FRANKFORT AVENUE TALKS, LLC is a company that is owned by Jackee and Max Schwartz, and it is not a charitable organization. The Company owns all of the rights to The Avenue Talks. The Avenue Talks were inspired by the TED Talks, which are available on the internet at: www.TED.org TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader. Along with two annual conferences — the TED Conference on the West Coast each spring, and the TEDGlobal conference in Edinburgh UK each summer — TED includes the award-winning TED Talks video site, the Open Translation Project and TED Conversations, the inspiring TED Fellows and TEDx programs, and the annual TED Prize. More than 1400 TED Talks are now available, with more added each week. All of the talks are subtitled in English, and many are subtitled in various languages.
Jackee, and her husband, Max, have watched many TED Talks on the internet and have always wanted to do something similar. Recently, they started a new business called “Planet Einstein,” which provides all kinds of learning experiences that are held on a very informal basis, where people can learn things in one or two hour sessions that cost very little. Many of the classes will teach people how to do things that are mainly for fun and enjoyment—like, “How to decorate cupcakes.” There will also be classes on things that are a little more serious, like teaching infants who are not yet old enough to talk, how to do sign language. In time, there may be some more serious classes. The company is in the business of creating a marketplace for informal learning, which can take place anywhere, like restaurants and coffee shops—where people can learn anything they want to know about. While some of the teachers may have some teaching credentials, most of the teachers will be people who are self-taught, or have learned what they teach from their work.
Max is an attorney, and Jackee started her career as a teacher and taught at Goldsmith and Chenoweth Elementary School. She got her Master’s in Education at the University of Louisville. Jackee’s next career was in real estate, specializing in relocation. But, she missed teaching, and began doing corporate training. For a time, Jackee also operated a speakers bureau. They have operated a number of businesses together, and spent a lot of time planning what became Planet Einstein. Initially, it was going to be like a university where people could learn some of the things that are taught at universities, only in a much more abbreviated form, in one or two hour sessions. They wanted to have some classes on some topical subjects, like the ones that are discussed during the TED Talks, but they thought that they would have to wait until their business was better establish before taking on anything this big.
While researching this idea, they discovered that there are a number of businesses already in existence in other cities where people can attend classes to learn things, mostly for the fun of it. They found that these kinds of classes are very popular and decided to start out with fun classes for the summer, and add more serious classes in the fall.
Jackee has always been a bargain hunter and has shopped at Margaret’s consignment store on Frankfort Avenue for many years. She wanted to have a class on consignment stores, and one day, during a lunch that lasted over three hours that she had with Margaret, the two ladies got their heads together and came up with the idea of doing “The Avenue Talks.”
The Avenue Talks is a “for-profit” business, but it is a new kind of business that Max and Jackee are calling a “For-Good Business.” They got this idea from a business they first learned about many years ago. It’s called “50 Fifty Foods.” It is a company that was founded by someone who had diabetes who started a business to provide foods for diabetics, and at the outset, he decided to give 50% of the company’s profits for diabetes research. Jackee’s father had diabetes; so, they were greatly interested in the company and talked to the founder about his business. He was a diabetic who had made quite a lot of money with another business he owned and wanted to use his business skills to help diabetics. He wanted to give half the profits to diabetes research, and this is where he got the name for his business. Since then, he has started several other businesses for diabetics and now, he has given over 11 million dollars to diabetes research. Paul Newman’s Newman’s Own is another similar business that Max and Jackee followed since it first began. Newman started this business in 1982 and it has given over 350 million dollars to help children with terminal diseases.
Max and Jackee have not opened an office for Planet Einstein yet, but when they do, they want it to be located on Frankfort Avenue because there are so many stores and restaurants there that can be used for holding classes. The Clifton Center is located in the area they decided that it would be a good place to hold larger, more formal classes. Max and Jackee want to do something to support the charitable organizations that are located in the area, and with Margaret’s encouragement and support, they decided to give some of the profits from the Avenue Talks to two important non-profits that are located in the area, United Crescent Hill Ministries, and St. Joseph’s Children’s Home. They decided that each speaker could designate a third charity to receive part of the profits. When these decisions were made, Max and Jackee also decided that The Avenue Talks should be a separate company so that once it is better established, it might become a self-sustaining non-profit company.