Read All About It – #TechXOradio Interview’s BETF, Executive Director, Wayne Hicks (Parts 3 & 4)

Part 3
Questions [ Jacqueline]:  Can you help listeners understand the relationship between BDPA and BETF?  And what’s the difference between paying membership dues to BDPA and making a donation to BETF?
Answer [Wayne]: It’s quite common that you’ll have a differentiation between an association or corporate and a foundation.  Just like IBM has a company that builds the boxes and does what they do as a business, but they have the IBM Foundation that takes care of their scholarships and philanthropy.  The same with the Ford Company that makes cars and the Ford Foundation.
So in our case, the BDPA association was founded by Earl Pace and David Wemberly back in the mid 1970’s, it’s purpose was to put on program and services to uplift minorities in the IT industry.  Fast forward to 1992 and a non-profit association has limited volunteer man power, you want those volunteers focused on delivering the programs and services not focused on government regulation related to financials related to the IRS status of being a 501C3 non profit.  So in 1992, the decision was made to create BETF.  BETF does not put on any programs.  It’s only purpose is to get “funding”, the money, for those programs for the local chapters and the national BDPA chapter.
We do that by writing grants.  We also help local chapters find funding sources and help them write grants. We raise money for BDPA programs at local and national level by writing grants. We do it by using online platforms like
We do it through Payroll Deduction.  Any one listening to (or reading) this, can go to your payroll department on your job and talk to HR and tell them you want a payroll deduction to go to BETF.  The money would go to BETF and you can allocate that the money benefit a specific chapter.
There are some chapters that’s how they are getting their team of High School Students to national conference is through payroll deductions.
That’s the basic difference between BDPA and BETF:  The association which is the 46 chapters put on programs.  The foundation raises money.  This week we sent a $10K check to our Dallas chapter so their High School Team can travel to the National Convention.  This week we sent a $7,300 check to the Cincinnati chapter so their team can travel to Nationals and students can participate in the mobile app competition.
We raise money and then give it out.  We write grants.  We recently receive a $15K grant award from Christ Community Cathedral and another $15K from Proctor and Gamble.
We are working with Oracle, Monsanto, Eli Lilly, State Farm, Blue Cross Blue Shield and next month there will come to the conference with Zero and leave with $129,000 in college scholarship money.
Question [David] : There is a link to the United Way on the front page of – Can you elaborate on how United Way works and the affiliation with BETF?
Answer [Wayne]: In every county in the United State and every county works a little different. So bi-annually you have to go country by county to renew your application to be a part of receiving donations through payroll pledges that they will accept money for.
But you can do your pledge without going to your HR department. You can do your own payroll pledge through the link on our website using your credit card.  There was a young man from
Recently a young man from Little Rock Arkansas, there isn’t even a chapter in Little Rock but he wanted to donate to what we were doing, so he did a payroll deduction for $50 to come out of his check monthly.  That’s the kind of individual commitment we need.  And that type of donation is different from your BDPA membership dues.
You pay your membership so you can benefit from the programs and so you can grow.  When you make a donation you do it so others can grow and benefit so that others can get the same type of benefit that you received.
Question [Jacqueline] – The funds that BETF raises potentially can help all the chapters, but small chapters with smaller numbers especially can benefit.  It kind of levels the playing field, is that true?
Answer [Wayne] – You have that right but every chapter regardless of your size should take advantage of the all the resources available to you. There is expertise on the board of directors and expertise that I as the executive director have regarding fund raising.  We know how to raising money.  The local chapters members are not experts in fund-raising, they are used to doing STEM training and STEM programs.  So take advantage of our expertise at the Foundation, work with your Foundation to raise money for your chapter.
You have a full year to raise money for your 2015 programs. So make a call TODAY to start working with them.
One thing that is important, when you give money to the foundation it is tax-deductible .  When you give to the association it is not.
And I want to emphasize – Anyone that gives to the foundation you can designate that money to go to the chapter of your choice.
The other thing we are seeing for the first time,  one of the foundation members of BDPA, she was in the room in the 70’s with Earl Pace and David Wembley.  She called me earlier this year to get some information because she was going to make a “legacy request”, she was changing her last will and testament to include part of her legacy to go to BDPA programs and serves through BETF.
I anticipate over time the BDPA and BETF websites will become seamless.  Starting In 2015, it’s my understanding from the current President and Vice President, that all BDPA scholarships will come through BETF.
All of the BDPA/BETF are joint efforts.  Even our twitter accounts are joint. @BDPA
The foundation annual meeting takes place on Thursday in Indianapolis and it’s open to the public.
Part 4
Question [Jacqueline]:  Tell us about your experience at some of the past conferences and what you are looking forward to at this years conference?
Answer [Wayne]: My first conference was in Chicago I believe that was 1988, the most exciting thing was the New York Chapter.  Their chapter was the High School Computer Competition Winner and they won the chapter of the year.  Their Chapter President was so excited to take home both those honors.  His name was Michael Robinson . Michael Robinson went on and is now one of the highest ranking black executives at Microsoft. Just an outstanding gentlemen all around.
I met wonderful people at the workshops and board meetings. The most exciting speaker was May Jamison, she was first African-American Astronaut.  She was our speaker at the 2004 Conference in Los Angeles, she just blew me away.  Just a few years before she had been in outer space, she had her PhD, looking to get more women in STEM.
Dr Randal Pinkett we’ve had before and he’ll be at our conference in Indianapolis.  He was the season 4 winner of Donald Trumps Apprentice Show.  Just outstanding speakers.  And through the conference I met Bob Blackwell is a retired IBM executive, he started Blackwell Consulting Services.  It was a company that made to the Black Enterprise Top 100 for a number of years.  Bob came to me and said you give an awful lot of recognition to a lot of Corporate 100 Companies but you don’t give as much of recognition to black owned IT companies that are BDPA sponsors.  Bob pointed out, that he hires more black IT employees and interns, so you need to change your thinking.  So when I became the national president, I had Bob as our Keynote speaker.  And he now has a book out about his life.
Whether these young people win or lose, these conference for some young people this is their first time being on a plane, being away from home.  They are walking around wearing suits and ties.  It is an experience that you can’t forget.  If you are black, you need to plan your vacation time around this conference, plan your conversation with your management.  These are life altering, life changing events.
Questions [Jacqueline]  On the BETF website there is a drop down with several scholarships listed including Scholarship Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Dr. Jesse Bemley, Eli Lilly, Monsantos Scholarships.  Is it too late to apply and how do the apply for them for next year?
Answer [Wayne]  The longest running scholarship is the  Dr. Jesse Bemley Scholarships  , that goes to the top performing high school computer competition team member. We’ve been giving away money since the early 1990’s when the foundation was formed.  We’ve given away hundreds of thousands of dollars.  You almost can’t name a college in America that a Bemley Scholar hasn’t attended or attending. We will be giving out $25,000 dollars to participants of the HS computer competition next week.  The Bemley Scholarship is entirely funded by individual members of BDPA.  It will only grow to the extent that we invest in our young people through that scholarship.
The other scholarships are corporate scholarships (and some that will be added shortly).  One of the corporate scholarships is from Eli Lilly.  8 years ago made a commitment that they will give out of 2 – 4 scholarships every year.  They did it out of corporate self-interest, they want to hire some the students that they saw every year at the conference.  Half are Nationwide scholarship, the other half are for Indiana based students who go to be interns for Eli Lilly. The process has worked superbly for them.  Several full-time employees were formerly college students who school was partially paid by Eli Lilly and now they are working there.  This year they have doubled the scholarship amount this year, there will be 2 – $5000 scholarships present at the National Conference.
Monsanto is a multi-national agricultural company based in Saint Louis, they came to the BDPA conference saw what Eli LIlly was doing and they decided to do it.  They sponsor four scholarships. Two nation wide and Two are for St. Louis based students that they want to bring on as interns.
Blue Cross/Blue Shield scholarships this is the first year.  They are only accepting applications from high school students and their accepting applications just until July 31st.
The Oracle is putting aside $30,000 for students participating in the variety of programs, every chapter has the opportunity to nominate a student.
Johnson and Johnson are giving out $40,000 for participants in the IT Showcase.  They are a big sponsor of the IT Showcase.
State Farm, is focusing this year on students working on mobile application, both high school and college students.  These students have been trained in mobile app development and security.
We also encourage our members to, think about them and ask yourself can you give something in support of the Bemley scholarship.
Question [Jacqueline] How does an individual approach their organization to get involved and to donate to BDPA?  And how do I get the company I work for to reach out and to connect with you (Wayne)?
 Answer [Wayne] Have you company reach out and experience BDPA people, attend an event.  I offer myself as the executive director of the foundation and as the corporate sales director, I am comfortable having a conversation with corporate executives at any level about BDPA program,  they can reach me by email  telephone 513-284-4968 or wayne.hicks or  We will talk and strategize how they can support BDPA at a corporate or individual level.
At the end of the day,  if really enjoy, have a passion, see the benefit and you see the good works and intrinsic value, you’ve got to share it.  Share it with your cube mate and your manager.  You should not be sneaking off to the conference, you should share it with your manager  and say “I want to get my company to pay for this technical training, pdu credits and certifications”.  “I want the company to pay for my BDPA participation because it is making me a better employee”.
There are 700 paid registrants, at the conference and another 1500 that will walk through the career fair,  you should write a trip report when you get back to work.  Tell your employer, I learned these things at the conference, I met potential clients and met potential customer.  I want to make sure our company is more engaged for the 2015 Conference in Washington D.C.
 It comes down to sharing what you feel good about and then bringing in some expertise to close the deal.
 Question [David]   Before we wrap up, is there anyone else you would like to acknowledge for helping making BETF what it is today?
 Answer [Wayne] At the end of the day, it’s the locally and nationally member that bring the quality programs, all we are doing is shining the light on the program and shining a light on the young people.  I’m very pleased with our chairman of the board, Earl Pace;  I’m very pleased with Dr. Craig Brown reaching out in a major way and closing the gap and making it seamless between BDPA and BETF.  I’m a very happy person, I very content with the local level, national level and the foundation.

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