So You Wanna Help With Gala


BSI’s 9th Annual Year-EnGala and Auction will take place on Saturday, June 9, at Roulette in Downtown Brooklyn. This year’s theme, “Saturday Night Fever,” honors our South Brooklyn roots by throwing it back to 1977, when the John Travolta classic was filmed in Bensonhurst and Bay Ridge.

Gala is our largest fun(d)raising event. Last year, we raised $68,000. We will need to raise even more this year if we are to reach our total fundraising goal of $570,000. We are currently at $318,000 with only months to go before the end of the school year.


You can help the day before, the day of, during or after the Gala — there’s something for everyone. Be a part of the party team! Sign up here.


You can solicit exciting items and experiences for online bidding and silent auction. Think gift certificates to restaurants and spas, stays at vacation homes, museum and activity passes, VIP nights out, fine jewelry and accessories, personal services (chefs, interior design, etc.), gourmet gift baskets, and the like. We need many more donations.

Consult our Donation Grid and reach out to businesses under the “Gala” tabs of the spreadsheet. Here are some tools to help you close the deal:

Template for Email Solicitation 

Template for Merchant Solicitation Letter

Blank BSI PTO Letterhead

Tips for Getting Donations

IRS Non-Profit Determination Letter

Gala Flyer for Sponsors Who Request It

Once you land the donation, you or the donor can enter the auction item details in our online submission form. A paper form can also be submitted.

For questions, email


You can also help by buying or selling ads in our full-color keepsake Gala Program. Please take a look at last year’s Gala Program for samples of personal, business and class ads. Ads can be paid for and submitted at You can also mail in a paper form.

Families of graduates and grandparents are especially encouraged to buy an ad to congratulate a particular BSI student on a job well done. Rich in sentimental value, these ads range from: one-eighth page ($100), one-quarter page ($200), one-half page ($300), and a full page ad ($400, special Graduates rate).

Here are some tools to help:

Template for Email Solicitation Gala Ad

Template for Email Solicitation Gala Ad and/or Auction

Sample Facebook Text

For questions related to ads, please email

Thank you!

Celebrate Earth Day and Donate Your Toys, Games, Puzzles and Books! April 11 to April 23

The BSI PTO Give Back Committee is teaming up with Second Chance Toys to help our environment!

Given the nature of plastic, plastic toys often show little signs of wear. When these “good-as-new” toys are thrown out, they become waste in a landfill, take up a lot of space, and do not biodegrade. Second Chance Toys rescues and recycles plastic toys for children in need by donating them to community organizations. Because non biodegradable plastic is kept out of our landfills, Second Chance Toys is helping kids and the environment at the same time. Do you have plastic toys you no longer use? Bring them to the BSI main office (4th Floor) between April 11 and April 23 and we can help needy children and save our planet!

**** Now Extended To April 23 and Accepting All Toys, Games, Puzzles and Books ******

Have questions? Want to help? Contact the BSI Give Back Committee at

Volunteer of the Month — Vladimir Bugayev

Vladimir Bugayev, dad to George Bugayev 302 and Elizabeth Bugayev 701, has been “Coach Vlad” at BSI since 2011. He coaches the BSI Chess Club and travels with the kids all over the country to compete in tournaments. Even for those of us who do not have kids on the Chess Team, it is always inspiring to see Coach Vlad’s blogs on the BSI school site, where his good heart shines through his words. As he describes the tournaments, you can’t help but be touched by his attention to the work each kid is doing and the recognition he always gives to other parents who participate.

“Creating a chess team is not an easy task, but the outcome is incredible. The benefits our children are getting cannot be measured by words. My favorite part is that they learn to be open-minded. Without this, you can not become a good player…or person.”


How did you start volunteering at BSI?

It all started in 2011 when my oldest son, who graduated last year from BSI, was in 2nd grade. At the time I had begun to gradually switch to chess teaching. Ever since the beginning I felt a great support from the BSI staff in terms of introducing me to the school, arranging hours and logistics. Supporting me in sending chess related info to all families.

Why do you think Chess is good for kids?

This is an easy and hard question at the same time. I could write pages here. First of all, it’s a perfect educational model which aids younger kids in learning different subjects at school. Just to name a few relationships: the chess board to classical graphing system, the movement of pieces to geometry, solving tactics and reasoning strategy to logical analysis, pattern recognition and planning.  Social aspects are tremendously important when many of our kids are sharing the same interest outside of school. Concentration and acceptance is extremely important for the different stages in their future. And on top of that it’s a game that with the right introduction is simply fun to play.

How did you get interested in Chess yourself?

My father showed me how to play when I was 7 and the game hooked me in right away. I’ve loved it with all my heart since then and can play for hours myself. I was constantly looking for a match. So my parents took me to a chess academy where I played for more than 10 years.

Do you have particular memories of your time volunteering with our kids?

I cherish every moment. When they win I’m happy for them and when they lose I am there to support them as this is the hardest part.

Do you have ideas for things parents could be doing to make BSI better? 

Whatever you’re good at or have a passion for just try, you never know…  It changed my life completely.

As one BSI parent wrote on the BSI Chess Facebook Page“Thank you for inspiring and molding our children’s character and future; and never failing to provide motivation and advice to parents.”

We are so grateful for you, Coach Vlad! You are everything the BSI community stands for — excellence, respect, hard work, high expectations and great kindness. Thank you for inspiring us all.