Seek a Better World

“Triple net” telecom company signs on to support the Jammies vision

BetterWorld Telecom founders Jim Kenefick and Matt Bauer (left to right) are passionate about youth projects and the arts.

BetterWorld Telecom founders Jim Kenefick and Matt Bauer (left to right) are passionate about youth projects and the arts.

Photo courtesy of betterworld telecom

Jeff vonKaenel is the president, CEO and majority owner of the News & Review newspapers in Sacramento, Chico and Reno.

Our goal with the Jammies is very simple. We intend to create the country’s best, most supported high-school music scene right here in Sacramento. Within a couple of miles of every high school and junior-high school in the region, there should be a safe place for students to play and hear their own music on Friday and Saturday nights.

It’s with that goal in mind that we delight in our partnership with BetterWorld Telecom. New to Sacramento, BetterWorld Telecom provides businesses with telecom services, and is a triple-net company—one that operates with a widened set of criteria that measures success: economic, ecological and social. As opposed to a company that is set up to maximize its value to its stockholders, a triple-net company is designed with a plan to support the community.

BetterWorld Telecom came by to tell us about the company’s vision not only to save small businesses money on telecom services but also to use its company to make a real difference in the community.

Frankly, a lot of private sector businesses talk about their love for the community, but when Western regional manager Jacob Griscom said BetterWorld was committed to devoting 3 percent of its revenue to community-based causes, I was blown away. Three percent of revenue is a large chunk of change. To put it in perspective, our sales-tax rate is 8.75 percent.

So what would lead a company to take part of its income and decide to give it to a charitable organization?

The BetterWorld founders, Jim Kenefick and Matt Bauer, were longtime experienced telecom executives who, after years of doing well, had a midlife crisis. Instead of buying red convertibles, they decided to create a company that would change the world one telephone call at a time.

Founded in 2002, BetterWorld Telecom tells us the company is the only nationwide voice and data provider that focuses on servicing business, enterprises and organizations; targeting business organizations with five to 300 employees; backing up its quality and service with a 100 percent guarantee.

In an industry marked by consolidation and poor customer service, and with only a few large companies serving most businesses and nonprofits, BetterWorld seems a breath of fresh air—offering “full-bundled or à la carte solutions such as local calling and long distance; dedicated, high-speed Internet; conference calling; and voice-over Internet protocol solutions all on one bill.” Its “one-call-does-it-all” service is a particular point of pride for the people at this company.

When I learned that BetterWorld founders were passionate for youth projects and the arts, I told them about the Jammies.

Over the last eight years, we have used our annual Jammies event and program to put the spotlight on Sacramento’s great high-school musicians, with the belief that Sacramento would support their young artists after seeing how accomplished they are. If a young 16-year-old playing his or her heart out on the stage of Mondavi Center or Crest Theatre doesn’t move you, frankly, you need a new heart.

After seeing just one Jammies video, BetterWorld Telecom immediately signed on as our biggest Jammies cash sponsor. But even more important, the company vowed to donate not just 3 percent of its revenue but up to 5 percent towards the Jammies.

BetterWorld Telecom is doing its part. If Sacramento businesses began to give back too, by opting to sign on with this triple-net company (at as much as a 28 percent savings over giant competitors, they say), we could be looking at a revenue stream that would fully support the Jammies vision of showcasing our best high-school musicians.

Go to the Jammies event and you will see the quality of our young musicians. Go to the high-school music classes and you will see the dedication of our students and teachers. Go to Club Retro, Grace Café at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church or The Refuge at St. John’s Lutheran Church and you will see our local music scene.

It can happen. I believe it will happen.

Years ago, SN&R and other members of the community assembled art gallery owners together and said, “If everyone would just stay open late once a month, on Second Saturday, we could enrich and revive the local art scene.” It worked. Eventually, Second Saturday succeeded beyond anybody’s wildest dreams.

Just as our community created Second Saturday, we can now establish the Jammies vision. We are very thankful to BetterWorld Telecom for their participation and support.