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Scarsdale resident Grant Son has just launched an exciting new venture. It is an online fundraising program for schools called ClassClick.net that helps schools raise money through the sale of magazine subscriptions. Grant is very familiar with the world of school fundraising as he spent eight years at Time Inc. working with several fundraising companies.

Selling magazines can be an effective method for schools and organizations to raise money and putting the process online makes it easier for everyone. Grant’s company, ClassClick.net, has cut out the need for distributing catalogs, collecting checks, and students selling door to door; it can all be done online. They have developed web-based tools to enable school administrators and organizations to conduct productive and time efficient fundraisers and produced an online magazine store with the top 167 magazines.

At ClassClick.net 50% of sales revenue goes back to the organization and the process is simple.

Here is a short interview with entrepreneur Grant Son:

Tell us about your family:

My wife Lisa and I have lived in Scarsdale for 12 years and have a son Kyle, age 14, and a 12 year-old daughter named Kaitlyn. Both Lisa and I enjoy playing tennis and I met my current marketing partner, Brett Gerstenblatt when we both played on the Scarsdale Men's Tennis Team.

What is your professional background?

I have been in the magazine and online media business for almost 25 years including almost 20 years at Time Warner in their magazine company, as well as a stint as CEO of SchoolSports before it was sold to ESPN plus a few years at the NFL. I returned to the entrepreneurial world and last year I started Greater Good Ventures. Our first venture is the online fundraising program ClassClick.net.

What sparked the idea for ClassClick.net?

Selling magazines is a great way for schools to raise money. However, until now the process was too cumbersome and time consuming for teachers and students. We cut out the need for distributing catalogs, collecting checks, and students selling door to door –and put it all online.

We developed online tools to enable school administrators to conduct productive and time efficient fundraisers and produced an online magazine store where we offer the top 167 magazines. The subscription prices are all authorized by the magazine publishers and are much more attractive than prices at the newsstand.

How does Class Click's revenue stream to the fundraising group compare to traditional competitors?

Because we save money by not producing costly catalogs and order forms, we can give 50% back to the organization while other fundraisers give much less.

Is ClassClick.net only for schools or can other organizations use it to raise money as well?

The technology works for all non profit organizations. In fact our church just finished using ClassClick.net to raise money to build homes for orphans in Haiti.  We found that on average donors spent $60 and purchased three or four magazines. They found that the campaign was easy to run.

What are the main benefits to using Class Click over customary fundraisers such as a bake sale or a car wash?

There is growing push back against bake sales as fundraisers as child obesity has become the number one issue in schools across America. Many cities and states are no longer allowing bake sales or the sale of candy in schools. We are helping a school in New York City because their rules no longer allow bake sales.

Other fundraisers, such as car washes, are more labor intensive and take away time from either the classroom or the playing field.

How can people get started?

With three easy steps, parents can order a magazine, invite other friends and family to participate and purchase magazines. To check it out, go to http://www.classclick.net/

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The community came out in force to celebrate the 225th anniversary of the Scarsdale Public Schools and hear acclaimed journalists and residents Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn discuss their latest book, “Half the Sky – Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide.”

Though some students had been coerced into attending with an offer of credit from their history teachers, no doubt they left with a new sense of resolve. It was heartening to see representatives from a wide swath of Scarsdale – including former Board members, the school administration and parents whose children have long since graduated Scarsdale High School. There is clearly an appetite for intellectual stimulation and the turnout was a demonstration of pride in Scarsdale and the accomplishments of our residents.

The event opened with a concert from the high school wind ensemble and choir and giggles from the audience were audible as we sang “Happy Birthday” to Scarsdale accompanied by the band.

In his introduction of the speakers, School Superintendant Michael McGill told the group that “Half the Sky” poses a moral challenge to more fortunate readers and asked us to consider our obligation to respond to worldwide oppression and poverty.

WuDunn opened by offering to take the group on a journey and told us the story of a young woman in rural China. The girl lived in a remote town that was two hours away from the nearest road. WuDunn showed how a very small check had made a monumental difference in this girl’s life – just $13 had given her the chance to stay in school and from there she went onto college and ultimately became an accountant.

Ms. WuDunn continued by posing a question….she asked the group if they thought there were more men or women in the world. The majority of the audience thought there were more women, but in fact in the developing world there are many more men. Why? Because in countries with limited resources girls have a higher mortality rate …in fact in India girls ages 1-5 have a 50% greater mortality rate than boys. When food is scarce, boys are fed first and even within families there is discrimination against girls.

WuDunn’s passion and impressive command of the facts make her a powerful proponent for women around the world. She relayed that her grandmother had bound feet and in just two generations advocacy by women had ended this barbaric practice. WuDunn contended that the central challenge for this century is gender equality. As slavery was to the 19th century, and totalitarianism is to the 20th century, providing opportunities for women is the 21st century challenge.

In their book the authors argue that one of the best ways to fight poverty is to educate girls and bring them into the labor force. Educating women will yield other benefits such as preventing overpopulation and moderating spending patterns –and can transform the world’s women from being a problem to a solution.

Kristof then presented the stories of several more women who were empowered, saving their own lives and altering the fates of their children, extended families and friends. With a loan of just $65 a woman in Pakistan started an embroidery business, ultimately employing another 30 women and earning enough money to ensure her children’s education.

How can you make a difference and why should you care? Kristof urged the audience to travel outside their comfort zones, to learn and to listen. He believes that those who engage in public service become the beneficiaries, as helping others can be a source of personal fulfillment. He told the group of Scarsdalians , “the fact is that we have all won the lottery of life and we do have responsibilities.”

When asked where to begin, WuDunn suggested that we look for a cause about which we are passionate, choose a challenge and a region and then investigate to find out how we can make an impact.

Both Wudunn and Kristof are marvels themselves and together they are truly inspirational. They were the perfect pair to help the community celebrate 225 years of education and to challenge us to frame our future.

Thanks to the Scarsdale Teacher’s Institute, the Interdependence Institute and the Scarsdale Middle and High School PTA’s for making this enlightening evening possible.

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The Village Planning Board met on Wednesday February 24th to consider three projects – all of keen interest to community residents: First on the agenda was Citibabes. The newly opened family club for parents and children resides at 7 Popham Road, above the CVS on the Popham Road Bridge. Brian Dougherty, Citibabes Director of Sales and Operations went before the Planning Board to ask for permission to install branded awnings on the second floor windows of the building to increase the club’s visibility in the community.

He explained that the club occupies 10,000 square feet of space and that the company has made a $2 million investment in the facility. They have currently sold 200 memberships but hope to increase club usage by promoting the club with signage on window awnings.

As current village ordinances do not allow for awnings on second floor windows, the Board was concerned with creating a precedent that would permit all second story businesses throughout the village to add their name to window awnings. The Planning Board referred the application to the Board of Architectural Review for consideration.

Next up were the builders of Heathcote Manor – the nine home development currently going up on Weaver Street. Residents have expressed dismay about the imposing gray concrete wall that now borders the property. The developers were at the meeting to seek approval for stone veneer to cover the walls of the property. They proposed use of Connecticut fieldstone in natural hues to soften the walls’ appearance. They also let the Board know that they will be planting in front of the wall (where possible) and behind it, so that greenery could mask the facade and cascade over the top of the retaining walls. The Board approved the choice of stone.

Most controversial was the application of Heathcote Corners LLC for the construction of a 2-story 11,000 square foot building at the corner of Heathcote and Palmer Avenues. Developers arrived armed with the site plan, elevations and axonometric drawings to give the Board and the community a comprehensive look at the plan.

Last fall the developers sought to work with Balduccis to redesign their parking lot and integrate the Balduccis lot, entrances and exits with the new site. Unable to reach an agreement with Balduccis, Heathcote Corners LLC opted to submit an independent application for the site which includes two 5,500 square feet levels of above-ground retail space and two below-ground parking levels with 42 parking spaces.

Renderings showed a two story brick building with large doors centered on the corner where the gas station now stands. The entrance to the parking garage is next to the Balduccis lot. As only small trucks could access the below-grade parking lot for deliveries, the plans allow for a larger area for trucks to park on Heathcote Road. In response to past comments from the village, the ramps that will lead cars and small trucks to the parking spaces below have been widened to 12 feet.

A few members of the community and representatives from the Heathcote Five Corners Coalition were in attendance at the meeting. Questions arose about the use of a strip of village-owned land on Heathcote Road for truck parking and deliveries but the Board contended that this is currently done in the Village. Another resident asked how a fire could be put out in the sub-basement parking lot but was assured that the space would have sprinklers and hoses. The plans did not include details on signage and the Planning Board asked to see those as well as more technical specifications before final approval.

The Planning Board did appear to be inclined to approve the new building at their next meeting and it looks likely that developers will get the go ahead to move forward on this long-discussed project.

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Here's a statement from New York State Assemblywoman Paulin: "If the governor or his senior staff was involved in any way in a domestic violence case, it is a highly inappropriate use of power, and both must be held accountable. It takes strength, trust and courage for a victim to leave an abuser. The integrity of the system is paramount to encourage victims to come forward, without fear or intimidation.  As the former Executive Director of My Sisters' Place, an agency devoted to combating domestic violence, and now as an Assembly member who has passed multiple laws designed to help victims, I find this incident intolerable. "

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Congregation Kol Ami is trying something new. The women of the Westchester Jewish community are invited to join them for a Spa for the Soul, on Sunday March 7th from 11:30 am -4:00 pm at the synagogue on Soundview Avenue in White Plains. This is an afternoon for women to get in touch with themselves, take a break from the daily grind, and make themselves a top priority.

The day will be filled with meaningful and spiritual seminars, a gourmet luncheon, a spa, and a boutique hour.

Three extraordinary Jewish scholars will be featured on the program:

Rabbi Shira Milgrom of Congregation Kol Ami: Rabbi Milgrom reflects a new generation of rabbis who passionately creates extraordinary encounters with Jewish texts, rituals and traditions that merge the intimate and personal with the grand vision of Judaism and the Jewish people

Blu Greenberg
: Keynote speaker- a traditionally observant Jewish women who has become a prime voice for feminism in a Jewish context, is listed in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in World Jewry.

Rabbi Pamela Wax : Rabbi Wax is the spiritual Care Coordinator at Westchester Jewish Community Services where she runs a healing center and provides spiritual counseling. She is formerly the assistant director of the URJ Department of Adult Jewish Growth.

Participants will gather for a sumptuous luncheon and have a chance to hear the remarkable Blu Greenberg. Then the group will move to breakout sessions of their choice led by these three prolific teachers. The topics will include:

-What Does the Word Spirituality Mean to You? – Blue Greenberg - This session will focus on the spiritual content in each of us. A discussion of individual definitions of spirituality and what it means to each of us will be the central focus of the session.

-Spirituality for the Mind and Soul – Rabbi Shira Milgrom
This session will focus on constructing a personal spiritual practice that harmonizes contemporary liberal views with traditional wisdom. What is there for each of us within the reservoirs of Jewish wisdom and practice?

-Balancing on the Teeter-Totter: Spiritual Strategies for Living – Rabbi Pamela Wax: Life is about negotiating everyday curveballs. What can Judaism teach us about balance and equanimity so that we can stay centered and focused? A discussion on holding expectations and disappointments in proper perspective will be part of this break out session.

Spa is part of this too, with many sample experiences available to participants, including massage, eyebrow shaping, facials, make-up tips, nutrition counseling, chiropractic, acupuncture, reflexology, and more. There will also be a mini-boutique with products that appeal to our spiritual and psychical senses.

This is a unique program and a day to care for your body and soul. Women usually put themselves last, taking care of children, husbands, parents and jobs first. Spa for the Soul is about taking care of you.

To download a reservation form and get more information visit www.nykolami.org.
You can also contact the co-chairs via email with questions.

Please join us!
Jill Abraham- Jill.SA2@verizon.net
Lauri Carey- Lauricarey@hotmail.com

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