School supplies and social impact with Yoobi

Bank of America helps Yoobi co-founder and CEO build a business with purpose

Ido Leffler is a born entrepreneur.

“Mom would have said that I tried to sell her something within a few days of coming out of the womb,”’ he says.

However, he’s always been interested in businesses that create a social impact as part of the business model.

When he learned that the average school teacher spends over $485 out of his or her own pocket each year on fundamental supplies for their classroom, this son of a teacher had found his purpose.

It’s been a lot of fun to be able to have a great relationship with someone that you can also provide an opportunity to help foster growth for

Jeff Klinger
Bank of America Merrill Lynch

With this inspiration Leffler turned to his business partners to co-found Yoobi. A company that has transformed the school supply industry by making bright, colorful, amazing school, home, and office supplies that also give back to local underserved classrooms across the United States. Yoobi lives its mission of “One for you. One for me” by donating an item for every item purchased. The donations come in the form of a “Yoobi Classroom pack,” which contains hundreds of items including crayons, markers, pencils, folders, glue, erasers, and so much more for the entire class.

“It is a life changing experience,” said Nora Mansfield, a marketing associate, of working at Yoobi.

Yoobi’s philosophy, and its business plan, is driven by what Leffler calls his three pillars: incredible people, amazing product, and awesome cause.

“If we check those boxes, it not only makes our businesses better, but it makes us happier people,” said Leffler.

Bank of America has been a valued partner with Yoobi as Leffler began to get his dream off the ground. Building a business like Yoobi comes with a number of challenges, and the operation has grown rapidly, creating the need to move into a bigger office space, and seeing international transactions grow from hundreds of thousands, to millions upon millions of dollars. Each stage of growth presents a new set of challenges, and Bank of America has been there through it all.

“At Bank of America we really believe that success needs to be shared, that we succeed when our clients succeed,” said Garrett Gin, senior vice president Enterprise Business and Community Engagement for Bank of America. “But also, companies like Yoobi succeeds when the communities in which they serve succeed as well.”

The bank’s relationship with Yoobi began as a personal one -- Jeff Klinger, a private wealth advisor at Merrill Lynch, met Leffler when their children went to school together.

“It’s been a lot of fun to be able to have a great relationship with someone that you can also provide an opportunity to help foster growth for,” said Klinger.

Having previously worked with banks that didn’t understand his company’s model of social enterprise, Leffler didn’t have high expectations about banking relationships and how they could help Yoobi. But Jeff and the rest of the team at Bank of America provided a steady hand and smart counsel along the way.

“They not only came through, but they came through in spades,” said Leffler. “It’s very rare to say that you’re friends with your bank.

Today, with Leffler’s vision and Bank of America’s support, Yoobi is a success, both as a business and as a for profit for purpose venture.

“I can genuinely say that Yoobi has made me a better person,” Leffler said.

Learn more about Yoobi and their charitable mission at yoobi.com.

12/2/2016

 

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