WATERLOO, Iowa (KWWL) - Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Iowa has announced plans to cease mentoring operations at the end of August.
Previous financial hardships, coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic, led the board to make the decision late July. Funding had been cut over the last two years by $350,000. Then, the pandemic cancelled their 2020 fundraising events and directly affected donations and applications for funding.
“We have explored every option available to us to keep our Littles & Bigs connected during the COVID-19 pandemic in safe ways. We, along with many other businesses in our service area, did not know how the virus would impact this ongoing economic crisis. This decision was extremely difficult to make but at this time we have exhausted all options, and
the decision is necessary," said Jessica Love, Board President of Big Brothers Sisters of Northeast Iowa.
KWWL has covered Big Brothers Big Sisters' efforts over the years. In March, Executive Director Yolanda Williams, sat down with KWWL's Ron Steele on The Steele Report to discuss the financial struggles the organization was facing: https://kwwl.com/2020/03/08/57-years-in-the-cedar-valley-big-brothers-big-sisters-turns-to-the-public-for-help-as-seen-on-the-steele-report/
In 1963, the organization began mentoring services for boys in Waterloo. Girls became included in the 70's. Thousands of children over the course of about 57 years have been guided in positive directions, thanks to their mentors from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Iowa. The local non-profit will be greatly missed by many in the community.
THANK YOU to the thousands of individuals who have supported our organization over the past 57 years. Countless donors, volunteers, businesses and employees made it possible to foster mentorships for some 15,000+ children in our community. Your generosity made an immeasurable difference in the lives of children, and undoubtedly changed the lives of their Bigs as well.
Finally, we want to say THANK YOU to the 185 Littles who are currently matched with mentors in our program, we are sorry that we fell short of our pledge to your futures. We encourage you to look into the many other youth focused nonprofit and mentoring organizations in Northeast Iowa. We are #BiggerTogether as a community and the community will continue to steer you to greatness. - statement from BBBSNEIA
Additional KWWL stories on BBBSNEIA: