Big Brothers Big Sisters in Triangle merging

By Todd Cohen

The two Big Brothers Big Sisters affiliates in the Triangle will merge Oct. 1, forming a regional mentoring program for children ages 6 to 14 that aims to grow by building on the strengths of the two current affiliates.

The larger affiliate, a stand-alone nonprofit known as Big Brothers Big Sisters of Durham and Orange Counties, is based in Durham and operates a branch office in Chapel Hill.

With an annual budget of $323,000, it served 560 children last year, employs 6 people and focuses its fund development on securing corporate sponsorships and government grants, says Kim Breeden, executive director.

The smaller YMCA Big Brothers Big Sisters, a Raleigh-based program of the YMCA of the Triangle, has an annual budget of $190,000, last year served 250 children in Wake and Johnston counties, and focuses its fund development on individual donors, says Jon Mills, executive director.

“In our current status, we can only grow so much,” says Breeden, who has been named vice president for programs for the merged organization and will seek the job of CEO as part of a search set to begin soon.

With its combined staff and larger geographic focus, she says, the organization will be able to grow more efficiently while serving a region that is home to 32,000 at-risk children, and will find it easier to recruit regional leaders and volunteers.

Mills, who plans to stay with the organization, says it aims to create a staff of specialists and build a management team that also will include a vice president for fund development and a partnership developer to expand the program to corporations, faith-based groups, universities and school systems.

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