Campaign Updates

May, 2021

Thanks, as always, to you–campaign donors and close friends of Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee! I appreciate all you’ve done to stand beside us over the past year, one of the toughest—but also one of the most rewarding—in the agency’s history.
In this message, I’d like to first address the recent violence at Austin-East High School. As you may know, several BBBS-ETN mentees are current students as A-E. When the shooting occurred on April 12, our Match Support team mobilized quickly to ensure each Little and family was safe. In the days following, I connected directly with every A-E Big and family we serve.
Thanks to the support of the City of Knoxville, United Way, and other community organizations, BBBS-ETN has been able to provide behavioral health resources for youth that are hurting, and scared. I know that our job is not complete; we’ll continue to find ways that we can partner to support the East Knoxville community.
As I mentioned, this year has been tough—but, we do have exciting news, including events (yes, in-person events!), on the horizon.
Bill Harmon: I’m absolutely thrilled to announce that long-time supporter Bill Harmon has donated $50,000 to Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee. The gift, which joins funding from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, has already been put to use in Keeping Kids Connected during the pandemic. If you know Bill, I encourage you to thank him personally, for his passion for our mission and his wonderful support of BBBS-ETN.
College and Career Fair: Hopefully you saw Tyler’s email regarding the College and Career Fair, which has been combined with our Scholarship Celebration, on Thursday, May 6, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. The event will take place at the open-air World’s Fair Park Amphitheater, and attendance will be extremely limited. Please reply to this email if you are interested in attending.
Bags for Kids’ Sake: Though we’re not able to hold Bowl for Kids’ Sake for a second year in a row, we will be hosting our first-ever Bags for Kids’ Sake on June 19 and 20. This cornhole event will feature both a tournament and a just-for-fun celebration. We’d love to have you there. For more details, visit TennesseeBig.org/events.
Amerigroup Award: I was pleased to accept the “Health Hero Award” in April on behalf of the entire BBBS-ETN team. The honor was given to one East Tennessee non-profit in recognition of work to improve the lives of vulnerable people, positively impact their communities, and participate in advocacy efforts.
DEI Efforts: I could not be prouder of the work of Richard Riley and the entire BBBS-ETN Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee. Together, we’ve set out to review agency policies, procedures, communications, and recruitment practices to ensure we are as inclusive an agency as possible. If you’d like more information on the work of this group, please let me know. And stay tuned for more updates later this year.
Scruffy City Podcast: I had the privilege of speaking on Knoxville News-Sentinel’s “Scruffy City” podcast this Spring. What a pleasure to discuss the need for and importance of mentors. I encourage you to take a listen.
–“Live A Little”: I began this email with the recent occurrences at Austin-East High School. Though such a tough issue for our team and the families we serve, we have heard many uplifting stories during this time. As such, I hope you’ll watch the most recent WBIR “Live A Little”, featuring Austin-East’s Miss Senior, Tenayia, and her Big Sister Beth.
And, finally, I want to conclude this message by taking a moment to remember the incomparable Bill Jolly. Bill, who passed away on April 8 at the age of 85, was a long-term BBBS-ETN supporter, former board chair, and a BBBS-ETN Hall of Fame member. He gave countless hours to our agency as a mentor and raised thousands of dollars through his Big Swim event in the 2000s. I will truly miss Bill’s kindness, warm smile, and servant’s heart.
Thank you once again, to each and every one of you, for your investment in the mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee. We could not do this work without you.

With gratitude and hope,
—Brent

January 2021

Happy New Year to you – our campaign donors and close friends – from Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee.

Though our team is thrilled to have concluded 2020, we know that 2021 will bring many of the same challenges and opportunities. As such, we’ll continue to staff our Big Little Computer Lab and Family Resource Center and to step-up our outreach to families disproportionately affected by COVID-19. For the latest information on our extensive pandemic-related efforts, made possible by donors like you, visit TennesseeBig.org/COVID19.

The Big Little Computer Lab and Family Resource Center, presented by Comcast, is now open to families. The center provides a reservable space for Littles and their parents to access internet and print materials; an on-site staff member to provide support; and additional resources for pick-up such as food, toiletries, and school supplies.

As we look to the next year, our team is developing a flexible plan for 2021 events, including Bowl for Kids’ Sake, Cash for Kids’ Sake, the BBBS Golf Classic, Signing Day and Scholarship celebration, and more. We will keep you posted as we put plans in place. In the meantime, speaking of events and celebrations, it’s officially National Mentoring Month, which means we have many exciting stories and news items to share this month, including:

New National CEO: In January, Artis Stevens will officially join Big Brothers Big Sisters of America as President and CEO. Stevens will be the first Black CEO to lead the organization in its 116-year history. I encourage you to watch this wonderful welcome video from Artis.
Agency DEI Committee Launches: Thanks to the leadership of board member Richard Riley and a number of other key volunteers, BBBS-ETN’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee has launched. The group has many goals for 2021, including increasing diversity of mentors and board members.
Reading to Learn: This month, BBBS-ETN will launch Reading to Learn in the Knoxville area. This literacy-focused program initially began in Bristol thanks to the generous support of Don and Ginia Shawl. Now, with an investment from Amerigroup, we’re expanding to Anderson, Blount, and Knox Counties. Learn more about the Reading to Learn initiative.
STEM Program Update: As many of you know, we now offer a STEM program, presented by Arconic. In addition to recruiting STEM mentors and providing science-related activities to matches, we’ll host a career fair this spring. We’d love to have you in attendance, virtually or in-person, and we’ll share details as they develop.
Awards: I’m pleased to share that BBBS-ETN Chief Development Officer, Tyler Boldin, has been named to the Knox.biz 40 Under 40 Class of 2020. And, Young Professionals of Knoxville honored BBBS-ETN Board President-Elect, Nick Wilson, as Knoxville’s Outstanding Young Professional. Both Nick and Tyler are extremely deserving, not only because of their hard work on behalf of BBBS-ETN, but on behalf of all they do for the community. Please join me in congratulating them!
Moe’s: We are extremely grateful for the long-time support of Moe’s Southwest Grill—in addition to more than a decade of advocacy, sponsorships, and food donations, Moe’s recently hosted a Queso for Kids campaign, raising $1,600.
Match Holiday Party: Though they looked much different in 2020, our Tri-Cities and Knoxville-area holiday parties for matches were just as wonderful as ever. We’re happy to provide gifts and goodies to so many of our kids who might not otherwise receive them, and we appreciate the support of donors, like you, who make the celebrations possible.

In case you needed even more BBBS-ETN news and updates, be on the lookout for the 2020 annual report, hitting mailboxes and inboxes in early 2021.

Again, thank you for all you do for Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee. I look forward to a 2021 filled with possibility, and I appreciate you standing beside us as our team navigates so much uncertainty.

With gratitude and hope,
—Brent

September 2020

Thank you for your steadfast support of Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee throughout the COVID-19 crisis—your investment in our mission is keeping kids connected and allowing our team to connect families with essential services, including food, rent assistance, behavioral health services, and more.

BBBS-ETN’s mission is more urgent than ever before, and it’s crucial that we continue our work to Defend Potential in East Tennessee youth. To that end, I’m happy to report that, in order to meet the needs of the families we serve, we’ve received funding to transform our computer lab for Bigs and Littles into a space to better serve families.

The Big Little Computer Lab and Family Resource Center, presented by Comcast, is now open to families. The center provides a reservable space for Littles and their parents to access internet and print materials; an on-site staff member to provide support; and additional resources for pick-up such as food, toiletries, and school supplies.

In addition to this exciting new resource center, below are the latest agency initiatives and news.

Agency of the Year: Perhaps the most exciting news, which you hopefully saw, is that Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee has been named National Agency of the Year by Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. Your support made this possible! Additionally, BBBSA honored Board President Diana Salesky with the Irvin F. Westheimer Award for Visionary Leadership. If you know Diana, you’re well aware that she’s extremely deserving of this national recognition! Celebrate these honors by sharing our posts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
2GEN/TANF Funding: The State of Tennessee has awarded BBBS-ETN a grant to provide services to not only our Littles, but to parents as well – impacting two generations of East Tennesseans in the process. We can’t wait to share the latest news as soon as budget details are confirmed.
Stavros Niarchos Foundation: I’m pleased to report that the Stavros Niarchos Foundation has awarded BBBS-ETN a $75,000 grant to support youth during the COVID-19 pandemic. The development team has secured additional donations to turn SNF’s donation into $150,000. We can’t wait to announce these new gifts; in the meantime, learn more at TennesseeBig.org/SNF.
Mentor 2.0 Signing Day: Thank you to those of you who tuned in to the Mentor 2.0 Signing Day and BBBS-ETN Scholarship Celebration, presented by First Horizon Foundation. Campaign donors funded this program, and we were delighted to celebrate its first alumni. The event, which included well-wishes from several special guests, was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate our graduating seniors, including more than 30 mentees in the Mentor 2.0 program, 40 Littles in Community-based programs, and 12 scholarship recipients. Additional thanks go to Bill Park and Gabe Denny for establishing the Austin French Memorial Scholarship.
New Program for Graduates: BBBS-ETN has officially launched its Postsecondary Success Program, which means Littles can stay matched with their Bigs past the age of 18, as they focus on education, employment, or enlistment. The Boyd Family Foundation provided support for this new initiative—I look forward to celebrating the program’s success as we continue to enroll mentees.
Events: As you likely know from our August email, BBBS-ETN’s 2020-2021 events will look quite a bit different than in years past. Next up: Registration for the BBBS Golf Classic is now open.

I continue to be moved by your support and by the support of this community. The impact of Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee has never been more evident, and I couldn’t be more proud to serve as CEO.

With gratitude,
—Brent

June 2020

I’m thrilled to share with you that Big Brothers Big Sisters of America has just named Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee National Agency of the Year!

This honor is a testament to the fantastic work of our team, board of directors, supporters, Bigs, Littles, and families. It’s also a testament to your investment in our mission.

Your annual support has allowed BBBS-ETN to innovate like never before during this time of uncertainty – including conducting hundreds of wellness checks since March, connecting families with food, rent assistance, and behavioral health services. Thank you for standing beside us.

In the next few days, I’ll send an email to all our supporters, which you’ll also receive. View the official Agency of the Year media release from BBBSA here.

With immense gratitude,
—Brent

P.S. Help us spread the news of this award by sharing BBBS-ETN’s posts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

April 2020

Dear Friends,

I hope you, your family, and your co-workers are safe and secure.

As one of Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee’s most valued supporters, I wanted to take this opportunity to provide you with another candid update on our work both fiscally and programmatically. I hope this message may begin a dialogue between us over the next several months.

Fiscal Update
As you might imagine, the COVID-19 crisis has already significantly affected BBBS-ETN’s financial standing. The postponement of Bowl For Kids’ Sake left us with a funding gap of more than $100,000 in April alone, accounting for nearly 10% of our annual budget. We anticipate losing another $50,000 in event revenue through June 30. Additionally, we are already seeing drops in nearly all funding categories, including events, corporate sponsorships, and individual donors.
We remain hopeful, however. Our resourceful team is working to identify emergency grants and to contact donors and foundations in the hopes of redirecting funding to directly cover operational expenses. We’re applying for stimulus funding through the CARES Act and are optimistic on that front.

Soon, we’ll build the FY21 budget. Based on our early forecasting, we anticipate a significant decrease in revenue over the next 12-18 months. With that in mind, we will continue to pursue all viable funding options and we’ll keep you apprised of our progress.

Program Update
BBBS-ETN will continue innovating through remote operations, processing youth in need of a mentor through videoconferencing, interviewing volunteers on apps like FaceTime, conducting orientations via Zoom, and, starting in April, making Matches virtually for the first time ever. We’ll also support current mentors, who are more vital than ever before, as youth face school cancellation, isolation, and many other types of trauma.

We’ll serve as a hub for hundreds of families and provide resources for those who have already been affected by loss of income, food insecurity, lack of healthcare, and anxiety due to the uncertainties related to COVID-19.

To put things into perspective, our referrals increased by a staggering 6,000%, soaring from an average of five per week to over 300 in the past seven days alone.

Staying Connected
BBBS-ETN will continue to communicate with you, our donors and high-level supporters, and with the community. On Tuesday, we’ll send out this message all of our constituents. Moving forward, we hope to stay connected with you in a number of ways:

• CDO Tyler Boldin, alongside other members of our development team, and I will be reaching out to you individually in the month of April. Additionally, if you are interested in joining an investors’ call, please fill out this short form.
• I will compose regular blogs during the COVID-19 crisis. Sign up to directly receive them here.
• For the latest on the status of agency volunteer orientations, public meetings, and fundraising events, visit TennesseeBig.org/COVID19.
• And, finally, if you haven’t already, connect with BBBS-ETN on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn for all agency news.

I want to thank you for your support. The future contains a tremendous amount of uncertainty for BBBS-ETN and perhaps for many of you as well. Though it won’t be easy, the mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters is more urgent than ever, and our impact has never been more clear.

As we celebrate 50 years of service, I’m constantly reminded of the strength of this community and of the resilience of our supporters and the families we serve. We won’t stop fighting and we will get through this, together.

With gratitude,
—Brent

February 2020

Hello Friends,

Greetings to you – our campaign donors and close friends – from Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee!

As you’ve likely seen, BBBS-ETN is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2020! As such, please mark your calendar for a very special 50th anniversary gala on Friday, August 21. We’ll share many more details about that celebration in the weeks to come; in the meantime, below are a few additional updates curated just for you.

Mentor 2.0 Signing Day: Your campaign donations helped launch and support Mentor 2.0, our innovative, technology-enhanced program aimed at postsecondary success. I’m pleased to announce that we’ll host a signing day on April 29, presented by First Horizon Foundation, in celebration of our first class of graduating seniors. Please reply to this email if you are interested in attending the event — we’d love to save you a seat.

Bowl For Kids’ Sake: We’re gearing up for the 38th annual Bowl for Kids’ Sake! This year, we’ll make 150 Matches through funds raised at BFKS—learn more at BowlforKidsToday.org.

BBBS Golf Classic: One last date – the BBBS-ETN Golf Classic will take place on Friday, June 12, at Avalon Country Club. We appreciate Tony Hollin and Edfinancial for once again signing on as title sponsor. The event will sell out, but we’ve saved a few spots for you; register today at BBBSGolfClassic.com or email Tyler Boldin at TBoldin@tennesseebig.org.

Bigs of the Year: I’m thrilled to announce that Tyler Ladd and Dianne Forry have been named Big Brother and Big Sister of the Year. We celebrated these two phenomenal Mentors throughout National Mentoring Month in January and will continue to do so for the entire year!

Legislative Support: Senator Becky Massey, a long-time advocate for BBBS-ETN has continued her support of our agency. Please join me in thanking Senator Massey for her help in securing funding from the State of Tennessee and Governor Bill Lee. Senator Massey was also kind enough to join the team at our annual ornament delivery party!

Humans of New York: As you likely saw, a BBBS-ETN Match was featured on Humans of New York (HONY), an internationally acclaimed photoblog collected on the streets of New York City. The response was immediate and humbling—nearly 50 people inquired to be a mentor in less than a week, shattering previous inquiry numbers!

Gordon and Eddie: Our second-ever Match, Gordon and Eddie, dropped by the BBBS-ETN Office in December. We love seeing Matches, and we are so appreciative of Gordon who has remained connected to the agency for five decades.

Bigs in Blue: In the last campaign update email, I mentioned the Bigs in Blue initiative. I’m happy to report that eight uniformed officers have been matched at Ritta Elementary. Check out this photo album which features some of our Bigs in Blue Matches.

As we continue to celebrate five decades of service throughout East Tennessee, I want to once again express gratitude for your support. Thanks to your investment, Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee will reach our goal of serving 1,000 youth this year.

With gratitude,
—Brent

December 2019

Hello Supporters,

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! As we enter December, a month filled with festive activities for Bigs and Littles, I’m sharing a few Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee updates with you, our Creating Big Futures campaign donors:

Annual Report: I’m thrilled to share with you the 2019 BBBS-ETN Annual Report: Igniting Potential—you’ll soon receive a hard-copy in the mail. The report outlines our agency successes, looks forward to 2020, and underscores the important outcomes and vital impact of BBBS-ETN programs.

Big Give Knox: This Giving Tuesday, a global day of giving on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving, we’re joining United Way of Greater Knoxville for Big Give Knox. I ask you to consider making a gift of any amount on Tuesday—your support will help BBBS-ETN take advantage of a $50,000 matching gift on Dec. 3!

Holiday Party: We’d like to invite you to our annual Match Holiday Party on the morning of Saturday, Dec. 7, from 11 a.m.–1 p.m.! There are few better ways to see the impact of your support than this event, which features hundreds of our Matches ringing in the holiday season together. (It’s truly wonderful!) RSVP to Lorien Pace if you’d like to be my guest at this special celebration made possible through the support of Altar’d State.

Read City USA Event: Please join BBBS-ETN for a Read City celebration with Mayor Glenn Jacobs on Thursday, Dec. 19, at 5:30pm. You are encouraged to bring children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews—all children and youth in attendance will receive free pizza, Moon Pies, and a book. Learn more and RSVP at TennesseeBig.org.

Horizon ConfiDANCE: Those of you who follow BBBS-ETN on social media might have noticed a series of dancing videos our team posted this fall. I’m thrilled to report that our moves paid off, and we won a $25,000 grand prize from Horizon Organic!

50th Anniversary: In 2020, BBBS-ETN will celebrate 50 years of defending the potential of area youth. Your support has made this possible, and we look forward to sharing details about 50th anniversary events and to celebrating another five decades of impact with you!

National Mentoring Month: We’ll once again take part in National Mentoring Month (NMM) festivities in January. The primary goal of NMM is to thank Bigs and recruit mentors for the more than 100 youth on our waiting list—stay tuned for details.

As always, thank you for your continued support of Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee.

I wish you a happy and healthy holiday season.

With gratitude,
Brent Waugh, BBBS-ETN CEO

October 2019

Happy Halloween Supporters,

Thank you for all you do for Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee, and thank you for your annual support as a Creating Big Futures campaign donor.

Below are a few exciting BBBS-ETN updates for September and October. By the way, Tyler Boldin, BBBS-ETN’s Chief Development Officer, plans to meet with you individually over the next fiscal year in order to share our latest annual report and discuss the impact of your support. Please reply to this email if you have a preference regarding the timing of your meeting.

Holiday Party: We’d like to invite you to our annual Match Holiday Party on the morning of Saturday, December 7! There are few better ways to see the impact of your support than this event, which features hundreds of our Matches ringing in the holiday season together. (It’s truly wonderful!) RSVP to Lorien Pace if you’d like to be my guest at this special celebration made possible through the support of Altar’d State.

Comcast Grant: I’m thrilled that you are the first to hear that BBBS-ETN will receive a grant from Comcast to support a Big Little Computer Lab, located next to our office in the Regas Building. This lab will be a space for Matches to spend time together, complete college and job applications, and so much more. We plan to unveil the new space in 2020 — stay tuned for details.

Discovery’s Rebrand: Please join me in thanking Discovery Networks for lending us a team of volunteers to rebrand the BBBS-ETN office. See photos of the transformation on our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts.

Cash for Kids’ Sake, presented by Graham Corporation: This year’s Cash for Kids’ Sake brought in more than $72,000 which will make and support 72 matches for an entire year. The seventh annual event took place at the Mill and Mine and featured WBIR’s Heather Waliga and Big Brother and KPD Officer B.K. Hardin. Thanks to the volunteer planning committee, attendees, donors, and supporters who made the evening a memorable one.

Vulcan Quarry Run: The third annual race in Kingsport brought in a record setting 109 runners and will fund 10 matches in the Tri-Cities area for an entire year!

Big Heights Rooftop Crawl, presented by Pipe Wrench Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, Inc.: BBBS-ETN once again had a record-setting Big Heights Rooftop Crawl growing attendance by 22% and gross fundraising by 105%. We had a blast with everyone who attended, especially those who enjoyed the VIP experience!

Mentoring Partnership Continues: BBBS-ETN has once again received federal funding to support our partnership in the Knoxville Area Mentoring Initiative (KAMI), alongside Girls on the Run, the Joy of Music School, the Knoxville Leadership Foundation, and the YMCA. We look forward to collaborating with these organizations in the fight against opioid abuse.

New Partnership – Bigs in Blue: Over the next two months, we’ll be rolling out a new Bigs in Blue Partnership between the Knox County Sheriff’s Office and Ritta Elementary. These valuable partnerships that allow for program growth are possible because of your investment in our mission. Speaking of Bigs in Blue, check out this wonderful Live a Little feature on Big Brother B.K. Hardin and his Little Brother Taylor.

Bigs 55+ Recruitment: BBBS-ETN has a significantly smaller volunteer base in the 55 and older demographic than do similar non-profits nationally. We therefore continue to focus on recruiting Bigs ages 55+ during the 2020 fiscal year. If you know a potential volunteer who would make a good mentor, please reach out to Jen Davis, and she’ll be happy to provide more details.

And, finally, 2020 is our 50th anniversary as an agency! Your support as an annual donor has made five decades of service possible — for that, we thank you. Stay tuned as we roll out exciting news, events, and more related to the celebration.

With gratitude,
Brent Waugh, BBBS-ETN CEO

July 2019

Hello Supporters,

Thank you for all you do for Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee, and thank you for being a Creating Big Futures campaign donor.

Before I provide a few exciting updates, I want to personally invite you, our supporters and 50th anniversary campaign donors, to attend the 2019 BBBS-ETN Back to School Bash from 6-9 p.m. on August 1, 2019, at Inskip Pool. This is truly one of the best ways to see first-hand the impact of your investment in BBBS-ETN, as the kids we serve enjoy food, play games, and take home school supplies. Please reply to this email if you plan to attend.

Additionally, below are some of the latest updates from BBBS-ETN

  • Agency of the Year Finalist: At the BBBSA National Conference in June, Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee was named a finalist for national mid-sized agency of the year. This puts us in the top three agencies nationwide! What a testament to our staff, Bigs, Littles, families and caregivers, board, supporters, and donors — like you! Help us spread the word by interacting with our announcements on social media, including FacebookInstagramTwitter, and LinkedIn
  • Cash for Kids’ Sake: You could win $15,000! Tickets are now on sale for this year’s Cash for Kids’ Sake, presented by Graham Corporation, on Thursday, August 22, at the Mill and Mine. The Cash event includes an exciting reverse raffle as well as live and silent auctions. Learn more at CashForKidsSake.org.
  • Big Heights Rooftop Crawl: Tickets are also on sale for the Big Heights Rooftop Crawl, presented by Pipe Wrench Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, Inc. If you’d like to attend, please email or call me. As a special supporter of our organization, we’d like to offer you the opportunity to receive two VIP tickets for the price of general admission. More details at BigHeightsCrawl.org.
  • Mentor 2.0: In a matter of days, our first-ever Mentor 2.0 senior class will arrive at South Doyle High School. When you made your Creating Big Futures campaign gift, we committed to serving all four years at SDHS and I’m happy to say that we have achieved that goal. We can’t wait to see our Littles graduate in 2020 and ultimately achieve postsecondary success!
  • Funding from Governor Bill Lee: I’m pleased to announce that the BBBS Statewide Coalition received new support of $250,000 from Governor Lee. With this investment, Tennessee agencies will serve 250 additional youth in FY20. Top of mind will be the governor’s five budget priorities, which include education, criminal justice, mental health, health care, and rural economic development.

And, lastly, Big Brothers Big Sisters has officially closed the books on FY19. I’m thrilled to report that we had one of our most successful fundraising years in the agency’s history! Stay tuned for more details in our 2018-2019 annual report.

As always, thank you for your support of BBBS-ETN. Your annual investment in this agency allows BBBS-ETN to ignite potential in area youth and make post-secondary dreams a reality.

With gratitude,

–Brent

June 2019

Hello Supporters,

Thank you for all you do for Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee, and thank you for being a Creating Big Futures campaign donor.

What a spring it has been! Below are some of the latest updates from BBBS-ETN.

  • Hall of Fame and Scholarship event: The BBBS team had a wonderful time celebrating three hall of fame inductees (Julie Hardin, Cari Parker, and Don Shawl), four Outstanding Community Partners (Steve Madden, James Sills, Aaron Walters, and WBIR), and five scholarship recipients. Your support paves the way for postsecondary success for these students and for hundreds more youth. For more details on the event, visit TennesseeBig.organd view this Facebook album.
  • Bowl for Kids’ Sake: We had yet another phenomenal Bowl for Kids’ Sake, due to the hard work of staff, committee members, and hundreds of fundraisers and volunteers. This year’s events raised $150,000, which will allow BBBS-ETN to make and support 150 new Matches. See photos.
  • Mentor 2.0: Nearly four years since launching the only Mentor 2.0 program in the state of Tennessee (and one of only a handful nationwide), we’re officially expanding to all four grades at South Doyle High School. In the spring of 2020, we’ll celebrate our first graduating class with a signing day sponsored by First Tennessee Bank. Your support as a campaign donor has made this expansion possible. THANK YOU!
  • BBBS Golf Classic: We look forward to seeing many of you at the sold-out BBBS Golf Classic, presented by Edfinancial Services and Regal, on June 21. If you have questions about the event, please let Tyler Boldin or me know.
  • Upcoming Events: In addition to connecting with you this summer, we hope you’ll make plans to attend our fall 2019 events, including Cash for Kids’ Sake on August 22, the Vulcan Crusher Quarry Run in Kingsport on September 28, and the Big Heights Rooftop Crawl on October 17. Learn more at TennesseeBig.org/events.
  • New Title Sponsorship: Speaking of our fall events, I’m pleased to report that Pipe Wrench Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, Inc. has signed on as title sponsor for the 2019 Big Heights Rooftop Crawl, benefiting Mentor 2.0. We are thrilled to work with the Pipe Wrench team!
  • Grayson Auto Group: Grayson Auto Group has also signed on as a Big Heights Rooftop Crawl Sponsor. This summer, we’ll collaborate with Grayson to craft an exclusive experience for our VIP guests.
  • Vol Network Tour: Thanks to a special partnership with The Vol Network, an intimate group of Bigs, Littles, and BBBS-ETN supporters were able to take a tour of Neyland Stadium in May and even meet Vols quarterback Jarrett Guarantano. Check out this photo of the group, and be on the lookout for our game-day program sales volunteers at Vol football home games this fall!

Finally, our team will work diligently during the month of June to ensure we finish the fiscal year strong, and we’ll keep you posted regarding our FY20 program and fundraising goals. As always, thank you for your support of BBBS-ETN — your annual investment in this agency allows BBBS-ETN to ignite potential in area youth and make post-secondary dreams a reality.

With gratitude,

–Brent

April 2019

Dear Friend,

As always, I appreciate your continued support of Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee as a Creating Big Futures campaign donor.

It’s April, which means Bowl for Kids’ Sake is in full swing. The events run April 12-26, and you can learn more at BowlForKidsToday.org.

In addition to BFKS, I’m thrilled to share the following updates:

  • Quality Award: Brothers Big Sisters has once again been honored by our national office as a Quality Award recipient. This honor is a testament to our phenomenal team, our supporters, our mentors, and the families we serve. I’m happy to report that BBBS-ETN’s retention rates and match support numbers are once again among the best in the nation. This success is possible thanks to your financial support—so, thank you!
  • Hall of Fame Inductees: I’m excited to let you know first the names of three individuals who have been inducted into the BBBS-ETN Hall of Fame. Please join me in congratulating Julie Hardin, Cari Parker, and Don Shawl. Stay tuned for more details on the honorees.
  • Hall of Fame and Scholarship Celebration: As you likely saw, BBBS-ETN will host its third annual Hall of Fame Induction and Scholarship Awards Celebration on May 16, 2019 at 5:30 p.m. We hope you’ll join us to celebrate three individuals who have had a transformational impact on BBBS-ETN, five Littles who will soon pursue their postsecondary education dreams, and all of our wonderful community supporters, including you.
  • Arby’s Foundation: The Arby’s Foundation is making a Big impact on the lives of East Tennessee children and paving the way to post-secondary and career success through its support of the next four Mentor 2.0 events. We look forward to sharing more details on this exciting partnership.
  • Career Day: BBBS-ETN is always focused on creating the biggest possible futures for our Littles. We recently held our first Career Day, which included a panel of community leaders, a networking event, and the opportunity for youth to receive college materials. Learn more at TennesseeBig.org and see photos on Facebook.

As always, thank you for your support of BBBS-ETN. Your annual investment in this agency allows BBBS-ETN to ignite potential in area youth and make post-secondary dreams a reality.

With gratitude,

–Brent

February 2019

Dear Friend,

Greetings to you, our campaign donors and close friends, from Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee! As you likely noticed, it’s been a phenomenal start to 2019, thanks to your support as well as the support of hundreds of community advocates just like you.

In January, BBBS-ETN commemorated National Mentoring Month with a series of events, announcements, program launches and social media posts. We also celebrated the following successes:

  • Super Bowl: Did you catch Maroon 5’s halftime show at the big game? In the week leading up to that memorable performance, the band committed $500,000 to BBBSA. What a wonderful way to support BBBS financially while bringing much-needed awareness to our urgent mission. Learn more on the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America website.
  • Go Big! Knoxville: We are pleased to launch Go Big! Knoxville with the Knoxville Police Department and numerous community partners. The new initiative aims to defend the potential of at-risk youth by building bridges between marginalized communities and the police who serve them. The program has a goal of recruiting 50 community mentors by July 2019. Watch the full press conferenceview photos, and learn more on our website.
  • Positively Knox: Little Brother Jamal and Big Brother/Board Member Ryan Willis have launched “Positively Knox”, an inspiring initiative with the goal of spreading positivity through t-shirts and apparel. All proceeds will benefit Jamal’s college fund. Read more about this phenomenal pair on BBBS-ETN’s website, and please consider sharing their story with your friends.
  • National Mentoring Month: City of Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero named January Mentoring Month in honor of the national celebration. Check out this photo of our staff and board accepting the proclamation.
  • Mentors of the Year: I’m pleased to announce that Big Sister Laurie Stone and Big Brother Mike Lewis have been named Bigs of the Year. These mentors have made an enormous impact on their Littles, on BBBS-ETN, and on the East Tennessee community. Read their story at TennesseeBig.org.
  • Hall of Fame and Scholarship Celebration: Please mark your calendar for the Hall of Fame Induction and Scholarship Awards Celebration on Thursday, May 16. You’ll recieve a formal invitation in the spring — in the meantime, visit TennesseeBig.org for more details and to nominate a deserving friend of our organization.
  • Alcoa Grant: Thanks to the hard work of board member and Big Brother Jeff Jost, BBBS-ETN has received a grant from the Alcoa Foundation to expand its site-based program. These funds will allow BBBS-ETN to collaborate with additional middle schools and to support a number of enhancements for existing site-based mentoring pairs. Learn more at TennesseeBig.org.
  • Bowl for Kids’ Sake: It’s Bowl for Kids’ Sake season once again! To learn more about our largest, long-running fundraising event and to sign up your team, visit BowlForKidsToday.org. (For those of you who are current Bigs, Big Brother Steve Madden will donate $50 to the first 50 mentors who create their fundraising page!)

In addition to all the above, we’re pleased to announce that we’ve launched more “Live A Little” episodes, thanks to the stellar work of Heather Waliga and WBIR. Visit our YouTube channel to watch the series.

Thank you for all you do for our agency. Your support defends potential in hundreds of East Tennessee youth each year and makes all of the above possible.

With gratitude,

–Brent

December  2018

Dear Friend,

I hope you are well and enjoying the holiday season!

The Big Brothers Big Sisters team is putting finishing touches on a phenomenal 2018. Below are a few exciting updates since I last emailed you, our Creating Big Futures donors and key supporters, earlier in the fall.

  • Go Big! Knoxville: I’m thrilled to announce the launch of a partnership with the Knoxville Police Department called Go Big! Knoxville. The initiative aims to build bridges between marginalized communities and the police who serve them. To find out more, visit tennesseebig.org/GoBigKnox. Additionally, please mark your calendar for Monday, January 28—we’ll host a Go Big! Knoxville launch event at the Regas Building with Mayor Madeline Rogero, KPD Chief of Police Eve Thomas, and additional esteemed guests. As a key supporter of BBBS-ETN, you’ll receive a formal invitation from the Knoxville Police Department in early- to mid-January.
  • Annual Report: Our phenomenal development team has built a website to house the FY18 annual reports that were mailed earlier this month: tennesseebig.org/AnnualReport18. Your investment in our mission truly made possible the successes outlined in this report. Thank you!
  • Strategic Plan: In addition to the new annual report website, our strategic plan is now live at tennesseebig.org/StrategicPlan2021. This important plan outlines agency priorities over the next three years—priorities that will be achieved thanks to your annual contributions.
  • Development Committee: Our team is also working with a talented development committee to raise additional funds to support BBBS-ETN programs and effectively build our agency’s reserves. If you’d like to serve on the committee or simply attend a meeting to learn more about our fundraising work, please let me know.
  • UPS Grant: We are thrilled to announce that Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee has received a $20,000 grant from the UPS foundation to support our Mentor 2.0 program. Special thanks to BBBS-ETN Board President David Bratcher who helped us secure this award which will help our agency serve all four classes at South Doyle High School by the fall of 2019. Learn more on our website.
  • Match Holiday Party: Thanks to those of you who attended and volunteered at the Knoxville-area Match Holiday party on Dec. 1 and the Tri-Cities area party on Dec. 8. Both were truly heartwarming mornings which serve as annual holiday traditions for so many of our matches. Please join me in congratulating our Bigs of the Year: Laurie Stone and Mike Lewis—both have had a phenomenal impact on their Littles. You can view photos from the Knoxville event on our Facebook page, and be sure to see the wonderful Knoxville News Sentinel coverage.
  • Hall of Fame Induction and Scholarship Awards Celebration: Our annual Hall of Fame and Scholarship event is scheduled for Thursday, May 16. Mark your calendars, and stay tuned for a formal invitation in the spring. Big thanks to those of you who attended the 2018 event.
  • Reading to Learn: Earlier this month, we officially launched Reading to Learn, an innovative, literacy-based mentoring program in partnership with Reading Buddies in Bristol. The program is made possible thanks to a generous Creating Big Futures/50th Anniversary campaign donation from Don and Ginia Shawl, long-time residents of Bristol, Tennessee. More details and a photo album are available on our Facebook page.

As you can see, 2018 has been a wonderful year for BBBS-ETN, and our team is gearing up for a successful 2019. I hope you’ve enjoyed this update — please know that our team appreciates your support of Big Brothers Big Sisters.

YOU make our success possible, and — together –we are Igniting Potential in hundreds of area youth.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays,

–Brent

September  2018

Dear Friend,

It’s finally starting to feel like fall in East Tennessee, and BBBS-ETN couldn’t be more excited about the following announcements, events, and fundraising news.

As I mentioned in my note earlier this fiscal year, this email is an insider look at BBBS-ETN initiatives especially for you—our Creating Big Futures 50th anniversary campaign donors.

  • Reading to Learn: Later this fall, Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee will publicly launch Reading to Learn, an innovative, literacy-based mentoring program in partnership with Reading Buddies in Bristol. The program is made possible thanks to a generous Creating Big Futures campaign donation from Don and Ginia Shawl, long-time residents of Bristol, Tennessee. The Shawls made the gift on behalf of their children, Jeff and Lisa, who attended and thrived at Anderson School in the 1970s. Don and Ginia believe in the mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters and they believe that a diversified school environment is a wonderful foundation for life. Stay tuned as we unveil more details about this exciting initiative which will help us serve 20% more children in Bristol and the Tri-Cities area.
  • Rebrand Update: In July, I mentioned that our national organization is undergoing a brand transformation, aimed at raising awareness for our vital mission, recruiting more volunteers, and igniting potential in the lives of more children. That rebrand will officially launch on October 1. As our team gears up for the launch, I encourage you to watch this video, available only to campaign donors and close friends, to learn more.
  • A New Space for BBBS: When you initially made your Creating Big Futures 50th Anniversary campaign gift, you heard that BBBS-ETN is exploring the potential of having a building of its own. This space would ideally provide us room to grow and include space for hosting our matches. Later in the year, we’ll convene an exploratory committee to evaluate the feasibility of a building fundraising campaign. If you are interested in serving on this group, please send me a note.
  • Strategic Plan: In the coming days, our development team will finalize a website which provides an outline of our board-approved 2018-2021 strategic plan. I’m excited to share that with you; in the meantime, please let me know if you’d like to meet to discuss the future of BBBS-ETN, especially as it relates to this plan. We’re also putting the finishing touches on our annual report—stay tuned for an email with more details.
  • “Live A Little”: Earlier this month, we re-launched “Live A Little,” in partnership with WBIR. We’re ecstatic about the potential this series has in regarding to finding mentors for the more than 100 children currently waiting for a Big. It will also serve as a key initiative to launch us to our goal of serving 1,000 children by 2020. Please see Jamille’s profile on our YouTube channel.
  • Match Activities: After two successful match events this fall—the Back to School Bash and our Match Tailgate prior to the ETSU game—the program team is gearing up for the annual Holiday Party for matches. It’s truly a phenomenal event, and I’d love for you to join. We are tentatively planning to hold it on December 1; I’ll provide more details when the date and location are fully confirmed.
  • Big Heights benefiting Mentor 2.0: Our Big Heights Rooftop Crawl, presented by Lusid Media, sold out in record time, but we’ve saved a few spots for campaign donors. Let me know if you’d like to purchase a ticket for the sold-out event on October 4. You can also find out more at BigHeightsCrawl.org.

As you can see, Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee has several exciting initiatives and announcements in the coming weeks and months, and we look forward to sharing more news with you, our campaign donors and closest friends, throughout the year.

Finally, our development staff would love to meet with you in person. Please let us know a time that works by replying to this email.

With gratitude,

–Brent

July 2018 

Dear Friend,

I want to thank you for your annual gift to Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee as a Creating Big Futures donor. Your campaign support is inspiring potential in hundreds of East Tennessee children.

This fiscal year, I plan to provide our campaign donors — that’s you –– with an insider look at BBBS-ETN events and initiatives. As such, below is a rundown of a few exciting announcements in 2018.

  • National Accolades: In 2018, BBBSA named Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee a Pinnacle Agency, placing us in the Top 9 of more than 300 affiliates nationwide. Your support of our mission made this honor possible! Read more on our website, and see photos on Instagram and Facebook of our team accepting this award at the BBBSA national conference in June.
  • Rebrand: Big Brothers Big Sisters of America is launching an exciting nationwide rebrand in October. Our team will provide you more details as soon as possible — in the meantime, I can confirm that the BBBS logo and our primary color (purple) will be changing. The goal of this rebrand is to refresh the BBBS image, to help agencies stand apart from other mentoring organizations, and to better reach populations who are traditionally underrepresented as mentors. We feel confident it will accomplish just that!
  • Annual Report: The BBBS-ETN development team is working diligently on the FY18 annual report — be on the lookout for yours early this fall. If you did not receive a mailed version of our FY17 report, please reply to this email so I can update your mailing address in our database.
  • Fall Events: The development team is also gearing up for a number of fall events, including Cash for Kids’ Sake (Sept 13), the Big Heights Rooftop Crawl (Oct. 4), and the BBBS Golf Classic with the University of Tennessee (Oct. 26). We’ll provide special access and opportunities to our loyal campaign donors — stay tuned for details and mark your calendars.
  • Funding Priorities: This year, your campaign donation will support three primary funding priorities: futher implementing Mentor 2.0 to serve the freshmen, sophomore, and junior classes at South Doyle High School; increasing the number of children served toward our agency goal of reaching 1,000 youth by 2020; and ensuring fiscal sustainability by building agency reserves.

As you can see, Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee has a number of exciting initiatives and announcements in FY19, and we look forward to sharing more news with you throughout the year.

By the way, our development staff would love to meet with you in person. Please let us know what time works by emailing us to schedule a meeting with the team.

With gratitude,

–Brent

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