Education, Opportunity, Results

Bud and Kim Deffebach: different causes, same focus. They share their love for helping students with Groundswell (Bud) and Club Esteem (Kim). But there’s a different component here than usual; they will quickly tell you they’re seriously committed to measuring the successes these organizations work toward. 

“A lot of what we believe in is education, opportunity and results,” said Bud Deffebach. They insist on hard metrics and actual numbers on the success of the children these causes empower. They work tirelessly to ensure that, as Bud put it, “every dollar donated is used to the fullest extent to benefit the kids as much as possible.” Kim added, “…and that there are objectively measurable results, not just subjective results.” 

Bud continued: “It is exciting to raise money for tutors in an after-school program, but even more so to track individual students’ grades, grade point averages, and then compare students’ grades to peers’, and follow them to their success at college.” Those objectively measured results separate Club Esteem from other organizations, and are the passion in Kim’s involvement.

Systemically, Groundswell is somewhat similar. Founded by John Vecchio, Jenna Buehler, Mark Mohler and Bud, Groundswell was created as a not-for-profit technology incubator. 

“There was a woman who lived in Silicon Valley in the 1960s,” Bud explained. “She travelled here and noted that while both areas were similar in their density of engineers, Melbourne had concentrated on creating jobs, while Silicon Valley had concentrated on creating wealth. With the wealth, came the jobs.” Groundswell was created to drive change in the direction of creating wealth. 

One of Groundswell’s goals is to offer kids from Club Esteem and other programs, as well as local adults, encouragement to develop an interest in technology as a business. The opportunity to learn code, for example, and maybe land a job at a local company, or even start their own business could steer Melbourne toward creating wealth, not just jobs. “We’ve had a lot of interest from our big tech companies, as this creative environment is attractive to the Millennials they’re trying to bring here,” Bud added. 

Kim’s take on this is, “We’re very attracted to projects where we can help create synergies between individuals, groups and communities. Club Esteem has certainly done that, but it has been successful because of the synergies. The grant work, our F.I.T. volunteers, and the public’s support of our programs like ‘Rock the Casbah,’ have enabled Club Esteem to follow its mission.”

There are other causes they support as well, like The Women’s Center, where Kim is the clinical training director and Bud was a recent participant in their signature Dude Looks Like a Lady event (Kim says he was “a very stunning” Olivia Newton-John!). “We really like to invest our time and financial support into organizations that enable people to make choices and develop the skills to better their own lives,” Kim said. “From helping someone escape from an abusive domestic violence relationship, to mentoring a technology start-up, it is all about helping people shape their own future.”

Speaking of synergies, there is one more Kim loves to talk about. “I’m also very proud that our 16-year-old daughter, Kate, is learning the philanthropic ropes and taking increasing leadership roles in Club Esteem’s ‘Rock the Casbah’ event each year.” With Bud and Kim Deffebach as her parents, we’re sure an article about Kate’s efforts isn’t too far off.