Eudora High junior launches nonprofit, plans silent auction to benefit local veterans and families

photo by: Contributed Photos

Ben Posch, a junior at Eudora High School, has launched a nonprofit that aims to provide community support for local veterans and their families. The baskets pictured are some that will be part of the Posch Foundation's Shopping for Soldiers Silent Auction on Saturday, March 2, 2019.

When his U.S. history teacher challenged him to complete a project he’d be proud of 10 years from now, a Eudora High School junior decided to launch a nonprofit organization.

Ben Posch, 17, said he looked for a widespread problem in the communities of Eudora, Lawrence and Kansas City.

“What I decided that I wanted to focus on was giving back to soldiers, veterans and their families and expressing gratitude for their service and sacrifices,” he said.

That’s the goal of the Posch Foundation, which the teen hopes will be a thriving nonprofit rather than a proud memory a decade from now.

Posch is president of the Kansas chapter of Future Business Leaders of America, which is “focused on developing business leaders and innovators in high school and preparing them for success in college and beyond,” he said.

“One of the staple principles that we focus on in that organization is service,” Posch said. “I really took that principle to heart, and the Posch Foundation is what came of it.”

Posch said the purpose for his foundation came from talking with teachers and community leaders in Eudora and the surrounding area. He said he’s gotten feedback on what issues they see “as educators and innovators and leaders.”

Posch will host the first Shopping for Soldiers Silent Auction on Saturday evening at the Cider Gallery, 810 Pennsylvania St. in Lawrence. The event, which Posch hopes to repeat annually, aims to raise money to support the foundation’s Serve Our Soldiers initiatives.

One of the next plans Posch has is to deliver May Day baskets to families of soldiers and veterans in the area, “to just express our gratitude for their service and their sacrifice and let them know that their community is behind them and supporting them every step of the way.”

As a summer project, Posch is working to organize a concert for the Fourth of July. He’s also hoping to work with area elementary schools during the holiday season to create personalized cards to send overseas with packages for deployed soldiers who won’t be able to come home.

“I think where we’re really filling a niche is being able to provide some of the services that these national organizations are providing but on a much smaller scale, and much more community-oriented and focused,” Posch said, “so we have a much larger impact and a more positive impact as a whole on the communities we’re serving.”

One way he’s hoping to have a greater impact is by keeping overhead costs low. Right now, Posch said, operations are mainly taking place in his school building, and expanding into an office or hiring employees is not the chief concern. He said 90 percent of all funds raised Saturday night and in future fundraisers will be used to further the foundation’s causes, rather than for administrative costs and other miscellaneous expenditures that burden national organizations.

Posch said he admires public servants in all capacities, and it’s definitely a sector he wants to get involved in after he graduates high school and college. He wants to keep the foundation running long after he completes his junior year.

“We plan to continue to serve these communities as long as we have the support that we need financially to be able to put on these activities that we’re putting on and express our gratitude, and community gratitude, to the bravest men and women who are currently residing in these communities,” Posch said.

The foundation does have tickets available on its website, theposchfoundation.com, that will guarantee admission to the event. It’s free to attend, but the venue could reach capacity, Posch said.

Posch said the auction will mostly offer various baskets. Some he mentioned are for chocolate lovers, movie buffs and tailgaters looking ahead to baseball season. The movie basket, for instance, includes some tickets to AMC Theaters and a Redbox gift certificate, plus snacks and an air popper. He said some other organizations have pitched in an assortment of household items, utensils and such “to make everyday life easier or more fun.”

There will be light refreshments and drinks available, plus a bar, Posch said. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, and bidding wraps up at 9.

Contact Mackenzie Clark

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