Fayette County

After financial crisis, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bluegrass bounces back

On the verge of having shut down for lack of money only a year ago, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bluegrass has bounced back in a big way, organization officials said.

"We still have a way to go, but we've made a turnaround," said Alan Stein, vice chairman of the Big Brothers Big Sisters board.

Officials held a news conference to report on the organization's strengthened position and thank the community for its support.

According to Stein, Big Brothers Big Sisters managed to raise about $700,000 last year from donations and fund-raising activities and ended 2012 with about $156,000 in the bank.

That's a big change from January 2012, when Big Brothers Big Sisters officials announced that the non-profit organization would have to cease operations in a matter of weeks unless it received a significant influx of cash.

At the time, Stein was using terms like "desperate" and "last gasp" to described the situation. Things were so bad employees were cleaning out their desks and packing belongings, he said.

Fortunately, anonymous donors got a rescue operation started, providing enough money to keep Big Brothers Big Sisters going until its biggest annual fund-raising event, Bowl For Kids Sake, could be held in February 2012.

The organization also made the tough business decision to sell off a 75-acre camp it owned in Jessamine County, Stein said.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bluegrass has been in operation for 58 years, providing adult mentors for boys and girls in need of adult influence.

Thanks to efforts over the past year, Big Brothers Big Sisters is now in a stronger position to continue helping kids, Stein said.

He said the organization is working on a major initiative to recruit more men to serves as mentors for children in the program.

"We have about 190 kids now who have applied for Big Brothers, and they are waiting because we don't have them," Stein said.

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