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Explore BTI
Learn about BTI's history, mission, and latest news.

Advancement News

January 2017


Development Update:

BTI’s generous friends and supporters helped us to have a very successful fundraising year. We raised $237,728.35, or 97% of the 2017 goal of $246,000 – more than doubling the amount raised during 2016. Responses to the campaign are still coming in, and will count towards the 2017 goal if they were received after December 31.

The employee portion of the Unrestricted Futures campaign raised a whopping $17,900, with a few champions rising to the top. David Stern raised the most money, at $9,000, and Keith Hannon rallied the most donors. His combination of wit and creativity brought more than 20 new donors to the BTI fold. Three internal incentive levels were met, and now three local high school students will receive $1000 scholarships to college this spring.

Looking into the next month, we will forge ahead with plans for unveiling our new planned giving program. A February mailing will invite close friends of the Institute to join the W.B. Thompson Living Legacy Society, which will offer benefits for those who make planned gifts while they are still with us.

On February 6th, a BTI contingent will be visiting the Monell Institute to learn about their very successful corporate membership program, which is headed by board member Nancy Rawson. Itay Gonda will give a presentation to Monell researchers about his work in Jim Giovannoni’s lab working with flavors in melons and tomatoes. Stephanie Meyer, Eric Richards, Josh Clark, and Paul Debbie will learn about the corporate program, Monell’s other advancement work, and tech transfer.

Communications News

Keith Hannon continues to produce exciting content, which is perfect for sharing with your friends, family, and colleagues. Most recently, we’ve unveiled the first installment in a podcast series, BTI’s Science Bomb. This episode, Tech Transfer in basic research, features Paul Debbie discussing his role finding applications for basic research and how we need to work to communicate the importance of discovery science.  https://soundcloud.com/sciencebomb/bti-science-bomb-tech-transfer-in-basic-research

A new Science in Seconds video has also come out in the last few weeks, focusing on BTI/USDA-ARS researcher Michelle Cilia’s work with citrus greening disease. Dr. Cilia was recently recognized by President Obama with the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers for her work. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpMur1TZZoM

Alumni Relations:

Soon, there will be a call for nominations for the first ever Distinguished BTI Alumni Awards. There will be two awards; one for a late career alumni and one for early career. Additionally, a number of alumni and board members are participating in the new PGS Mentor Program. As of this writing, there are 15 mentees signed up, and 14 mentors. PGS is working to coordinate the program with the assistance of Kelli Monce in Advancement.

Upcoming Events

Boyce Thompson Center opening events, April 27-28

Keep an eye on your inbox for an invitation soon! The Yonkers Boyce Thompson Center renovations are coming to a head, and will be celebrated over the course of two days in April. Simone Development will be hosting a gala reception at 4:30 on April 27, and BTI staff, board, and special guests are also invited for a private breakfast at 9:30 the next morning. We are currently trying to arrange a private tour of Thompon’s mansion, Alder preceding the gala, and a private tour of Untermyer Gardens after the breakfast.

SAB/Board Dinner at the Coopers’ May 9th

NAC member Ron Cooper and his wife Shelley will be generously hosting a dinner at their lovely home for BTI’s SAB, board, key staff, and select donors. More details to come!

Spring Mingle, May 10th

This year we will be hosting a post board meeting Spring Mingle at BTI, which will feature music, lab tours, heavy appetizers, wine and an opportunity for BTI staff, researchers, board, and supporters to mingle throughout the building.

October 2016

As we work our way through October, we’re preparing for an exciting new end of the year “Unrestricted Futures” annual fund campaign, as well as the upcoming November board meetings and fall dinner. The Development and Communications teams are reaching the culmination points of a number of large projects, including a new donor database, the new BTI website, and working with designers to develop exhibits at the original BTI building in Yonkers, NY. At the same time, the new AD of Communications, Keith Hannon has also been working to build relationships with faculty and researchers while creating exciting new media content.

Philanthropic giving is currently at $174,110 towards the budgeted goal of $246,000, and much of this number is thanks to the generosity of our board members and National Advisory Council. Last year at this time, $20,000 had been raised and December closed with a total of $102,000 raised for the year. This leaves us with a goal of just about $72,000 to be raised by the end of December. This leaves us with a goal of just over $100,000 to be raised by the end of December. The team has worked with senior leadership, including board chair Laura Phillips, on developing exciting incentives for the Unrestricted Futures Campaign, and we will be reaching out to the board in the coming weeks to let you know how you can help to make the campaign a success, and help us to reach our goal despite a nearly half-year lapse in development leadership.

Based on suggestions from board and committee members, the team has been putting together some tools that will be helpful to all of us as we work together to raise awareness and support for the BTI mission.

BTI Ambassadors

If you are connected to Facebook, consider joining the BTI Ambassadors closed group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/1117254265029875/), a private location where we will provide ideas and tips on how to use social media to support and raise awareness for BTI’s mission.

Video and Streaming

Moving forward, video and streaming technologies are going to play an important role in BTI’s communications and outreach efforts. In the past month, two new video series have been started: Research Spotlights and BTI Science in Seconds. The research spotlights (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7w5yVUWsqxU)  are more in depth looks at a particular lab’s work, and the Science in Seconds (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFFT4lfbx7s)  are very short, easy to comprehend bytes of information that can be shared quickly and easily, even in the space of a conversation. Simply sharing these videos with your connections that might have an interest in BTI’s mission can go a long way in helping us on our journey to build philanthropic giving.

As suspected, the streaming of seminars from the BTI auditorium is proving to be an effective way of increasing our followers as well as the engagement of current followers. One recent seminar, Translating Scientific Innovation into Solutions for Global Health, by Dr. Chris Wilson, a Senior Advisor for the Global Health Program at the Gates Foundation had more than 4500 views, and brought us 40 new page followers in one day. Streaming technologies allow us to reach large audiences for very little cost, and will play a key role in future outreach initiatives. Be sure to follow BTI’s Facebook and Twitter accounts if you’d be interested in watching any of these streamed seminars, either live, or after the event. If a particular topic matches the interests of someone in your network, please consider sharing it with them.

Yonkers Update

The Yonkers exhibits are still underway, and are set to be publicly unveiled in the Spring of 2017. I will be taking a trip to Yonkers at the end of October, and will be taking some video and photographs of the building and exhibit progress, which will share with you and on social media. Simone Development, who is supporting the exhibit development, has a live cam on their website where you can watch the renovation progress. (http://www.earthcam.net/projects/simone/boycethompsoncenter/?cam=mpr)

Legacy Giving

Have you included or do you plan to include BTI in your estate planning? Please let us know! Usually when we receive a bequest, it comes completely out of the blue, and we’d like to change that, with your help! Contact Josh Clark, jmc657@cornell.edu. 

Cultivation Events

Fall Board Dinner, November 10, 2016

This year’s fall dinner will take place at the Meyer Seminar Room in Cornell’s Warren Hall. The theme will be BTI: Big Ideas, Talented People, and Innovative Research, and guests will enjoy a cocktail hour, live music, programming highlighting the “who” of BTI, and dinner. Guests will include the BTI board, select donors and stakeholders, and staff ambassadors.