In March 1997, then 24-year-old restaurant doorman/substitute teacher, Greg Forbes Siegman, took two of his students for milkshakes. In response to what he perceived to be an act of racism by a customer sitting at the next table, Greg vowed to return with ten kids intead of two. He returned as promised (bringing seven kids, one parent and two corporate executives who paid for it all). The following week, encouraged by the response, he established The Brunch Bunch Mentoring Program. Each week, a group -- typically 5 to 10 students from all different backgrounds, and an equal number of adult professionals -- would meet for brunch and conversation at a local restaurant. The goal was to try and increase dialogue, break down racial and cultural barriers, teach the students about different colleges and careers (and let the students teach the adults about all kinds of things, too), and to demonstrate that young people can start and maintain something positive. More than 700 people attended at least one of the brunches -- many returning on a regular basis. Over the years, in addition to the young professionals who volunteered their time and provided financial assistance, the program received a great deal of support -- especially from the restaurant community. Media like Nation's Restaurant News, CBS and others highlighted the program's work. Good Morning America buried a Time Capsule which chronicled the first 100 weeks of the brunches. Public Leaders expressed their support as well. President Clinton, for instance, sent a letter recognizing the impact of the program when the Streak of weekly brunches reached three consecutive years.
THE 11-10-02 FOUNDATION ESTABLISHED
In July 1998, after the first 70 weeks or so of brunch, Greg (then 25 years old) established the nonprofit organization, The 11-10-02 Foundation. Named after his 30th birthday (November 10, 2002) and his belief young people can make a difference, 11-10-02 began overseeing the mentoring program, with the plan to eventually expand into providing grants and scholarships to students and the schools which they attend (if enough funds were raised).
THE 11-10-02 FOUNDATION UNDERWAY
In the beginning, The 11-10-02 Foundation had no significant resources of any kind. Old cereal boxes were used as filing cabinets, a lunchbox was used as a briefcase, and a rocking chair was used as a desk. Over time, word continued to spread, and slowly but surely, the donations began to arrive. In the years since, The 11-10-02 Foundation has received support from people of all ages and all backgrounds around the country as well as the support of major corporations. In addition to donating money, many people have donated time. In fact, to this day, nobody has ever taken a salary. The volunteers have ranged from student interns to young professionals to some of America's prominent business leaders, who have served on the Foundation's Scholarship Boards. As the money began to show up, The 11-10-02 Foundation was able to provide grants and scholarships. Grants have been given to a wide variety of schools and community-based nonprofit organizations for things such as books, supplies, computers, school shirts (for schools that could not previously afford any), Arts, Science, essay contests, musical instruments, mentoring programs, teacher recognition & support. Scholarships have been given to students with financial need, based on a variety of criteria such as work ethic, achievement, creativity and overcoming obstacles. Along the way, 11-10-02 as an organization and/or one or more of its volunteers as individuals have received some of the nation's highest civic honors including the Jefferson Award for Public Service and being named, as an organization, as one of America's Daily Point of Light.
THE 11-10-02 FOUNDATION KEEPS GOING
The 11-10-02 Foundation remains very -- very -- small, but it now funds grants and scholarships for students and schools around the country, ranging in size from $25 to $5000 (with the majority falling somewhere between $500 and $2500). 11-10-02 has funded grants and/or scholarships for elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, community colleges, technical colleges, colleges, universities, advanced degree programs, and nonprofit organizations around the USA The Foundation has helped students with interests in fields such as Architecture, Music, Math, Science, Art, Social Work, English, Civil Rights Law, Writing & Literature, Culinary Arts, Social Entrepreneurship, Medicine, Fire Fighting, Teaching and more.
To make a contribution to The 11-10-02 Foundation, click on Donate Now.