Featuring The Bellaire Police and Fire Foundation
Bellaire has recently become just a little bit safer with the addition of The Bellaire Police and Fire Foundation (BPFF). This new nonprofit, which strives to improve public safety in the City of Bellaire, was created by Bellaire residents and business leaders, such as Ryan Herbst, president of the board of directors. He’s also a principal at UnifiedCommunications.com and a long-time Bellaire resident.
The idea to create this foundation, which has been several years in the making, was inspired by the Houston Police Foundation and the success they’ve had in the City of Houston. The idea struck him that it would be valuable if he could bring a similar concept into Bellaire. He mentioned it to a friend, Kopi Vogiatzis, who also liked the concept, and that’s where the idea for the foundation was born.
“We set out, assembled a board of both residents and business owners that shared a common interest and brought unique skill sets to the table,” he said. Members of the board include Kopi Vogiatzis, co-owner of Escalante’s, Randy Dobbs, president of Prosperity Bank in Bellaire, Deborah Kirkland, director of development at The Joy School, Bill Nelson, a partner at Haynes and Boone, Rabbi Roy Walter, former head Rabbi of Congregation Emanu El, and Suzanne Kupiec, a partner at Ernst and Young.
“Bill Nelson, a Bellaire resident who’s also on the Houston Police Foundation board, is one of the founding members and brought with him a lot of the best practices that had made them so successful,” Ryan said.
Last summer, BPFF achieved their 501C3 certification and formally launched in December with a membership campaign. At this point, they have raised over $88,000 and are ready to begin accepting grant requests from the police and fire departments.
“We’re appreciative of how much support has come from the community from just one single letter, which was mailed to residents stating our purpose,” Ryan said. “It was well received, so at this stage, we’ll focus on continuing to grow our membership.”
The next steps, he said, are to continue to increase membership of families and local businesses, continue to grow awareness of the foundation’s successes to this point and goals for the future, and begin thinking about planning an event.
“We couldn’t be more pleased with how it’s going so far,” Ryan said.
See the Bellaire Police and Fire Foundation website for more information about the new nonprofit and to see details about how to become a member.
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