Dear Friend:In October, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bay Area merged with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the North Bay. We are now a unified organization serving children in nine counties throughout the Greater Bay Area – Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma. Combining programs and staff will centralize key functions and operations at our headquarters in San Francisco and enable us to more efficiently reach more children. We welcome the addition of seven Board members and four staff from the North Bay agency, which brings our organization additional resources, broader skills, stronger relationships, and an increased ability to serve Bay Area children and families.
Happy New Year!
As we start 2018, I want to say thank you for your support and generosity. You have helped us provide the gift of mentorship to disadvantaged children from all over the Bay Area. We are truly grateful.
I would also like to update you personally with some exciting news about the work that your generosity has made possible this past year. Here are a few key highlights of what we accomplished together in 2017:
I’m pleased to share that our agency is now on target to serve over 1,000 children this year. We continue to see extraordinary longevity and quality in the relationships we create: Once matched, over 80% of our Big/Little “matches” continue for more than one year, and our average match lasts 41 months.
We regularly assess the impacts these relationships have on children. One of our unique strengths, compared to other youth-serving organizations, is that we have adopted shared measurement across our national network of 300+ agencies. Our Bay Area program continues to show exceptionally strong positive outcomes for youth, among a national network of agencies that have long proven results:
A majority of our littles who are seniors in high school are graduating and many of them are going on to college. Three of our high school graduates received scholarships last year from one of our alumni Big Brothers who provides this special resource to littles from our program. They were heading off to Redlands College, Florida Memorial University and Junior College in Baltimore.
- Educationally: youth in our mentoring program have higher grades, better scholastic competence, and a greater desire to graduate from high school and attend a four-year college.
- Socially: youth in our programs feel more accepted by their peers and more connected to their family. They are also more likely to say no to drugs, alcohol, skipping school, or getting into fights.
- Emotionally: youth in the Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring program have greater feelings of self-worth and therefore, more hope and higher aspirations for the future.
In other news, we expanded our Workplace Mentoring Partnerships this year with new corporate sites and new school and youth-serving partners. We were pleased to launch our third year of partnering with Comcast California, where we are matching employees one-on-one with Hayward’s Cesar Chavez Middle School students. We will also launch year two at our Google “Women in Tech” program in partnership with YWCA Silicon Valley where we are matching girls from Overfelt High School in San Jose with women working at Google, providing a bridge to opportunities available in the technology sector. In January, we will launch our newest Workplace Program at Zendesk in San Francisco in partnership with San Francisco Unified School District’s African American Achievement and Leadership Program. We are on target to serve more students in this program this year compared to last year.
We also initiated a brand new “Bigs in Blue” program in partnership with the Sunnyvale Public Safety (Police and Fire) Department. The Bigs in Blue program aims to build crucial bridges of support and understanding between communities and the police forces that serve them. A national program which other Big Brothers Big Sisters affiliates have adopted with promising results, we’re piloting this new program in Sunnyvale this year. We will match up to 10 police officers with children in the Sunnyvale community and with success in Sunnyvale, we hope to expand this program in other cities we are serving.
We are looking forward to continuing our partnership with the Korean American Community Foundation (KACF) fostering relationships with local Korean American‐serving organizations to increase the number of Korean American youth referred to our programs and matching them with caring mentors who share their Korean heritage.
As we embark on this new chapter, we expect to expand our services to more children on our waiting list. We will also continue to recruit new volunteer Bigs according to the diverse needs of each of our regions, and we will work with each new and continuing match to provide ongoing support. We seek to provide our Littles a diverse perspective on mentorship though our new partnerships at Zendesk and our Bigs in Blue program.
Even with all of the successes in 2017 carrying into 2018, the new year is not short of challenges for our organization as the new tax bill takes effect, it will impact philanthropy and revenue generation for charities across the nation in 2018. It is estimated that the new bill will drain anywhere from $16 billion to $24 billion from the nonprofit sector going forward. Providing some donors less of an incentive to give, the new regulations will pose funding challenges for us in the coming year.
Despite some challenges, in 2018 We are looking forward to marking our 60th anniversary year by kicking off National Mentoring Month with a celebration of our Bigs and the positive effects they have on our Littles.
Throughout 60 years in the Bay Area, we have seen significant change. What remains the same is the incredible adversity facing the youth in our communities -- and the commitment of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bay Area to empower these children through long lasting relationships.
We would not continue to have such a deep impact on the lives of children in the Bay Area without your support. I look forward to updating you about our progress in our 60th year.
I wish you and your family joy, good cheer and a very happy new year!
All My Very Best,
Chief Executive Officer