Synergize honors founding members’ legacy


Networking group Synergize raised $7,725 at its recent 4:30 Meetup event to donate to Best Buddies in honor of Brian Bondus, a Synergize founding member who unexpectedly died in August.

Best Buddies is an organization that pairs people with intellectual and developmental disabilities with a nondisabled buddy. The two then cultivate a 1-to-1 friendship. The organization also finds stable jobs, fosters leadership development and provides inclusive living opportunities for people with disabilities.

“As a parent of a child with special needs, you worry about them missing out on deep, meaningful friendships,” said Ashley Lee, a Best Buddies representative who spoke at the event. “Seeing Brian and his best buddy gave me so much hope for my own daughter.”

Bondus, a Carmel resident, was a longtime volunteer with Best Buddies and a contributor to many other organizations.

Originally, the meetup was going to benefit Round 2 Ministries, an organization run by Synergize members Erik and Kristin Richards. Their new nonprofit guides Christian couples who are entering their second marriages.

This month, though, the Richards family wanted to honor Bondus by giving up their impact to benefit Best Buddies.

The next 4:30 Meetup is set for 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Oct. 26 at 3Up, 201 W. Main St. The beneficiary will be the Indianapolis Zoo. Learn more at