Fundraising to bring Big Brothers and Sisters back to the Georgian Triangle

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When the Big Brothers Big Sisters Georgia Triangle Chapter folded in 2020 due to financial pressures, approximately 270 children were left without any support.

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Big Brothers Big Sisters of Grey-Bruce have stepped in for some of them, but more money is needed to meet the needs. The charity has developed a plan to hire a mentorship coordinator in 2023 to officially start providing services in Collingwood.

But first, a $90,000 fundraising campaign has begun to enable the Owen Sound-based organization’s expansion into the southern Georgian Bay region – from Thornbury to Clearwater Township to Wasaga Beach – over the past three coming years.

This is on top of the $180,000 raised in 2021 to support Grey-Bruce’s BBBS, when he was without an executive director for most of the year.

Beth Aubrey joined the organization last November as chief executive, a position that went unfilled in the first two years of the pandemic.

She said she is hiring a second coordinating mentor for Grey-Bruce and if the $90,000 is raised this year, a third will be added for the Georgian Triangle next year. That figure could double if a second coordinating mentor for the Georgian triangle is needed, Aubrey added.

“It’s very ambitious,” Aubrey acknowledged in an interview Thursday, adding that a lot of thought and compassion for young people left without services was part of the decision to tackle the Georgia Triangle.

She said that in addition to existing service requests from the Georgia Triangle area, the Big Brothers Big Sisters national office has asked the Grey-Bruce branch to try to expand into the Georgia Triangle.

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Jarvis Strong, a former executive director of a Georgia Triangle branch, has joined Grey-Bruce’s board, along with part of the board.

“Jarvis and I are leading expansion work in southern Georgian Bay. But our goal is really to support Collingwood by 2023,” Aubrey said. The plan is to support all of southern Georgian Bay over the next three years.

About one-third of the Grey-Bruce branch’s funding comes from fundraising, while the Big Brothers Big Sisters national office provides about eight percent. The rest comes from corporate sponsorships and grants, Aubrey said.

She said medium-sized BBBS organizations are the hardest to sustain, while smaller organizations like hers at Grey-Bruce, which served more than 100 young people last year, and larger BBBS organizations, seem better. able to meet their needs.

The Georgian Triangle branch has a long history in the community, she said. A statement on the former organization’s Facebook page says it served the community for more than 50 years, but “fundraising challenges” forced the decision to close.

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