The BDK Fund Story
Brian Bessler, John DiTullio and Nick Keyes all grew up on the Westside of Cincinnati. They all had similar upbringings, all of which could be described as lower middle-class. None of them were poor, but each faced their own types of struggles and adversity. All three attended Catholic grade schools, made possible only through the sacrifices their parents made in their commitments to scrape together every spare penny.
Bessler, DiTullio and Keyes didn’t become friends until junior high, right before they were about to follow separate paths and attend different Catholic high schools. Bessler attended St. Xavier, DiTullio attended Lasalle and Keyes attended Elder. The three stayed in touch through high school. However, the strong bond they have today did not develop until after high school and into college.
After years of being active members of a local non-profit organization, each realized they shared a strong desire to help individuals, families and groups within their community. With a collective and specific focus on improving the lives of children, they formed The BDK Fund. Their mission was to organize the joining of friends, family and neighbors together through hands-on volunteer projects and fundraising.
Each followed three different paths through three different Catholic schools, yet still managed to develop similar values and a desire to give back to their community.
Our goal is to help children have the opportunities gifted to us by our parents. We believe we will accomplish this through two separate programs, BDK Scholars & Brighter Days:
• BDK Scholars: As founders of The BDK Fund, we recognize the value we received through our Catholic education. We want to offer that same opportunity and experience to individuals for whom this would otherwise not be possible. Our goal is to incrementally increase the program by three students each year, allowing us to hit our target of twelve students by the 2023 school year (as of 8/1/2019, we are supporting five BDK Scholars). Although we will provide financial support for tuition, we will also enable mentoring, guidance and other aid to ensure each kid is successful in high school and beyond graduation. Our focus will be on college and career readiness. The gift to each selected candidate will be a four-year commitment during which time our team will frequently be reviewing progress and working to grow each individual through education, community awareness and a sharpening of their business acumen.
• Brighter Days: The BDK Fund was founded with the belief that working together we can make a true difference in the lives of children throughout our community. This program will review requests submitted by the community identifying specific needs. The focus will be improving a child’s immediate situation with the goal of positively impacting their future.