Big Brothers Big Sisters of America

At a Glance

National Office: 
450 E. john Carpenter Freeway Suite 100
Irving, TX 75062
Phone: (469)-351-3100

Charles Pierson
People Served: 
210,000
Year Founded: 
1977
Tax ID: 
23-1365190

Focus area(s):

Mentoring

Description

For more than 100 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the largest evidence-based mentoring program in the country, has operated under the belief that inherent in every child is the ability to succeed and thrive in life. As the nation’s largest donor and volunteer supported mentoring network, Big Brothers Big Sisters makes meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers (“Bigs”) and children (“Littles”), ages 6 through 18, in communities across the country. Big Brothers Big Sisters develops positive relationships that have a direct and lasting effect on the lives of young people and is a leading partner known for outcomes addressing educational and juvenile delinquency challenges at community and national levels.

Impact and Outcomes

BBBS Littles overall were 46% less likely than controls to initiate drug use.
BBBS male Littles of color were 70% less likely than a comparison group to initiate drug use.
BBBS Littles overall were 27% less likely than controls to initiative alcohol use.
BBBS Littles were one-third less likely than controls to assault someone.
BBBS Littles skipped half as many school days and showed greater academic gains than a comparison group.
Compared to a control group, BBBS Littles showed significant improvement in relating to parents/guardians and peers.

Mission & Goals

Big Brothers Big Sisters Mission: Provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one mentoring relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.

Big Brothers Big Sisters Purpose: All children achieve success in life. 

Big Brothers Big Sisters Statement of Goals: By partnering with parents/guardians, volunteers, school personnel and others in the community, Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) is accountable for each child in its program achieving:

  • Higher aspirations, greater confidence, and better relationships
  • Avoidance of risky behaviors
  • Educational success

Program

Community-Based Program: The community-based mentoring program matches carefully screened adult volunteers with children in their communities. The “Big” (adult mentor) and “Little” (youth ) meet regularly and spend quality guided time engaged in a variety of activities. Community-based mentoring is flexible in time, location and activity. While BBBSA continues to track and measure results, a foundational 1995 impact study on BBBS’ community-based mentoring program was conducted by Public/Private Ventures (an independent Philadelphia-based national research organization) and demonstrated the positive outcomes, mentioned above, for children mentored in the program. The core of the community-based model remains intact while research-based programmatic improvements are regularly integrated into the model and implementation practices.

School-Based Program: The school-based mentoring program allows Bigs to meet with Littles at school either during the school day or after school hours. Volunteers include individuals from businesses, churches, fraternities/sororities and colleges. The school-based mentoring program practices have been especially influenced by the 2007 study of school-based mentoring conducted by Public/Private Ventures, which found that a year of involvement in the program leads to greater academic engagement and achievement by the children involved. Future goals for the program include fostering matches that are longer in duration, since not all of the positive effects were shown to continue in the second year. The immediate result of this important study was an opportunity to pilot an enhanced set of model practices designed to strengthen the program matches so that their match duration would increase.  Results of the two-year pilot have yielded positive findings and BBBSA is currently in the process of incorporating the new practices into the standard school-based model for network-wide adoption.

Site-Based Program: The Big Brothers Big Sisters site-based or workplace mentoring is a extension of the school-based program. In these programs, students from a nearby school are matched with employees in mentoring relationships. Two to four times each month, the students visit the workplace during the school day for about an hour. A Big Brothers Big Sisters Match Support Specialist manages the program on-site while Bigs and Littles spend quality time together doing whatever it is that the pair enjoy – from reading together, to playing games, to touring the office. Children in this program not only have a positive adult role model, but also frequently visit a professional work environment – broadening their perspectives of what they might want to be when they grow up. In addition, research shows employees – even those who don’t volunteer – feel greater pride and loyalty toward an employer who supports a respected cause like Big Brothers Big Sisters. Those that do volunteer work with renewed enthusiasm and often tell us the experience has strengthened their relationship with co-workers and increased their commitment to the company. 

Impact

In the 1995 Public/Private Ventures Impact Study, more than 950 boys and girls from eight BBBS agencies across the country were studied.  These agencies were selected for their large size and geographic diversity. This study has been a landmark piece that is generally considered to be foundational to the mentoring field in general and to BBBS community-based mentoring program in particular.

Approximately half of the children were randomly chosen to be matched with a Big Brother or Big Sister. The others were assigned to a waiting list. The matched children met with their Big about three times a month for an average of one year.  Researchers surveyed both the matched and unmatched children and their parents on two occasions: when they first applied for a Big Brother or Big Sister and again 18 months later.

Researchers found that after 18 months of spending time with their Bigs, the Little Brothers and Little Sisters, compared to those children not in our program, were

  • 46% less likely to begin using illegal drugs
  • 27% less likely to begin using alcohol
  • 52% less likely to skip school
  • 37% less likely to skip a class
  • 33% less likely to hit someone

They also found that the Littles were more confident in their performance of schoolwork and were getting along better with their families.

In a second study conducted by Public/Private Ventures in 2007, “Making a Difference in Schools: The Big Brothers Big Sisters School-Based Mentoring Impact Study,”relative to the control group, Littles showed improvements and outcomes in the following:

  • Overall academic performance, as well as in the specific subjects of science and written and oral language
  • Scholastic efficacy (feeling more competent academically)
  • Quality of class work, and number of assignments completed including homework and in-class assignments
  • Decrease in serious school infractions including skipping school, fighting, suspensions and visits to the principal’s office

Littles were also significantly more likely than their non-mentored peers to report an important additional benefit: the presence of a non-parental adult in their life who provided them with the types of supports BBBS strives to provide to participants—someone they look up to and talk to about personal problems, who cares about what happens to them and positively influences the choices they make.

Today, Big Brothers Big Sisters uses the Youth Outcome Survey (YOS), a research-based outcome measure, for all children served. Using a pre- and post-test methodology, the YOS is designed to track outcomes in the following areas: scholastic competency, educational expectations, self-assessment, social acceptance, parental trust and attitudes toward high-risk behavior.

Growth Plan

Big Brothers Big Sisters of America prioritizes ensuring the sustainability of Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring programs across the country. Backed by the direction of the National Board of Directors, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America is leading an initiative to transform its model of financial support for optimal sustainability. Historically, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America has been funded 80% by Foundations, Government and Corporations and 20% by Individuals. The network is similarly funded with 70% of support coming from Foundations, Government and Corporations and 30% from Individuals. Big Brothers Big Sisters seeks to reverse its funding mix to create a model of funding based upon 80% of revenue from Individuals and 20% from Foundations, Corporations and Government to ultimately better serve more children across the country.

Through the adoption of an Enterprise Customer Relationship Management (ECRM) system for the network, BBBSA plans to accomplish this funding mix transformation. The ECRM system is a broadly recognized, widely-implemented strategy for managing and nurturing an organization’s interactions with its constituent base and future prospects. The ECRM system will allow the network to transform its support base to ensure the sustainability of Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring programs. Through the ECRM system, the organization will increase its ability for the cultivation, acquisition and stewardship of individual donors who often have fewer restrictions on their investments in Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring programs.

Design of the Big Brothers Big Sisters eCRM product began in March 2011. Since then, Big Brothers Big Sisters has worked closely with Blackbaud to determine system procedures such as defining constituents, the handling and reporting of donations, change management initiatives, and integrating eCRM with other systems for transparency and security.

Additionally, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America’s new Nationwide Strategic Direction will have a direct impact on the sustainability of this proposed work.  The new Direction calls for an increased emphasis on the evidence and data that demonstrates the impact of Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring for youth participants. This includes the collection of school and risky behavior data for each youth as well as random-control studies to further substantiate the long-term impact of Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring. To support the Strategic Direction Big Brothers Big Sisters of America will continue to strengthen its case for support around this project through the increased collection of data and evidence substantiating Big Brothers Big Sisters’ impact. The culmination of these efforts will ultimately position the Big Brothers Big Sisters network to better ensure the sustainability and continuation of the work this support has enabled.

Location of Sites

National Office: 
450 E. john Carpenter Freeway Suite 100
Irving, TX 75062
Phone: (469)-351-3100
List of locations

To make a contribution to a program site:

  1. Click on the "Make a Contribution Now" button and include the name, city and state of the program you would like to support, in the "notes" text box on the organization's donation form, if available.
  2. If a "notes" or "designation" box is not available, write the city and state on your check in the "notes" section or call the national office to designate your contribution to a local program site.

Locations in the following states:

Alabama

Arkansas

Arizona

California

Colorado

Connecticut

Delaware

Florida

Georgia

Guam

Hawaii

Iowa

Idaho

Illinois

Indiana

Kansas

Kentucky

Louisiana

Massachusetts

Maryland

Maine

Michigan

Minnesota

Missouri

Mississippi

Montana

North Carolina

Nebraska

New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico

Nevada

New York

Ohio

Oklahoma

Oregon

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

South Carolina

South Dakota

Tennessee

Texas

Utah

Virginia

Vermont

Washington

Wisconsin

West Virginia

Wyoming

Financials

Most Recent Budget

Year Ended:

2011

REVENUE

Corporate Grants: 
$6,726,091
Foundation Grants: 
$9,078,076
Government Funding: 
$12,472,681
Contributions from Individuals: 
$5,148,561
Special Events: 
$0
Program Services Fees: 
$4,064,628
Membership Dues: 
$0
Other Earned Income: 
$0
Other Revenue: 
$0
Total Revenue: 
$37,490,037

EXPENSES

Salaries, Related Salaries & Professional Fees: 
$15,068,747
Occupancy: 
$689,009
Travel & Entertainment: 
$1,166,169
Office Supplies, Printing, Postage: 
$208,459
Telephone & Communications: 
$271,672
Payments to Affiliates: 
$17,869,952
Other Expenses: 
$389,408
Other Expenses (Description): 

Total Expenses: 
$35,663,416

NET GAIN/LOSS

Net Gain/Loss: 
$1,826,621

Prior Year Actuals

Year Ended:

2010

REVENUE

Corporate Grants: 
$4,293,027
Foundation Grants: 
$7,560,754
Government Funding: 
$2,867,286
Contributions from Individuals: 
$2,423,303
Program Services Fees: 
$3,796,675
Membership Dues: 
$0
Other Earned Income: 
$0
Other Revenue: 
$0
Special Events: 
$0
Total Revenue: 
$20,941,045

EXPENSES

Salaries, Related Salaries & Professional Fees: 
$13,305,570
Occupancy: 
$943,136
Travel & Entertainment: 
$1,476,033
Office Supplies, Printing, Postage: 
$166,553
Telephone & Communication: 
$143,833
Payments to Affiliates: 
$8,435,525
Other Expenses: 
$226,891
Total Expenses: 
$24,697,541

NET GAIN/LOSS

Net Gain / Loss: 
$-3,756,496

Major Funders

100 Women in Hedge Funds

American Eagle

Bechtel Foundation

Cargill Incorporated

Comcast Corporation and Foundation

Margaret A. Cargill Foundation

MetLife Foundation

NIVEA

Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention

Philip Morris USA, an Altria Company

T. Boone Pickens Foundation

The Annie E. Casey Foundation

The Bank of America Charitable Foundation

The Duke Endowment

The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation

The Goizueta Foundation

The Jack in the Box Foundation