At One, Bauer Fund Raises Cash, Awareness, Random Acts of Kindness

New York, N.Y.  One year ago this week, my friend and high school classmate informed me that his son had taken his own life. Not the call I wanted to get – and sure as hell not the call he wanted to make. With news that just makes the world stand still. News that alters lives for generations.

The father, Dr. William M. Bauer, is a professor of education at Marietta College in Ohio where I grew up. His son, Grant Bauer, was a graduate of Marietta College. My own son Mathew is about the same age.

IMG_2120The ever-optimistic Grant Bauer. Photo: The Stewardship Report.

Bill and I talked. And talked. Cried some. Talked some more. How can sense be made out of something so senseless? How could Bill and his family move forward? What could be done to try to help the next son or daughter before they hurt themselves?

On September 5 of last year, on the anniversary of Grant’s death, The J. Luce Foundation announced the launch of The Bauer Fund, in honor and memory of Grant Michael Bauer, son of Bill, his mother Mary Ella, and sister Madison. I wrote about it then for The Huffington Post (Impacted by Suicide, Our Foundation Opens Fund to Help).

IMG_2122Siblings Maddie and Grant Bauer. Photo: The Stewardship Report.

Grant was a really kind and caring person. He would always do what he can to help a person with a disability, listen to a person in need and use the last of his money to pay for others’ meals. Grant graduated from Marietta College in 2012 with a degree in Mass Media. He was also a member of Delta Tau Delta fraternity at the college.

IMG_2119Dr. William Bauer, a professor of education at Marietta College, with son Grant.

The focus of The Bauer Fund is to provide microgrants, scholarships, stipends or research monies to assist young adults with mental health issues or developmental delays. The program also provides impetus for promoting kindness around the world by assisting people with endeavors to make the world a better place. About $40,000 was raised in its first year.

Award recipients will be announced on GRANT Day, which is on September 5th each year. “Grant” Day stands for “Genuine Respectful Actions Never Terminate.” This day is recognized with Random Acts of Kindness (RAK’s), which began Labor Day Weekend in 2015. Grant Week is celebrated from September 5th until the 12th. During this time, everyone is encouraged to perform Random Acts of Kindness and to share them with others to spread the message.

September 5th is also appropriately designated by the United Nations as International Day of Charity, a day when the Secretary-General calls on people everywhere to act charitably in the face of human suffering.

14193778_845589430603_2078568751_nGrant Bauer. Photo: The Stewardship Report.

Last year, Bill Bauer requested his friends to perform Random Acts of Kindnesses over Labor Day Weekend 2015. The results were extremely successful. Over 5,000 acts were recorded during Grant Week. Some examples of these can be found below:

  1. Took my elderly neighbor a meal. She was so happy said she hadn’t had a home cooked meal in a long time!
  2. Helped an obviously physically challenged, elderly NYC woman up a curb, across the sidewalk and into a store. She blessed us all the way into Rite Aid.
  3. Spent the evening with my son, telling him about your son and your request. I was proud when he told me he had given his “extra” chicken sandwich (he always orders 2) to a man that was on a street corner, holding a sign. The previous day he had given $20.00, all the money he had, to a woman at the gas station that needed gas and had no money. The world can’t be all bad when our young people understand the importance of service to others.
  4. Saved three kittens from being euthanized! One of the kitties found a home and the other two will be up for adoption in two weeks.
  5. Helped a hurt child.
  6. Volunteered to give a senior pictures for his senior football banner. He probably wouldn’t have any and this is his first year playing football and he played the whole JV game.
  7. Encouraged a girl to go back to school.
  8. Took lunch to my neighbor and her son and daughter-in-law.
  9. Helped two seniors find items they needed at The Giant Eagle store.
  10. Called my elderly great aunt just to talk and tell her how much I love her.
  11. Passed up two parking spaces close to the entry of the grocery store just to let people behind me have them!
  12. Took my father-in-law to lunch.
  13. Ran into someone who was down and slipped them $20.
  14. Assisted a lady at the grocery store who wasn’t able to reach something on the shelf and I took it off of the shelf for her and put in her basket.
  15. Surprised all of the kids in my pre-k class with a surprise every day this week.
  16. Showed our new neighbors, who have a small baby, the gate in our yard that goes to a vineyard where they can safely walk with their baby.
  17. Paid for a car wash for a young couple today at a gas station. They were thrilled.
  18. Spent the afternoon with my mother and took her a pie to share!
  19. Connected with a disabled high school classmate via Twitter. I always admired his spunk.
  20. Helped a lady at the store reach an item on the top shelf… I do that often when shopping, but am amazed how many of my friends have heard about ‘Grantspeed.’

The Facebook page for all of the Random Acts of Kindness may be seen here.

10984986_1183222025025326_8901886271275509138_nGrant Bauer. Photo: The Stewardship Report.

The Marietta Times covered this amazing outpouring of kindness last fall in a piece entitled Living with Suicide: One Family Finds Comfort in 1,000 Acts of Kindness. (http://www.mariettatimes.com/page/content.detail/id/577361/) Marietta College Magazine also covered the story in a piece called GrantSpeed: Random Acts of Kindness Honoring Grant Bauer Go Global. (https://issuu.com/marietta_college/docs/mmf15)

As GRANT Day is quickly approaching, it’s almost time for the 2016 award recipients to be announced. Awards will go to those who truly exemplify the meaning behind GRANT Day and The Bauer Fund. The awards are to be used for research to help those with mental health issues or developmental delays and in the area of suicide awareness.

Messages Image(1270070627)Bill Bauer and the author speaking at Marietta College, Ohio, Spring 2015.
Photo: The Stewardship Report/Ryan D. Turnewitsch.

No Fund can bring Grant back. But through a fund, through Random Acts of Kindness, through supporting efforts to keep another young person from ending their lives, we can honor and remember this incredible young man. As we do every day, but especially over the next two weeks. #GrantSpeed.
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Bauer Fund merchandise may be purchased here. Tax-deductible contributions may be made this Fund on-line here. Please note “Bauer Fund.” Checks may be made payable to the J. Luce Foundation, memo’d “Bauer Fund,” and mailed to 540 Main Street #418, New York, N.Y. 10044.

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With Matthew Dotsikas, Senior Young Global Leader, J. Luce Foundation. Originally published in The Huffington Post, Aug. 28, 2016.

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About Jim Luce: Thought Leaders & Global Citizens

View all posts by Jim Luce: Thought Leaders & Global Citizens
Jim Luce: Thought Leaders & Global Citizens
Jim Luce (www.lucefoundation.org) writes and speaks on Thought Leaders and Global Citizens. Bringing 26 years management experience within both investment banking and the non-profit sector, Jim has worked for Daiwa Bank, Merrill Lynch, a spin-off of Lazard Freres, and two not-for profit organizations and a foundation he founded. As Founder & CEO of Orphans International Worldwide (www.oiww.org), he is working with a strong network of committed professionals to build interfaith, interracial, Internet-connected orphanages in Haiti and Indonesia, and creating a new, family-care model for orphans in Sri Lanka and Tanzania.

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