Alice Korngold remembers the white rabbit. While most kids her age were setting up lemonade stands to turn a profit, the energetic, pig-tailed 9-year-old orchestrated carnivals in the name of charity.
These were sophisticated affairs, complete with hula hoop contests, apple bobbing, popcorn and lemonade stands and the occasional raffle, which one summer happened to be a white rabbit donated by a neighbor.
This annual event took place at Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C., across from her semidetached house on the dead-end street where she grew up. Armed with cardboard boxes and crepe paper, Korngold assembled stands all over the park. She and her friend, Darci, colored fliers and tacked them to trees throughout the middle-class neighborhood, which teamed with youngsters from a mix of cultural backgrounds. The money raised went to the Muscular Dystrophy Association, because her parents once mentioned that it encouraged children to raise funds through carnivals.
"I don't remember how much we raised," Korngold says, "but we thought it was a big deal."
Today, Korngold sits poised in her office suite on the 26th floor of the BP Tower on Public Square, her 5-foot-11 frame upright in her chair, notebook and pen in hand. Wearing a simple black suit and subtle makeup, the 50-year-old Korngold exudes professionalism, while her sparkling blue eyes retain the lighthearted idealism of her childhood. The clock on her desk reads ten minutes fast, not because she's forever tardy, but simply because she's always ten minutes ahead of the crowd.
As founder, president and CEO of Cleveland-based Business Volunteers Unlimited (BVU), many would argue Korngold is one of Northeast Ohio's most influential businesswomen. With an annual budget of $1 million, BVU pro vides board counseling and training services to nonprofits, trains and places business executives on nonprofit boards, and assists corporate clients with developing and executing community involvement programs.
Since its inception nearly 11 years ago, BVU has matched 814 businesspeople with 248 boards.
So enviable is her nonprofit organization that it has garnered the attention of John Bridgeland, director of USA Freedom Corps. On a recent trip to Cleveland, Bridgeland said the rest of the country could learn from BVU and its efforts to increase volunteerism.
Korngold hopes to teach the rest of the country about the benefits of an organization such as BVU by facilitating a nationwide expansion, keeping BVU's base in …