114 Years of History
For more than a century, Big Brothers Big Sisters has been helping change kids’ perspectives
and giving them the opportunity to reach their potential. And we have more than a century
of volunteers, donors, and advocates just like you to thank.

Our Story
 
It all started in 1904, when a young New York City court clerk named Ernest Coulter was seeing more and more boys come through his courtroom. He recognized that caring adults could help many of these kids stay out of trouble, and he set out to find volunteers. That marked the beginning of the Big Brothers movement.
 
At around the same time, the members of a group called Ladies of Charity were befriending girls who had come through the New York Children’s Court. That group would later become Catholic Big Sisters.
 
Both groups continued to work independently until 1977, when Big Brothers Association and Big Sisters International joined forces and became Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

More than 100 years later, Big Brothers Big Sisters remains true to our founders’ vision of bringing caring role models into the lives of children. And, today, Big Brothers Big Sisters currently operates in all 50 states—and in 12 countries around the world.
Here is a look at our history, from the start:


1902
Ernest Coulter, court clerk, helps organize the first New York Children's Court; Ladies of Charity, later Catholic Big Sisters of New York, starts to befriend girls who come before the New York Children's Court.

1903
Businessman Irvin F. Westheimer befriends a young boy in Cincinnati, OH; seeds are formed for the start of Big Brothers in Cincinnati.

1904
Ernest Coulter founds the organized Big Brothers movement by obtaining 39 volunteers, who each agree to befriend one boy.

1912
The New York Times reports Big Brothers activity in 26 cities.

1914
Ernest Coulter embarks on nationwide lecture tour on behalf of Big Brothers; planning begins for a national Big Brothers and Big Sisters organization.

1917
The first national conference of Big Brothers and Big Sisters organizations is held in
Grand Rapids, MI.

1923
Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., becomes treasurer of the Big Brothers and Big Sisters Federation;
First motion picture based on a Big and Little Brother relationship is released by Paramount Pictures.

1925
President Calvin Coolidge becomes patron of the Big Brothers and Big Sisters Federation.

1930
Six hundred delegates attend a Big Brothers and Big Sisters Federation meeting in New York City.

1934
President and Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt become patrons of Big Brothers and Big Sisters Federation.

1948
Norman Rockwell produces the sketch that becomes a symbol for the Big Brothers Association.

1951
The Big Brothers of the Year program begins, Associate Justice Tom Clark of the U.S. Supreme Court and J. Edgar Hoover are named.

1958
Big Brothers Association is chartered by Congress.

1970
Big Sisters International is incorporated.

1977
Big Sisters International and Big Brothers Association merge, forming Big Brothers Big Sisters of America with 357 agencies.

1984
Big Brothers Big Sisters of America occupies its headquarters at 230 North 13th Street in Philadelphia.

1985
Big Brothers Big Sisters of America is honored with a commemorative stamp by the Postmaster General.

1995
Public/Private Ventures Study on Big Brothers Big Sisters Community-Based Mentoring shows measurable, positive results on youth who have a Big Brother or Sister, seminal research in the field of youth mentoring.

1997
President William J. Clinton holds Volunteer Summit in Philadelphia; Big Brothers Big Sisters plays key role.

1998
Big Brothers Big Sisters International is founded.

2003
President George W. Bush announces three-year $450 million mentoring initiative in his State of the Union Address.

2004
Big Brothers Big Sisters celebrates 100 years of serving America’s youth.

2006
First Lady Laura Bush stars in a public service announcement to recruit volunteers across the nation.

2007
Public/Private Ventures conducts a study on Big Brothers Big Sisters School-Based Mentoring program, reinforcing the value of strong, long-lasting relationships and leading to program enhancements.

In a Super Bowl first, CBS, the NFL and Big Brothers Big Sisters joined forces to create a public service announcement that features the two coaches whose teams are competing in the game. Roughly 90 million viewers tuned in to watch the game and see Indianapolis Colts' Coach Tony Dungy and Coach Lovie Smith of the Chicago Bears underscore the importance of mentoring by referencing their real-life mentoring relationship.

2010
President Obama holds a White House National Mentoring Month Ceremony; Big Brothers Big Sisters attends and plays a key role.

2011
Big Brothers Big Sisters launches national mentoring initiative, Start Something.

2012
In January, Big Brothers Big Sisters releases first-ever, nationwide Youth Outcomes Survey (YOS) Report, which reflects the collective progress and success in three outcome areas known to significantly change the lives of children for the better, forever – educational success, avoidance
of risky behaviors and socio-emotional competency.

2015
BBBSA relocates its national headquarters to Tampa, Florida.

It’s not just a donation.
It’s an investment in a child’s future.
 
When you donate online to Big Brothers Big Sisters, you join our cause and directly support children in your community. No matter how little or big the amount, donating can start making a difference in the lives of young people around you.

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For more than 100 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters has operated under the belief that inherent in every child is the ability to succeed and thrive in life. As the nation’s largest donor and volunteer supported mentoring network, Big Brothers Big Sisters makes meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers (“Bigs”) and children (“Littles”), ages 6 through 18, in communities across the country. We develop positive relationships that have a direct and lasting effect on
the lives of young people.

© 2018 Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana. 501 N Walnut St. Bloomington IN 47404