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Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years Yes

Summary


Mission StatementMORE »

Big Sister Association of Greater Boston ignites girls’ passion and power to succeed through positive mentoring relationships with women and enrichment programs that support girls’ healthy development. For 65 years, Big Sister Boston has focused on meeting the unique needs of girls by providing them with the guidance, caring, and support of a Big Sister. Today, the organization serves more than 2,700 girls annually through professionally supported mentoring relationships with trained women mentors and enrichment activities that address the social-emotional development of girls age 7-20. Big Sister Boston is the only affiliate of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America federation to exclusively serve girls. We independently raise funding to bolster our programs, and 85% of our annual budget comes from private philanthropy.

Mission Statement

Big Sister Association of Greater Boston ignites girls’ passion and power to succeed through positive mentoring relationships with women and enrichment programs that support girls’ healthy development. For 65 years, Big Sister Boston has focused on meeting the unique needs of girls by providing them with the guidance, caring, and support of a Big Sister. Today, the organization serves more than 2,700 girls annually through professionally supported mentoring relationships with trained women mentors and enrichment activities that address the social-emotional development of girls age 7-20. Big Sister Boston is the only affiliate of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America federation to exclusively serve girls. We independently raise funding to bolster our programs, and 85% of our annual budget comes from private philanthropy.


FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2016 to Dec 31, 2016
Projected Income $3,650,860.00
Projected Expense $3,775,848.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Big for a Day
  • Community-Based Mentoring
  • High School Mentoring Academy (HSMA)
  • Site-Based Mentoring

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Overview

Mission Statement

Big Sister Association of Greater Boston ignites girls’ passion and power to succeed through positive mentoring relationships with women and enrichment programs that support girls’ healthy development. For 65 years, Big Sister Boston has focused on meeting the unique needs of girls by providing them with the guidance, caring, and support of a Big Sister. Today, the organization serves more than 2,700 girls annually through professionally supported mentoring relationships with trained women mentors and enrichment activities that address the social-emotional development of girls age 7-20. Big Sister Boston is the only affiliate of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America federation to exclusively serve girls. We independently raise funding to bolster our programs, and 85% of our annual budget comes from private philanthropy.


Background Statement

Big Sister Association of Greater Boston was founded in 1951 by three Cambridge residents who were troubled by the fact that, although the region had mentoring programs for boys, there were no such programs dedicated to supporting girls. The three founders believed that the region’s girls could also benefit from support and counsel from an adult outside of the home, and thus created our signature mentoring program in which girls (Little Sisters) are matched with caring, committed women mentors (Big Sisters). In our first year, we matched six girls with mentors; 65 years later, we serve more than 2,700 girls annually.

In addition to serving an ever-increasing number of girls over the years, BSAGB has continued to develop new, innovative programs. We launched our first Group Mentoring program in 1986, and developed Site-Based Mentoring (formerly School-Based Mentoring) in 2001. In 2003, we added Big for a Day, which includes fun activities to engage girls who are waiting to be matched with a mentor. In 2008, we started High School Mentoring Academy, a program that matches high school girls from Boston Latin Academy with elementary school girls from the Trotter Innovation School for a mentoring program focused on leadership development. Last year, we introduced a new program to meet the changing needs of girls: Real Choices Strong Voices (RCSV). RCSV is a workshop series designed to foster conversations between Big and Little Sisters around puberty, sexual health, and decision-making.

Impact Statement

In an increasingly complex and challenging time for adolescent girls, BSAGB’s portfolio of high impact mentoring programs and enrichment services address girls’ needs with expertise, innovation, and the transformative power of human connection.
 
Last year, participating Little Sisters demonstrated positive developmental outcomes:
 
87% plan to finish high school and go to college,
92% maintain positive achievement or improve in scholastic competence (improved school performance),
95% report positive achievement or improvements in social acceptance (high self-confidence), and
92% avoid risky behaviors, including using drugs and tobacco or skipping school.
 
By maintaining tight fiscal controls, balancing our revenue sources, and increasing profits from our earned income revenue source, we have maintained superior fiscal health. 
 
Drs. Jean Rhodes and Leon Litchfield of UMass Boston’s Donahue Institute recently published findings with regard to gender-specific mentoring in a report titled: The Role of Gender in Mentoring: A Three-Part Study. This quantitative analysis affirms our gender-specific approach to mentoring, and provides insight into the causal relationship between positive outcomes for girls and positive mentoring relationships.
 
In summary, the researchers concluded: “There are clear differences between girls and boys with respect to what they bring to the mentoring relationship, what they get out of the mentoring relationship, how long the matches last.... It is important to offer mentoring programs that take these differences into account and build on the inherent variations between female and male youth.”
 
Goals
1. Increase the number of girls served through one-to-one mentoring
2. Improve outcomes for girls by extending the length of time for each mentoring relationship and providing customized relationship building activities and experiences
3. Raise sustainable revenue to support an increase in service to girls throughout Greater Boston

Needs Statement

1. Financial contributions. BSAGB is a donor-supported mentoring organization with a sophisticated approach to mentoring. In order to maintain our program standards and operations, we must raise more than $3M annually. Cash contributions support our general operations, professional staff with specialized licenses and degrees in social work, child development, education, and public health.
 
2. Women volunteers. We need women who are willing to commit one year, or 12 consecutive months, to mentor a girl. Time commitment is the number one factor for our need to recruit mentors. Our most pressing recruitment need is for more women of color as mentors. Eighty-nine percent of the girls we serve are girls of color, while 32% of our mentors are women of color.
 
3. Board members. BSAGB seeks senior executive leadership for our Board of Directors. New Board Members are recruited by the Nominating and Governance Committee and they are officially welcomed to the Board of Directors at our Annual Meeting in May.
 
4. Language skills. In addition to our need to hire staff experienced in child development and social work, we also need staff with multi-lingual and multi-cultural skills and understanding in order to serve the growing immigrant population in Boston.

CEO Statement

For six decades, we’ve been steadfast in our belief that by focusing on the healthy development of girls, we are preparing the next generation of mothers, teachers, doctors and business leaders. We are creating a vibrant community where girls know that there is no limit to what they can achieve. Many of our stories haven’t changed over the years: our Big and Little Sisters are still discovering and learning together; they continue to try new activities like kayaking and skiing; they make crafts and bake together; they go to the movies and visit museums; and, they spend time talking about their hopes and dreams. A child and an adult, who were once strangers, become life-long friends. In each story you hear the threads of trust, sharing, openness, humor, understanding and compassion that create a bond of love that is life changing.
 

It is time for us to build upon years of experience and knowledge that we have gained throughout our history. We are in the process of developing a new strategic plan that articulates our vision and guides us toward broader, deeper impacts for the communities we serve.

Through tailored training and support groups, activity tracks, and advice, Big Sisters will be better equipped to guide their Little Sisters through the choices and challenges they face as girls, as teens, and as young women. Our new strategy also takes us further into the community by engaging more partners in our mission. In addition to expanding our reach with the creation of a Diversity Council, Alumnae Association and a Young Professional Board, we now have a Little Sister Board, which gives teens ages 13-20 a greater voice in the organization. You have helped shape our history and you will help shape our future as a funder, a friend, as an advocate, as a Big Sister. It is because of you, that we are making multi-generational change in Greater Boston. Our history is her future.


Board Chair Statement

Big Sister Association is in year three of our new strategic direction:, segmenting our services by Little Sisters’ age and stage of development. This allows our staff to focus on supporting matches with age appropriate information and activities, and to address in a very systematic and thorough way the concerns of girls as they grow and change throughout the mentoring relationship.

There are thousands of girls in Greater Boston whose lives are better because of Big Sister. There are hundreds of families who are feeling a ripple effect because of the support and strength that a mentoring relationship has brought to a daughter or sister. And there are many neighborhoods in the city of Boston that benefit from the work we do to ensure that girls grow up to be strong, confident, successful members of the community. Many Little Sisters have faced challenges. But the relationship that they have with a Big Sister has given them the strength to believe in themselves, the courage to explore life’s options, and the confidence to be successful.


Geographic Area Served

Greater Boston Region-All Neighborhoods

Boston: Dorchester, Hyde Park, Roslindale, Roxbury, Mission Hill, South End, Mattapan, Charlestown, East Boston; South Shore: Quincy, Braintree, Weymouth, Milton, Westwood, Medfield, west to Wayland and south to Foxboro; Brookline, Cambridge, Arlington, Somerville, Chelsea, Everett, Revere, Malden, Lynn, Peabody, north to Boxford.

Organization Categories

  1. Youth Development - Big Brother, Big Sisters
  2. Human Services - Children's and Youth Services
  3. -

Independent research has been conducted on this organization's theory of change or on the effectiveness of this organization's program(s)

Yes

Programs

Big for a Day

Big For a Day (BFAD) is a vital program to engage the girls on our wait list while our staff conducts the necessary steps to find an appropriate Big Sister. In this program, women are matched with a girl on our wait list for a one-time Big Sister activity such as bowling, a dance class, a martial arts workshop, even a scavenger hunt at the Aquarium. Big for a Day activities occur once a month on a Saturday. Women can volunteer as little as twice a year or as often as once a month. Volunteers who participate in Big For a Day are asked to transport the girls to and from the events, either by car or by public transportation.

Budget  $50,000.00
Category  Human Services, General/Other Children & Youth Services
Population Served Females Children Only (5 - 14 years) At-Risk Populations
Program Short-Term Success 

The objective of our Big For a Day program, which serves more than 300 girls annually, is to keep girls and families engaged with our organization while we work to match the girls with their permanent Big Sisters. The success of this program is monitored by tracking the girls on our wait list and ensuring they are matched with a Big Sister. Our goal is to provide girls with a long lasting mentoring relationship, at which point they no longer participate in Big For a Day activities.

Program Long-Term Success 

The objective of our Big For a Day program, which serves more than 300 girls annually, is to keep girls and families engaged with our organization while we work to match the girls with their permanent Big Sisters. The success of this program is monitored by tracking the girls on our wait list and ensuring they are matched with a Big Sister. Our goal is to provide girls with a long lasting mentoring relationship, at which point they no longer participate in Big For a Day activities.

Program Success Monitored By 

The objective of our Big For a Day program, which serves more than 300 girls annually, is to keep girls and families engaged with our organization while we work to match the girls with their permanent Big Sisters. The success of this program is monitored by tracking the girls on our wait list and ensuring they are matched with a Big Sister. Our goal is to provide girls with a long lasting mentoring relationship, at which point they no longer participate in Big For a Day activities.

Examples of Program Success 

 

As Little Sister Leeleska awaited being matched with her permanent Big Sister, she first attended our annual December, Big For a Day event: the Winter Wonderland Party. Leeleska told us that even though she was still waiting for her Big Sister, that day “was the best day of [her] life!” Leeleska was matched with her Big Sister three months later and the pair continue to develop their relationship each week.

 


Community-Based Mentoring

Community-Based Mentoring is our signature, and largest program. It is a one-to-one mentoring program that matches girls with women mentors. Big Sisters and Little Sisters meet on days and times of their choosing and engage in various enrichment activities in the community, many recommended and hosted by BSAGB. Big and Little Sisters are assigned to a Match Support Specialist who checks in with the Big Sister, Little Sister, and Little Sister’s family on a regular basis. This specialist provides guidance to the Big Sister on ways in which she can best support and encourage her Little Sister. Big Sisters receive a monthly e-newsletter, written by our program staff, which offers guidance and insight on issues which may be affecting their Little Sisters, including current events in our local community, or on a broader scale, economic and societal issues.
Budget  $1,600,000.00
Category  Human Services, General/Other Mentoring
Population Served K-12 (5-19 years) Females At-Risk Populations
Program Short-Term Success 
The changed behaviors that Little Sisters demonstrate in school and at home today, translate into success now and for the future.
 

1.     Social acceptance (increased confidence): 98%

2.     Avoiding risky behaviors such as: using drugs and tobacco or skipping school: 96%

3.     Educational expectations including graduating from high school, enrolling in college, and graduating from college: 87%

 4.  Scholastic competence (improved school performance): 92%

Program Long-Term Success  The "Little Sister Research Project" was conducted in the summer of 2011. The goal of the project was to gather targeted social outcomes data from former Little Sisters who are currently or were previously engaged in a one-to-one mentoring relationship through Big Sister's Community-Based Mentoring Program. Current and former Little Sisters, ages 18-25 were asked to complete a brief questionnaire regarding their match experience, educational attainment, employment status, and parenting. The outreach yielded 74 total completed questionnaires. The data listed below provides a revealing snapshot as to the potential positive impact a one-to-one mentoring relationship, as facilitated and supported by Big Sister Association of Greater Boston, has on the social and educational well-being of participating girls.

Match Satisfaction

Little Sisters were asked to rate their satisfaction with the match experience on a scale from 1 – 5, with 1 = Very Positive, and 5 = Very Negative.

  • Results: Respondents experienced an average match satisfaction of 1.3

 Educational Attainment

  • High school graduation results:
    • 81% of respondents are high school graduates
    • 9% of respondents are currently enrolled in high school
    • 5% of respondents indicated "other" (currently enrolled in a GED program)
    • 4% of respondents reported no plans toward earning high school degree
  • Post-secondary education results:
    • 90% of respondents who have graduated from high school are currently or formerly enrolled in university, college, community college, professional, or trade school programs

 Employment

  • 47% of respondents are currently employed in full-time, part-time, or summer jobs
  • Note: Many respondents are high school or full-time college students and are not currently seeking employment

 Teen Pregnancy and Parenting

  • 8% of respondents (6 total) have one or more children. Only 2 of these respondents gave birth prior to turning 18 years of age.
Program Success Monitored By 
We hold ourselves accountable for all Little Sisters served in our programs to achieve key developmental outcomes, including higher aspirations, greater confidence, and better relationships; avoidance of risky behaviors, and educational success, as measured by the Youth Outcomes Survey (YOS) evaluation tool. Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA) and researcher Jean Rhodes, PhD., Professor of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts, created this survey tool, used nationwide by BBBSA affiliates. Administered prior to the start of each match, and then at one-year intervals, the YOS asks 32 questions related to the youth’s feelings about expectations, behaviors, and academic performance. 
 
We include maintenance of positive outcomes along with improvements in our overall measure, because they indicate that Little Sisters are developing resiliency against the risk factors they face in their environments.
Examples of Program Success 

Before she was matched with Big Sister Luz in February 2014, Little Sister Natalia’s grades varied widely and she had some past discipline issues.  She kept to herself at first, but Big Sister Luz’s efforts to get to know Natalia at her own pace paid off. Natalia soon became comfortable with her new Big Sister to share more of her thoughts and feelings. When the Sisters are together, they might joke around, plan their next adventure, or talk about their big plans for the future, including Luz’s goal of graduating from college. “If I’m bringing myself down, Luz will bring me back up,” said Little Sister Natalia. “When I hang with my friends, we don’t talk like I talk with Luz. My mom and I are close, but when I talk with Luz it’s different. I’m a like a grown woman with her.”

 

Now a sophomore at Snowden International School, an academically rigorous school in Boston Public Schools, Natalia is determined to go to college and wants to become a counselor for teenagers.


High School Mentoring Academy (HSMA)

BSAGB partners with Boston Latin Academy and Trotter Innovation School, located in Dorchester, to pair young girls with high school-aged mentors. HSMA is noteworthy for a number of reasons: it pairs elementary school-aged girls with mentors at a high-achieving exam school; it gives high school girls a leadership opportunity; and, it provides a space for girls to interact with mentors who reflect their race and culture.

All Big Sisters participate in an initial training and orientation session that reviews key elements of relationship building, preparing the Big Sisters to mentor their Little Sisters, who attend the Trotter.

BSAGB has developed a structured curriculum for Girls' Leadership Project, a weekly component of HSMA for Big Sisters that includes dialogue and group activities.  In GLP they discuss their ongoing relationships with their Little Sisters and participate in activities focused on developing their leadership skills and improve their educational and career plans. GLP actively lets girls have a voice; by mentoring younger girls they grow their confidence and develop into stronger role models. After GLP, Little Sisters join the group and spend quality time with their mentors. Big Sister staff remains among the Big and Little Sisters throughout the duration of their time together, promoting healthy relationships and supporting the Big Sisters through any issues that arise.
Budget  $70,000.00
Category  Human Services, General/Other Mentoring
Population Served Females Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) At-Risk Populations
Program Short-Term Success 

 

The High School Mentoring Academy is part of our School-Based Mentoring program. Please refer to the Youth Outcome Survey (YOS) results for our School-Based Mentoring program.
Program Long-Term Success 

 

The High School Mentoring Academy is part of our School-Based Mentoring program. Please refer to the Youth Outcome Survey (YOS) results for our School-Based Mentoring program.
Program Success Monitored By 


The High School Mentoring Academy is part of our School-Based Mentoring program. Please refer to the description of our Youth Outcome Survey (YOS) in the School-Based Mentoring section of Big Sister's profile.
 
Examples of Program Success 

Little Sister Ariyana and Big Sister Brianna were matched with one another about a year and a half ago. Nine-year-old Ariyana is a fifth grader at William M. Trotter Elementary School; Brianna, 17, is a junior at Boston Latin Academy. Brianna takes her mentoring role seriously—she steers Ariyana to listen to age-appropriate music, encourages her to concentrate on education, and helped her overcome bullying that she faced at school. “I see Brianna as my Big Sister,” says Ariyana. “I actually feel related to her.”


Site-Based Mentoring

Sites-Based Mentoring (SBM) creates one-to-one mentoring relationships between women and elementary school-aged girls in more than 30 Boston Public Schools and community centers. Girls in SBM are referred by teachers and other school staff who observe the girls on a day-to-day basis, and consequently identify those who can benefit most from a caring mentor. Big and Little Sisters spend one hour together every week throughout the duration of the academic year. During these visits, Big and Little Sisters read together, play games or work on school assignments, promoting positive and accepting relationships between the girls and their mentors. Teachers report that participating Little Sisters demonstrate improvements in the classroom, including an increase in participation and improved grades as well as a better sense of the future.
Budget  $900,000.00
Category  Human Services, General/Other Mentoring
Population Served Females Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) At-Risk Populations
Program Short-Term Success 

 

Improvements in EDUCATIONAL EXPECTATIONS

Finish high School: 91.8%

Go to College: 90.4%

Improvements in GRADES

Mathematics: 67.1%

Science: 66.2%

Reading/Language Arts: 69.9%

Improvements in RISK ATTITUDES

Drugs: 100%

Tobacco: 97.2%

Skipping School: 95.8%

Late for School: 78.1%

Truancy: 68.1%

Special Adult: 95.8%

Program Long-Term Success 

In June 2009, Harris Interactive conducted a study for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA) surveying adults who had participated in BBBSA programs and those who did not. Of those adults who were “Littles”:
  • 76% say their mentor helped them learn right from wrong;
  • 64% are very satisfied with life;
  • 81% say having a mentor changed their perspective on life;
  • 77% say having a mentor helped them do better in school; and,
  • 46% have incomes over $75,000.
Program Success Monitored By 

In 2006, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA) partnered with Public/Private Ventures (P/PV) and Dr. Jean Rhodes to create a new survey instrument to assess our program’s effects on participating youth: the Youth Outcomes Survey (YOS). Since 2006, we have collaborated nationwide to test the tool and examine its effectiveness; and, in August 2009, Big Sister Association began to implement the YOS in all programs.

The YOS embodies larger organizational efforts to outline which targeted outcomes we believe could and should be achieved through mentoring, and to rigorously assess whether they were yielding those outcomes. It examines five areas of youthwell-being: scholastic efficacy, social acceptance, educational expectations, grades and parental trust. We administer the survey to Little Sisters at the beginning of the program (to establish a baseline) and then again at the end of the year to measure changes, significantly increasing the rigor of the evaluation effort and the conclusiveness of the findings.

We hold ourselves accountable for each child in our mentoring program achieving: higher aspirations, greater confidence, and better relationships; avoidance of risky behaviors, and educational success.

Examples of Program Success 

Katherine Shea has been matched with her Little Sister Victorya for more than two years. Katherine and Victorya first met at Harvard-Kent Elementary School in Charlestown where Katherine volunteered as a Big Sister. After a year and a half of meeting during Victorya’s lunchtime, they decided to expand their relationship and meet on weekends. Katherine and Victorya enjoy spending one-on-one time together, talking, and exploring Boston. When the pair first met, Victorya was very shy and silent. Over time, she has opened up to her Big Sister and the two have become close confidants.


CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

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Management


CEO/Executive Director Ms. Deborah Re
CEO Term Start Sept 2006
CEO Email [email protected]
CEO Experience A lifelong resident of Boston, Deborah Re has more than 20 years of management, entrepreneurial, and organizational development experience. In her role, Deb leads the agency by improving organizational capacity, maintaining high program quality, and increasing visibility and fund raising. Before joining BSAGB as CEO in 2006, Deb worked for City Year Boston where she served as Executive Director. Prior to her management of City Year, Deb was President and Founder of Bridges to Business, a company that specialized in training and placing young adults with non-traditional backgrounds in the workforce. In addition, she has 16 years of experience in the private sector as Vice President of Administration for Keyport Life Insurance Company. As a testament to her commitment to the community, she received the 2001 LeadBoston Community award, the 2001 Heroes Among Us award from the Boston Celtics, the 2011 Changing People’s Lives award from Grand Circle Corporation, and the 2015 Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce’s Pinnacle Award for Achievement in Management in the Nonprofit Sector. She serves on the Advisory Board for the West End House Boys and Girls Club, the Selection Advisory Council of the Greenlight Fund, and is co-chair of Mass Mentoring Partnership’s Leadership Council. In 2014 Deb was appointed to the City of Boston Women’s Commission, and also served on Governor Charlie Baker’s transition team. Deb holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Co-CEO --
Co-CEO Term Start --
Co-CEO Email --
Co-CEO Experience --

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
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Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
Mr. C. Wes Enicks Vice President of Development Wes Enicks joined Big Sister in 2014 as the VP of Development. He comes to our organization with more than ten years’ professional experience in development, marketing, and management, as well as volunteer experience in mentoring - as a Big Brother himself for three years. Most recently, Wes served as the Director of Development for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southeastern Pennsylvania, leading the organization to a 25% increase in individual, corporate, and special events fundraising over the past three years. In addition to his three years in this role, he has three years of experience as an annual giving officer in higher education and four years of direct sales experience. Wes grew up in Brookline and Wellesley; working at Big Sister will be a return home for him. Wes earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at Wittenberg University, and a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership from Cabrini College.
Ms. Alexis Harvey VP of Operations

Alexis Harvey began her employment with Big Sister in 2007 as the Associate Director of Development. She also served as Director of Development before being promoted to the position of VP of Operations in 2012. Prior to joining Big Sister, Alexis was a Campaign Director with Lynch Development Associates (LDA) in Huntington, NY. At LDA, Alexis counseled more than twenty non-profit organizations on capital campaign fundraising. She also helped to raise more than $20M for the improvement of churches, schools, and community centers, directed the marketing strategies for each campaign, organized community volunteers, and managed outreach efforts. Alexis graduated from Mount St. Mary’s College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations and French.

Ms. Maren Juliano Vice President of Marketing Maren Juliano joined Big Sister Boston as the Marketing Communications Specialist in 2006. During her first four years at BSAGB, Maren was promoted to Director of Marketing & Communications. After roles at Massachusetts General Hospital and Alphabetica, Maren returned to Big Sister Boston in 2015 to spearhead the organization’s marketing efforts in her current role. At Big Sister Boston, Maren develops the brand strategy, publication content, visual design, and online marketing. Though she began her career as a media planner/buyer at advertising agencies in Virginia and Boston, at the heart of her work is a passion for BSAGB’s gender-specific mission and a desire to educate and inspire volunteers, funders, and partners. Maren holds a B.A. in English and Anthropology from Bucknell University and a Master’s degree in Advertising from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communication at Syracuse University.
Ms. Mia Roberts Vice President of Strategic Partnerships

Mia Roberts joined Big Sister in May 2002 as our Chief Operating Officer. She served in this position until 2012, when she became the VP of Recruitment and Community Partnerships, a newly created position. Prior to joining Big Sister, Mia served as Director of Development for the Efficacy Institute, a not-for-profit Massachusetts-based organization committed to developing all children to high standards, especially children of color and the economically disadvantaged.  She also held the position of Regional Compensation and Performance Administrator for 7,000 employees in 20 locations at the Dayton-Hudson Department Store Company. Mia graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration.

Mr. Matthew Spuck Vice President of Finance --
Ms. Heidi Ziobro Vice President of Programs & Recruitment

Heidi Ziobro joined Big Sister in 2010 as the VP of Programs. She graduated from Northeastern University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice and earned her Master of Science degree in Psychology from American International College. She is also a licensed social worker.  She began her career as a program manager for Lifeworks, Inc., located in Westwood, MA, helping to provide homes, jobs, and supportive living to adults with developmental disabilities.  She then worked at Vinfen Corporation, based in Boston, as a program director for six years. At Vinfen, Heidi worked with adults who have psychiatric disabilities and assisted them with their rehabilitation goals. As a former Big Sister, Heidi experienced the direct positive impact that a professionally supported mentoring relationship can have on both the Big and Little Sister. She was drawn to the opportunity to work for Big Sister Association in a role that would allow her to grow and expand programs to serve more girls and women throughout our city.

Awards

Award Awarding Organization Year
Gold Standard Award Big Brothers Big Sisters of America Nationwide Leadership Council 2015
Pinnacle Award for Achievement in Management in the Non-Profit Sector (D. Re) Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce 2015
Quality Award Big Brothers Big Sisters of America Nationwide Leadership Council 2014
Be the Change Massachusetts Conference for Women 2011
Changing People's Lives (Deborah Re) Grand Circle Foundation 2011
Excellence in Management Massachusetts Nonprofit Network 2009
Partner Member Massachusetts Mentoring Partnership --

Affiliations

Affiliation Year
AFP (Association of Fundraising Professionals) --
Member of state association of nonprofits? Yes
Name of state association Massachusetts Nonprofit Network

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --

Collaborations

 Big Sister Association of Greater Boston works with more than 50 community centers, housing developments, and public, private and charter schools in the Greater Boston area. Each of these collaborations allows us to provide Big Sisters to girls where they live and learn, making it an easier, more feasible fit for many of our volunteer mentors and families. We are proud of our long-standing partnerships and eager to create new partnerships as schools and community centers reach out to Big Sister for mentoring programs. In addition, we collaborate with the following youth-serving organizations to enhance our program offerings for the girls of Greater Boston: Mass Mentoring Partnership, Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Women’s Network, Girls LEAP, The Girls Initiative, Strong Women, Strong Girls, Boston Cares, and the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley.

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

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Foundation Comments

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Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 48
Number of Part Time Staff 11
Number of Volunteers 2,565
Number of Contract Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % --

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 8
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 1
Caucasian: 37
Hispanic/Latino: 7
Native American/American Indian: 1
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 1 (Multi-Racial)
Gender Female: 52
Male: 3
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has Strategic Plan? Under Development
Years Strategic Plan Considers --
Management Succession Plan --
Business Continuity of Operations Plan Yes
Organization Policies And Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes
State Registration Yes

Risk Management Provisions

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Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually

Governance


Board Chair Mr. Thomas L. Barrette
Board Chair Company Affiliation Holland & Knight, LLP
Board Chair Term May 2016 - May 2018
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Mr. Maxwell Bardeen UBS Financial Voting
Mr. Thomas L. Barrette Jr. Holland + Knight Voting
Mr. David Bruce Highland Street Foundation Voting
Ms. Terri Z. Campbell Liberty Mutual Insurance Voting
Ms. Carolyn Clancy Fidelity Investments Voting
Ms. Denise Coll Community Volunteer Voting
Ms. Carey Cort Webb Innovation Center for Dyslexia Voting
Mr. Marc Crisafulli Suffolk Construction Company Voting
Ms. Deborah Daccord Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky, and Popeo, P.C. Voting
Dr. Wing de la Torre Community Volunteer Voting
Ms. Jane Deery PGR Media Voting
Ms. Patrice DeVoe Tufts Health Plan Voting
Mrs. Suzanne Fay Glynn Glynn Law Offices Voting
Mr. David Gow Ernst & Young LLP Voting
Mr. Andrew Graff Allen & Gerritsen Voting
Mrs. Lisa Hughes WBZ-TV Voting
Mrs. Aileen Keaney Audax Group Voting
Ms. Colleen Keating Starwood Hotels & Resorts Voting
Ms. Christina Lewis Hinckley Allen Voting
Ms. Brenda Lyons State Street Corporation Voting
Ms. Amanda Martinez Boston Scientific Voting
Mrs. Sharon McNally The Connors Family Office Voting
Mr. Juan Carlos Morales TIAA-CREF Voting
Mr. Timothy J. O'Brien Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Voting
Mr. Joseph T. Realmuto Jr. PWC Voting
Ms. Eneida Roman Roman Law Offices Voting
Mr. James Speros Fidelity Investments Voting
Ms. Karen Voci Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation Voting
Ms. Mariann Youniss Community Volunteer Voting
Mr. John Yozell Yozell Associates Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Mr. Andrew Brewster Audax Group NonVoting
Ms. Jackie Bright Houghton Mifflin Harcourt NonVoting
Mr. Samuel Chambers City of Boston NonVoting
Ms. Heather Cloran Massachusetts Health Connector NonVoting
Ms. Megan Cooney Morgan Stanley NonVoting
Ms. Talia Doucette HP Hood LLC NonVoting
Ms. Elisabeth Egan Oliver Wyman NonVoting
Ms. Danielle Erdmann eSec Lending NonVoting
Ms. Shannon Felton British Consulate-General, Boston NonVoting
Ms. Christina Fish O'Neill and Associates NonVoting
Ms. Genevieve Gilroy MFS Investment Management NonVoting
Ms. Caitlin Glynn Taylor, Ganson, and Perrin, LLP NonVoting
Mr. Sam Howe FleishmanHillard NonVoting
Ms. Lauren Jackson Deloitte NonVoting
Ms. Kinsey Kornack Fidelity Investments NonVoting
Ms. Nadine LeBranti John Hancock NonVoting
Mr. Derek Losi Cresa Boston NonVoting
Ms. Lily Lynch Massachusetts Nonprofit Network NonVoting
Mr. Alex Martin Eaton Vance Management NonVoting
Mr. Chris Nabhan Eaton Vance Management NonVoting
Ms. Carrie O'Laughlin Dimagi NonVoting
Mr. Joe Papa Yozell Associates NonVoting
Ms. Liz Peters Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts NonVoting
Ms. Jacquelyn Redmond Dhar Law NonVoting
Ms. Courtney Scott Choate, Hall & Stewart NonVoting
Ms. Amy Sennett WilmerHale NonVoting
Ms. Alana Skorniakoff Boston University NonVoting
Ms. Jen Smith United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley NonVoting
Ms. Emily Trautwein -- --
Ms. Nikki White uApsire NonVoting
Ms. Sydney Wojtowicz Harvard University Clinical Research Group NonVoting

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Mr. Jack Agnew Agnew Carter MS&L NonVoting
Ms. Jane Alpers Denneen & Company NonVoting
Ms. Denise Jefferson Casper United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts NonVoting
Ms. Susan B. Connolly Mercer NonVoting
Ms. Christine Creelman Consultant NonVoting
Ms. Susan M. Esper Deloitte NonVoting
Ms. Sue Hoffman Community Volunteer NonVoting
Ms. Sabrina Hundley Nicholson -- NonVoting
Ms. Renee Landers Suffolk University Law School NonVoting
Ms. Carol McKean Carol McKean Events NonVoting
Ms. Mishelle Michaels Community Volunteer NonVoting
Ms. Dolores Mitchell Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Group Insurance Commission NonVoting
Ms. Janet Humdy Morrison Novations, Inc. NonVoting
Ms. Lynne O'Connor Forrester Research NonVoting
Ms. Margot Phelps -- NonVoting
Ms. Lisa Scannell Isaacson, Miller NonVoting
Ms. Jacqueline Sonnabend Sonesta International Hotels NonVoting
Ms. Beth Terrana Community Volunteer NonVoting
Ms. Pat Tietbohl Accounting Management Solutions NonVoting
Ms. Marie Turley Community Volunteer NonVoting
Ms. Liz Walker Liz Walker Journey Productions NonVoting

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 1
Caucasian: 26
Hispanic/Latino: 3
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 19
Male: 11
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 2
Board Term Limits --
Board Meeting Attendance % --
Written Board Selection Criteria Yes
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions --
Constituency Includes Client Representation No

Standing Committees

  • Audit, Compliance and Controls
  • Communications / Promotion / Publicity / Public Relations
  • Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
  • Diversity & Inclusion
  • Executive
  • Investment

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

--

Foundation Comments

--

Financials


Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Total Revenue $3,595,223 $3,181,255 $3,240,584
Total Expenses $3,496,807 $3,016,531 $2,824,922

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- -- --
Government Contributions $4,000 $16,131 $47,078
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified $4,000 $16,131 $47,078
Individual Contributions $1,555,387 $1,222,370 $1,364,606
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue -- -- --
Investment Income, Net of Losses $326,882 $128,965 $165,396
Membership Dues -- -- --
Special Events $1,169,786 $1,235,028 $1,179,042
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other $539,168 $578,761 $484,462

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Program Expense $2,623,023 $2,233,195 $2,099,227
Administration Expense $268,523 $292,049 $197,582
Fundraising Expense $605,261 $491,287 $528,113
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.03 1.05 1.15
Program Expense/Total Expenses 75% 74% 74%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 22% 20% 20%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Total Assets $4,266,691 $4,511,821 $4,356,704
Current Assets $1,243,624 $1,064,695 $954,741
Long-Term Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Current Liabilities $223,613 $190,778 $168,756
Total Net Assets $4,043,078 $4,321,043 $4,187,948

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
1st (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --

Financial Planning

Endowment Value $900,000.00
Spending Policy Percentage
Percentage(If selected) 5.0%
Credit Line Yes
Reserve Fund Yes
How many months does reserve cover? --

Capital Campaign

Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Purpose --
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? --

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 5.56 5.58 5.66

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 0% 0%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

--

Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in the charts and graphs above is per the organization's IRS Form 990s. Contributions from foundations and corporations are listed under individuals when the breakout was not available.

Documents


Other Documents

No Other Documents currently available.

Impact

The Impact tab is a section on the Giving Common added in October 2013; as such the majority of nonprofits have not yet had the chance to complete this voluntary section. The purpose of the Impact section is to ask five deceptively simple questions that require reflection and promote communication about what really matters – results. The goal is to encourage strategic thinking about how a nonprofit will achieve its goals. The following Impact questions are being completed by nonprofits slowly, thoughtfully and at the right time for their respective organizations to ensure the most accurate information possible.


1. What is your organization aiming to accomplish?

Our mentoring has a significant, positive impact on girls’ lives across a broad spectrum of developmental outcomes. We measure success of current Little Sisters with an evidenced-based tool designed by Jean Rhodes of UMass Boston's Donahue Institute; and we partner with researchers and experts to further our knowledge and to improve practices in the field of mentoring. The objective of our one-to-one mentoring programs is to create lasting and supportive mentoring relationships that support each girl’s social-emotional development so that girls can achieve academic success, and become healthy and successful contributors to our shared community. In 2013, we served a total of 2,643 girls living in 69 cities and towns throughout Greater Boston.
 
We hold ourselves accountable for all girls served in our programs achieving key developmental outcomes. For Little Sisters living in Greater Boston we see dramatic outcomes from their relationships with their Big Sisters. Below are the results of the 2013 Youth Outcomes Survey, a tool designed by expert researchers in the field of mentoring. Girls served in our mentoring programs reported maintaining positive achievement or improving in the following areas:
  • Finishing high school: 91% CBM; 82% SBM
  • Going to college: 87% CBM; 85% SBM
  • Ability to avoid risk behaviors such as: drugs (98% CBM; 97% SBM), tobacco (96% CBM; 98% SBM), and skipping school (97% CBM and SBM)
  • Social acceptance: 75% CBM; 72% SBM
  • Grades in mathematics (68% CBM; 81% SBM); science (66% CBM; 70% SBM); and reading/language arts (70% CBM; 76% SBM)
  • Scholastic competence: 63% CBM; 65% SBM
In addition, our Little Sisters demonstrated an ability to avoid teen pregnancy (92% of former Little Sisters ages 18-25 had no children before age 18), and achieve educational success (94.5% of Little Sisters have graduated from high school).
We will know if we have been successful if: relationships are lasting on average more than twelve months; girls are demonstrating improvements in the key developmental outcomes listed above; and girls who complete the program are graduating from high school, enrolling in post-secondary education, and delay starting a family.

2. What are your strategies for making this happen?

We are currently in the fourth year of a successful strategic plan to deepen the impact of our mentoring services and to achieve improved outcomes. We are implementing this strategy through two objectives:
  1. Segmenting our mentoring services by girls’ age. We give mentors the tools they need to help Little Sisters overcome typical challenges in age-appropriate ways. Whether it be helping them develop study habits, select a high school, or assisting with college and scholarship applications, Big Sisters can promote Little Sisters’ educational success.
  2. Growing our neighborhood immersion programs. We partner with government agencies and area nonprofits to offer more robust services to Greater Boston’s girls, and to connect girls and their families to much-needed resources. Our partnerships include the Boston Housing Authority, the Boston Public Health Commission, the Boston Police Department, Mass Mentoring Partnership, Big Brothers Big Sisters of MA Bay, and more than 50 schools and community centers throughout the region.
Big Sister’s staff recruits, enrolls, trains, and supports Big Sisters so that they have the knowledge, skills, and resources needed to be effective mentors. At area colleges and corporations we recruit volunteers; we answer questions about program requirements, collect applications, and begin the enrollment process. Next, we conduct interviews to gain a comprehensive understanding of each volunteer’s motivation and expectation for the program. For the safety of the girls in our program, we require a CORI background check as well as three personal references. Another team works to schedule interviews with potential Little Sisters and their families, for in-home, psycho-social assessments. The data gathered during these interviews provides the information we need to determine the appropriate fit for each Little Sister, Big Sister, and family. In addition to personal preferences and requests, we consider geographic location for ease of weekly visits. As we work to determine the best “match”, Big Sisters are required to attend a full-day training session about the roles, expectations, and boundaries of mentoring relationships. Our Match Support Specialists accompany Big Sisters on the first home visit with the Little Sister to assist with introductions, reiterate the expectations of the program to all parties, and help plan the next “match” meeting. Each match is assigned to that staff person so that the Big Sister, Little Sister, and family have an experienced resource to turn to when issues arise. We proactively contact all parties monthly to offer activity ideas, coaching, and crisis intervention. We support matches until the Little Sister reaches 20 years of age.
The goal of our thorough enrollment and match support process is to establish a relationship with the highest potential for long-term success.

3. What are your organization’s capabilities for doing this?

Big Sister is comprised of 43 full time equivalent staff; and, we have a Board of Directors of 30 men and women who donate their time and financial resources to Big Sister. Chief Executive Officer, Deborah Re, is a lifelong resident of Boston and a seasoned business executive in both the private and non-profit sectors with demonstrated skills in program development, team-building, operations, community and civic outreach, fundraising and public relations. Five senior managers with a combined total of 25 years of service to Big Sister, report to the CEO. Four program managers report to the Vice President of Programs, and the remainder of our staff is in direct service to the mentors, children, and families we serve. Eighty percent of our staff is direct service staff. Each of our mentoring programs is managed by a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). All direct service staff have backgrounds in social work, education, gender studies, psychology, and/or child development.
Big Sister ranks among the top Big Brothers Big Sisters of America affiliates for the number of children served, high quality performance results, and financial strength and stability. We have received multiple awards for our results; and, we regularly participate in local and national research to further enhance the field of mentoring.
Big Sister collaborates with other organizations to help us sustain our programs and achieve our vision of a mentor-rich community that actively identifies and addresses girls’ needs. We partner with more than 50 community centers (public, private and charter schools, as well as four housing developments) as locations for our site-based mentoring programs. Collaboration with community organizations is a central component of the work we do to recruit volunteers and serve girls. Additionally, robust partnerships with government agencies help us strategically address the problems facing Little Sisters. The Boston Housing Authority helps us provide services to girls and families living in public housing. We work with the Boston Public Health Commission to address the prevention of sexually transmitted infections in Boston’s neighborhoods. The Boston Police Department helps our recruitment efforts, provides safety training to girls and their mentors, and offers mentors transportation to and from housing developments.
Big Sister’s strengths include: our reputation in the communities we serve, as demonstrated by our strong relationships with community organizations; the dedication of our volunteer boards and mentors, as illustrated by their generosity and average length of service; our institutional knowledge and experience in the field of mentoring; our evidence-based model; and our sophisticated outcome measurement tools created by expert researchers. We have the infrastructure, skills, and experience to fulfill the unmet need for girls by matching them with compassionate women mentors in the community.
Big Sister sustains our 60+ year presence through a diverse portfolio of funders, including private foundations, corporations, individuals, and our revenue-generating Big Brother Big Sister Foundation, which collects and sells donated items. Big Sister Association has a healthy and robust financial position, including a full-year of operating expenses in short and long-term investments. This is the result of sound fiscal discipline with minimal impact to program services, number of girls served, and quality of service. We successfully balanced our budget in 2013, completing the year with an operating surplus of $300,000.

4. How will your organization know if you are making progress?

Big Sister collects and stores program data using a proprietary database, the Agency Information Management System (AIM). AIM allows Big Sister to track and evaluate relationships between our volunteers and the girls we serve. Through AIM, our program staff tracks the details of volunteer referral sources, program standards, quality assurance, contact rates, and our customer service standards. We then measure: number of girls served (monthly, comparing numbers to our goals and data from previous years); match length (monthly and year-to-date); 6-month and 12-month retention rates for matches; the enrollment wait time for Big and Little Sisters (length of time between submitting an application, to interviewing, to their match); and demographic data.
Staff uses data to evaluate current business processes, refine enrollment practices, enhance mentor training, and develop new and engaging curriculum for match activities. Furthermore, we are willing and active participants in third-party research studies to advance the field of gender-specific mentoring.
As a result of an analysis of the wait time for girls and volunteers to get matched, we determined that the time between interview and match could be reduced thereby increasing client satisfaction, building trust and respect between girls, families, and potential volunteers, and establishing mentoring relationships sooner. Big Sister decreased the wait time for girls by 47 days; and for volunteers, decreased the wait time by 20 days, by implementing new strategies to achieve our goals.
Another example of data analysis provided us with the information we needed to retain mentoring relationships over the long-term. We observed an increase in the number of Big Sister and Little Sister matches that were “closing,” or opting not to continue their relationships before one year has passed – a phenomenon that research shows would negatively impact girls. We analyzed matches that had closed prematurely, identifying common themes and factors in these matches. To curtail this problem, our recruitment team developed a screening tool to help potential Big Sisters examine upcoming transitions in their lives, and how these may affect their important new relationship with their Little Sisters. Our staff made changes to the training curriculum and materials, explaining the harmfulness of premature closures on the overall development of girls. A direct result of this analysis and management is the extended average match length that girls are experiencing today.
We conduct surveys with Little Sisters in the fourth month of their match to ensure that mentoring relationships are developing as expected. Should any issues arise, our Match Support Specialists prioritize the outreach to these matches to promote the ongoing health of the relationship. We also use AIM to store all data collected from our evaluation tool, the Youth Outcomes Survey (YOS). The YOS, born from a partnership with BBBSA and researcher Jean Rhodes, PhD., and Professor of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts, is a 32-question survey that measures youth-reported outcomes. The YOS, which is administered prior to the start of each mentoring match, and then at one-year intervals, asks questions related to the youth’s feelings about the following: social acceptance; expectations to finish high school; expectations to go to college; grades; attitudes toward the risk factors; and presence of a special adult in their lives.

5. What have and haven’t you accomplished so far?

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