Local Big Brothers Big Sisters agency recognized as one of top 5

By Gary Scott on April 4, 2016 at 12:45pm

The Big Brothers Big Sisters of West Central Illinois chapter is celebrating its place as one of the top five in the country.

Executive Director Cindy Denby talked on “What’s On Your Mind?” this morning about the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America Pinnacle Award. The local branch of the non-profit group was one of five to win.

Denby says the award is the highest award given out by the national office. She says it’s a great honor.

“It’s based on how many children you have matched, your fundraising revenue, your retention rate, your match support rate, and then how many matches that we grew over a year of time, and then increasing our revenue,” explains Denby.

“Probably the fact that I’m most proud of is, the national average is a 69 percent retention rate, and ours was 87 percent. It’s one of the highest in the entire nation. It says a lot about our communities, it says a lot about the people that have come into our program, becase they’re staying in our proram, and they’re being wonderful mentors to our littles, and, isn’t that what it’s all about?” she continues.

Another factor is the match support rate for children and their mentors, which with the local non-profit is almost 100 percent.

BBBS West Central Illinois joins chapters in Pittsburgh, Chicago, Milwaukee and Nebraska. While the local chapter has recently gotten bigger, adding territory in Adams and Scott County, Denby says she didn’t imagine it would win the award in her “wildest dreams”.

“When you’re going against all those big players in those big communities, they have multi-million-dollar budgets. They don’t have to worry about day-to-day operations like we do on the financial end of it. They don’t have the worries that we have,” she says.

The national Big Brothers Big Sisters convention is on June 29th in Orlando, Florida. Denby says the West Central Illinois chapter is also up for agency of the year and board of directors of the year.

To hear more about this topic and about the upcoming Bowl For Kids Sake fundraiser happening this weekend, the largest of the year for the agency, visit the “What’s On Your Mind?” page on WLDS/WEAI.com.