What started as a very $5,000 matching challenge grant from Priority Real Estate Group’s Jim Howard became a $25,000 match from several other businesses and community members to support Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of Bath/Brunswick. As a result, the agency has exceeded its matching goal for the Safeguarding Big Futures Fund, raising $56,000 to combat challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has created for the area’s most vulnerable community members.
Children participating in the BBBS program are continuing to meet in one-to-one mentoring relationships with their Big Brothers and Sisters either in person with new safety-conscious protocols or in a variety of virtual settings. Staff are working individually with each child, volunteer and family to meet their needs and the agency is also looking forward to partnering again with area schools as soon as possible to continue providing services, according to a statement from the agency.
While the influx of funding from the Safeguarding Big Futures Matching Fund will help keep the agency on track, Executive Director Lindsay MacDonald said the agency has challenging times ahead.
“Our funding has changed completely in the wake of COVID-19,” MacDonald said, due to unforeseen forced changes in fundraising events. “The result of that change is an expected loss of $100,000, or 36% of our budget.”
While the matching portion of the campaign is over, MacDonald said the fund is still active and will help to ensure the agency remains strong.
Children served by BBBS programs face exposure to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) at a much higher rate than the general population, according to the agency, and those challenges are compounded by social isolation and stress. BBBS warned that, post-COVID, children and families will continue to feel lasting, profound effects. Mentoring programs used by BBBS may help mitigate that while developing important social and emotional skills.
To learn more visit www.bbbsbathbrunswick.org/big-futures-fund or call (207) 729-7736.