Big Brother Big Sisters Forced To Cut Its Staff

Donations didn’t keep pace with growth in the number of matches

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When Robert Henley took over the local Big Brothers Big Sisters chapter, the group had only 15 matches. In 2011, that number had grown to more than 100.

Alas, matches grew faster than donations.

This year, Henley estimates local donations will only cover 30 percent of costs, which mostly covers his salary and other local staff.

To cut costs, corporate eliminated his position and enlisted people in the Valley office to cover his responsibilities.

Those duties include community outreach, fund-raising and recruitment.

Henley said he is sad to leave the organization and matches he worked so hard to foster.

The high school match program is one of Henley’s proudest accomplishments. Two years ago, some 120 high school students were mentoring elementary aged children.

“It has grown quite a bit and I have pride in what we accomplished,” he said.

Still, Henley acknowledges the local chapter had never raised the money needed to run the program.

Current annual costs are roughly $100,000. In the best of times, local donations covered 70 percent of that, but donations have shrunk to roughly 30 percent.

“The program is going to survive though,” he said.

Monica Mendoza will handle the matches through the school and community.

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