What: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Indiana strives to place children age 6 through high school in mentoring relationships with an adult role model. The agency serves Allen and nine surrounding counties in northeast Indiana and three counties in southern Michigan.
It served nearly 2,000 children last year; about 700 more currently are on a waiting list to be matched with a Big Brother or Big Sister.
For information or to volunteer, call 456-1600 or go to www.bbbsnei.org.
The local Edward D. and Ione Auer Foundation has donated $1 million to start an endowment fund for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Indiana in honor of Josette Rider, the agency's executive director and CEO.
Foundation officials announced the donation during a news conference and grand opening ceremony Tuesday at Big Brothers Big Sisters, 1005 W. Rudisill Blvd., in the former Witmer Hall at The Summit, the former Taylor University-Fort Wayne campus in the 1000 block of West Rudisill Boulevard.
Ione Auer was passionate about supporting education, and the endowment will support Big Brothers Big Sisters in its work to help children, Katherine Moenter, Auer Foundation grants director, said in announcing the donation.
“We're going to go out and get this matched,” Rider told the crowd of staff, volunteers, board members and others.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Indiana works to help children ages 6-21 reach their potential by placing them in mentoring relationships with a carefully screened adult role model.
Earnings from the endowment will go to sustain Big Brothers Big Sisters' innovative programming, especially during difficult economic times, Rider said after the ceremony.
Her organization now receives about $350,000 per year from outside northeast Indiana to fund new and innovative programs, she said. When the economy is struggling, that revenue could drop.
The Auer Foundation recently gave a similar $1 million gift to start an endowment for the Fort Wayne Ballet in honor of Karen Gibbons-Brown, the ballet's longtime artistic/executive director.
Rider said Big Brothers Big Sisters' move to the West Rudisill Boulevard location, which took place in February, also has given it much-needed extra space and has allowed it to offer additional programming.
Big Brothers Big Sisters occupies the first two floors of the three-story building, giving it substantially more room than it had at its previous location at 2439 Fairfield Ave.
The extra space allows it to offer young people remedial education, reading help, SAT preparation and more, Rider said. The space also makes it possible to offer more volunteer training.