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April 16, 2021
Big Brothers Big Sisters of E. Mass. Raises $1M Virtually
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Massachusetts

March 1, 2021 — Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Massachusetts, a Boston-based nonprofit that provides adult mentors to help youth from under-resourced families reach their full potential, recently announced that it raised $1 million via its annual Big Night fundraiser, held virtually for the first time in its 22-year history.

Big Brother Big Sisters of Eastern Massachusetts (BBBSEM) aimed to raise $1 million, and surpassed that goal by $52,000.

The funds will support the organization’s year-round one-to-one mentoring programs, which are now being run virtually.

“No matter how society shifts, children will always need guidance from caring adult mentors,” says O’Donnell, president and CEO of BBBSEM. “Families have enough to worry about during this crisis, like school closures, childcare, food access and employment. We want to ensure our adult mentors remain a constant and accessible resource for youth who may feel a greater sense of instability right now and we want our adult volunteers to see the ripple effect that mentoring one child can have on families and communities at large.”

The fundraiser, held Feb. 25, attracted 250 participants, and generated 14% of BBBSEM's annual revenue. Last year’s Big Night event, held in person, raised $1.775 million.

Big Night is the nonprofit’s largest annual fundraiser. Since its inception in 1998, the event has raised more than $40 million, supporting more than 20,000 one-to-one friendships between young people and adult mentors across eastern Massachusetts.

“We rely heavily on revenue that comes from special events and we also receive government grants that are dependent upon the volume of matches we make,” said O’Donnell. “When the COVID crisis shut us down abruptly last spring, we were unable to raise $1.5 million of revenue that is critical to maintaining operations and running our programs.”

This year’s virtual event utilized the OneCause fundraising platform, which enabled BBBSEM to showcase remarks, a live fundraising segment, music from past Big Night performers, and a celebratory dedication to this years honorees.

BBBSEM traces its roots to the formation of the Big Brothers Association of Boston in 1949. In the late 1990s, it began matching girls and women in response to a request from Big Brothers Big Sisters of America to serve the Cape Ann area. In 2006, the organization merged with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cape Cod and the Islands, acquired Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Attleboro, and adopted its current name.

Today, BBBSEM annually serves 3,600 youth in Greater Boston, Cape Cod, and Martha's Vineyard, aiming to empower youth to achieve their full potential, contributing to healthier families, better schools, more confident futures, and stronger communities.

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