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BHEF Creates Alumni Network For BHUSD

Beverly High is this much closer to acquiring a true alumni network, thanks to Beverly Hills Education Foundation.

BHEF will fund the first three years of the Beverly Hills Unified School District Alumni network, a project that will capitalize on a full fledged Web portal, social media and printed directories modeled after those used by colleges and universities.

“We believe that this is a tremendous gift for the district that may be utilized by many in our school community for a variety of purposes,” said Dev Hankin, CEO of BHEF. “Obviously, as a fundraising organization, we hope to create a revenue stream of invested alumni but many BHUSD groups will also utilize the information to continue valuable networks and bonds. BHEF wants to help the district and existing alumni and affinity groups within our school community to create a thriving network of BHUSD alumni.”

The alumni network will be specifically for Beverly graduates and offer a forum for former students to network, reconnect and eventually post resumes. The site will house personal pages, class and club pages, event calendars, reunion organization tools, credit card processing for events and charitable donations, alum mentor volunteering, surveys and email lists.  

The project began in 2002 with the authorization of then superintendent Gwen Gross. Due to funding concerns, the project lost steam. Resident and BHEF board member AJ Wilmer has since taken the reigns and successfully brought the network to fruition, negotiating deals and compiling massive amounts of data.

Operated by outside company HarrisConnect, the BHUSD Alumni Network will be fully owned by the district, with all expenses associated with operation gifted by BHEF over the next three years. The current database of alumni includes more than 46,000 names dating as far back as 1929. HarrisConnect is currently in the process of doing data searches for email, postal addresses and phone numbers. Wilmer believes that the result will be a database containing more than 25,000 valid contacts.  

“I think, if done right, this can ensure our financial future,” said BHUSD board member Steven Fenton. “There is no reason why we can’t build a serious endowment from this alumni initiative.”

“In the long run, this can generate a lot of money,” said Wilmer. “But what we really need to do is create a community because we have no idea how well we can fundraiser from alumni. My gut feeling is that we can fundraiser like a university because of the loyalty people feel to our high school.”

Wilmer expects the printed directory to be available in early 2010, with the online portions to go live shortly thereafter.

The BHUSD Alumni Network will be housed at http://alum.bhusd.net. For more information or to contribute to the list, email info@alum.bhusd.net or call 310-551-5100 ext. 2345.

apeabody@bhcourier.com

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