so you can mark your calendars!

As always, we thank you for your support. Because of YOU, The Brandon Foundations is thriving! We're excited to begin our 3rd year, and we're blessed to be doing it with encouragement from our friends, sponsors, families, and community.

PS - We're looking into creating a lounge, seating area for our older students. Do you have a couch or chair you would like to donate? :)

15 more days...

It's hard to believe that tomorrow is July 1st!

Our deadline is fast approaching... Remember, we want to raise $25,000 by July 15th for our Dream Maker Sponsorships and The Brandon Foundation College Scholarships Fund.

Since beginning our Dream Maker Sponsorship and College Fund programs just 10 weeks ago, we have raised over $19,000! Can you help cross the finish line?


Strength, Patience, and Passion...

"Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world." -Harriet Tubman
The students at The Brandon Foundation are dreamers; they have the strength, the patience, and the passion that Harriet Tubman speaks of, but they still need some help. They need your help. Have you thought about supporting our Dream Maker Sponsorship program yet?
Each year, as we continue to grow, our expenses increase. Your Dream Maker Sponsorships provide financial support for kids in many areas: personal, academic, and extracurricular. Not to mention, we have students who are just years away from considering college options, and being able to provide financial support to them is important to us. Our students are working hard now to earn better opportunities for their futures; they are being taught the importance of continuing their education.
While we have received some support of our Dream Maker Sponsorships and our College Scholarship Fund, we are still $9,000 away from our goal of $25,000. Can you share $30 a month (just $270 a year!) to become a Dream Maker Sponsor? Do you have a business that would consider becoming a Corporate Dream Maker Sponsor? Remember, all donations are tax-deductible, and your money is staying local to help our future community leaders.
Many of our supporters have asked about our next auction or event as a fundraiser; we will not host another event until 2016. Our focus for 2015 is to develop funds in our Dream Maker and College Scholarship programs to assist our students daily and to allow these funds time to grow. Because of this, our Dream Maker Sponsorships - both on the personal and business level - are extremely vital to our growth and continued success.
Our goal is to raise $25,000 by July 15th. Today, we're less than one month away!
The quickest, easiest way to donate is to click "donate now" on our website; however, if you have any questions about what being a Dream Maker Sponsor entails, please do not hesitate to contact us:
Remember, "every great dream begins with a dreamer..."
Thank you for considering and supporting us!

Become a Dream Maker!

"A dream doesn't become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work." -Colin Powell

How can you help our dreams become reality? Become a  Dream Maker Sponsor

The Brandon Foundation is currently looking for 10 student sponsorships for the 2015-16 school year. By donating $30 a month (or $270 for the year), you will be assisting with the finances for students' needs for items or programs, such as: coats, hats, shoes, school supplies, extra-curricular activities, and a gift for their birthday and Christmas. Sponsors and donors will receive progress reports and correspondence from students and will be invited to events at The Brandon Foundation.
When we receive more than 10 sponsorships (1 for each student at the foundation), the surplus of donations from sponsorships will go directly into The Brandon Foundation’s College Scholarship Fund. Our goal is to raise $13,500 for our scholarship fund by July 15, 2015. Remember, your gift is tax-deductible. If you have any questions, please contact us via email:

Please know how much we appreciate your consideration and donations -- no matter the amount. Without support and donations from our friends, The Brandon Foundation would not be possible. Fundraising, such as the Dream Maker Sponsorship, helps sustain our organization, benefit our future leaders, and make us a strong presence in our community.

If you wish to donate today, please to submit electronically on our blog homepage or make checks payable to The Brandon Foundation and mail to:

The Brandon Foundation
c/o Caty Holm
PO Box 15966
Fort Wayne, IN  46885

Thank you!

Student Progress: Exciting News!

"Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success." -Henry Ford
"The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today. Let us move forward with strong and active faith." -Franklin D. Roosevelt
These quotes by famous men from our history talk about working together and moving forward, and that is exactly what we've been doing at The Brandon Foundation!
Since opening our doors in 2013, and more specifically during the 2014-15 school year, our founder has been working closely with our students' parents and teachers to collect data that supports our mission and the success of our program. Although this is only a portion of the things we do at The Brandon Foundation, we're very happy to share the following:
Student Behavior
  • increased confidence in school work
  • increase in overall leadership potential
  • increase in community awareness by participating service projects
  • more likely to set, and achieve, short and long term goals
  • decrease in student referrals and disciplinary issues at school
Student Academics
  • increase in reading fluency and comprehension scores
  • increase in math computation scores
  • 60% of our students have a 3.0 or higher
  • 40% of our students have a 4.0 or higher

It's hard to believe we're almost to the end of our second year, and these students have already achieved so many amazing accomplishments! We're excited to begin wrapping up our year and planning for the 2015-16 school year.




"You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, and how you can still come out of it." -- Maya Angelou

Reading the words of the famous Maya Angelou inspires us to keep moving forward, even when we do not think we have it in us to take another step... many of us can relate to this feeling. 

So, what got you through?  

Perseverance is the character trait for February, and the students at the foundation are not discussing it lightly. Many of our students have had to overcome a challenge already in their lives -- challenges that would be difficult for adults. Yet, here they are... persevering in spite of the odds against them.

They know what perseverance means, and they know exactly how to handle it:

Look for God. Find Him in that moment when you need him most. He will be there.

"I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." -- Philippians 4:13

Today, we honor...

Despite not being in session today in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we still take time to reflect on the many wonderful things Dr. King, Jr. did for our country. His many words of wisdom still guide us today and are so important to our students:

"If you can't fly, then run. If you can't run, then walk. If you can't walk, then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward."

"Life's most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?"

"The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character -- that is the goal of true education."

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

And, arguably his most well-known words...

"I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."

New Year, New Choices...

We got right back to work this week after having two weeks off! Everyone was glad to be back and ready to talk about their goals for 2015. Students were given time to consider what their new goals would be and were able to compare their new goals to last year's. The start of a new year is a great time to reflect. Consider your own goals for this year. How have your goals changed from last year's?

Our character trait for January is responsibility, and along with celebrating the new year, our students are being asked to make new choices. When we talk about their responsibility when making choices, we focus on making good choices for ourselves and for our community. To encourage responsibility, each student at The Brandon Foundation is being given a special task to complete during our program; they're learning how to be trusted with responsibilities that foster good choices. Making good choices can be challenging, but our students are learning that making good choices is a part of growing up and becoming responsible.

On the 17th of January, we are going to volunteer at the SPCA. We have several animal lovers in our program, so we're excited to see how much they enjoy working with and helping the animals. Be sure to check our Facebook page for updates on this event, as well as upcoming events.

We will also be continuing our basketball program with Always 100 and our reading with Kava the dog every other Monday. The students love both of these programs and have really built some incredible relationships by participating in both!

Join our students in learning about responsibility and what it takes to "cross the line" by watching this short video here. Will you "cross the line," too?