OUR CORE VALUES
Intentional & Inclusive
Our Commitment to
Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
In 2021, I became Big Brothers Big Sisters of America’s new CEO. The first Black CEO in the organization’s long history. When I came on, I felt a tremendous responsibility to grow the organization and help it become more just, equitable, diverse, and inclusive. Once I really started to get to know the incredible people who drive the mission forward and the amazing Bigs, Littles, and parents who do the work every day, I felt an even greater sense of responsibility and purpose.
So many of our Littles look like me. More than 70 percent of the young people we serve are people of color. When I was growing up, I faced a lot of the obstacles Littles face -- there were a lot of inequities in my community. My family didn’t have a lot of resources. But I was lucky enough to have a community around me, to have supportive adults to keep me grounded and show me how to be successful. They gave me a strong moral compass, and they drove me to become the first person in my family to graduate from college. Every day, everyone who works for Big Brothers Big Sisters or volunteers as a Big, has the chance to make sure our country’s young people have someone in their life who can do that for them, too.
Part of becoming a more just, equitable, diverse, and inclusive organization is recognizing where we have fallen short in the past. This organization has been matching children with mentors who ignite their potential for more than 116 years. Throughout that history, we have remained committed to seeing children as whole people, no matter who they are or what they have been through. We have remained committed to bridging divides in our communities. But we have not been perfect. We have not always fully embraced the role we can play in changing not just individual lives but also the systems that keep young people from succeeding. We have not always understood how to be truly inclusive at every level. And we have not done enough to foster diversity in our local Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies and our national office.
As CEO, I cannot promise that we will never make mistakes, but I can promise that we will remain open and dedicated to understanding and change. We will always strive to do better and be better.
I am honored and humbled to be able to lead this organization and to ignite the potential of all young people.
President and CEO
Big Brothers Big Sisters of America
OUR COMMITMENT TO JEDI
Together we affirm that every person has the opportunity to reach their full potential. We are committed to creating and cultivating a safe environment where all individuals feel respected and valued equally. We are committed to a nondiscriminatory and anti-racist approach and are committed to dismantling any inequities within our policies, systems, programs and services.
At Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) is an integral part of our values and mission. We recognize, affirm, and celebrate the diverse backgrounds, lives, and experiences of all of our stakeholders, including youth, families, donors, volunteers, and staff. We ensure the opportunity for all voices and perspectives to be heard and honored. In the workplace, we foster an environment where all people can be their best selves. We affirm that every person [regardless of ability, age, cultural background, ethnicity, faith, gender, gender identity, gender expression, ideology, income, national origin, race or sexual orientation, marital or veteran status] has the opportunity to reach their full potential. We strive to realize the full potential that is within all of us by ensuring that all voices and perspectives are heard and honored.
OUR JUSTICE, EQUITY, DIVERSITY, AND INCLUSION INITIATIVES
It’s not enough to say we are committed to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. We have to work intentionally and diligently to bring about change in our organization and our communities. To ignite the potential of all young people, we have to ensure all young people have the opportunity to have a strong mentoring relationship in their lives. We are actively working to promote justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion throughout our organization, and there are several initiatives that illustrate this commitment.
In 2016, we launched our LGBTQ Youth Mentoring Enhancement Initiative, funded by the Altria Group. This initiative was research-based, thoughtful, and deliberate. It was designed to ensure not just that LGBTQ youth and mentors would be accepted or tolerated within Big Brothers Big Sisters, but that they would be affirmed, understood, and celebrated. The initiative began as a pilot program with five local agencies. A year later, we expanded it to 20 agencies. Now, we’ve included our whole network in the program, which includes training opportunities, inclusive policies and procedures, and specific focus on anti-bullying, self-advocacy, and identity exploration.
TRAINING AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
In 2019, we began an intensive training program for local agency staff and leaders on JEDI. At our annual National Conference in 2019, we focused specifically on these issues to ensure our entire network has access to the information and guidance it needs to become more equitable and effective. In 2021, thanks to our various corporate and foundation partners, we will be launching a new JEDI Curriculum that will be accessible for all levels of the organization: Staff, Board, Families, and Volunteers.
The work around our justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion initiatives is thanks to a cohort of many stakeholders spearheaded by the Nationwide Leadership Council (NLC) DEI Committee and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America DEI Champions Committee.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of America conducts ongoing webinars entitled Race, Relationships, and Resources led by Tanya Gibson, VP of DEI & HR. These webinars are curated with relevant topics to inspire, engage, and empower our staff, Bigs, Littles and their families, and every community member to be a success partner in conversations regarding a variety of topics relevant to Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. These webinars provide a necessary space for our communities to engage in discussions that are important and transformative in empowering young people.
Teaming up with Big Brothers Big Sisters to reduce barriers and improve access to opportunities for youth.
Preparing youth for career success through our Beyond School Walls program and closing digital divide for under-resourced communities.
The trail is for everyone; Big Brothers Big Sisters partner committed to creating equitable access to safe spaces, like the outdoors.
Committed to advance racial and social equity in communities we serve together nationwide.
Race, Relationships, and Resources
- President & CEO of BBBS of Independence Region, Marcus Allen
- VP of Youth Protection, Julie Novak shares our mission and work surrounding Trauma-Informed Care
- President & CEO of BBBS of Miami, Gale Nelson
- President & CEO of BBBS of Metro Atlanta, Kwame Johnson
- President & CEO of BBBS of Metropolitan Detroit, Jeannine Gant
- Jessica, former Little and current CEO of BBBS of Greater Cleveland
- Big and Little Sister of the Year
- Listen to the latest podcast episode of "We Got You," featuring Little Brother Jaylin, from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio
- Big Brother Maurice is a former Little Brother, current Big and Board Chair for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound (WA). Maurice explains why there is a need to have a separate month to celebrate Black History. “I believe it’s important for you to remember so that you won’t forget...so that you’re actually inspired for tomorrow.” Big Brother Maurice View video.
- Black History Month conversation featuring, President & CEO, Artis Stevens; National Board member and Miss USA 2019, Cheslie Kryst; Maryland 4-H Program leader and Assistant Director of University of Maryland Extension, Dr. Nia Imani Fields
- A Conversation with President and CEO, Artis Stevens and Roland Martin Unfiltered: Big Brothers Big Sisters Mentoring Black Boys and Girls
- A Celebration of Women During International Women’s Day
April X, 2020
- Subscribe to Big News to sign up. #BiggerTogether
- Big Draft
- What it means to be #BiggerTogether. Learn more about mentorship at Big Brothers Big Sisters
- Little Louis from BBBS of Miami shares the importance of the LatinX community and the BBBS mission
- TikTok taking over the nation. Watch Big Brother Peter and Little Brother Amari from BBBS of East Tennessee
- Thank you again to, Jackson Lewis Lee, 2021 Golden Globes Ambassador, for choosing to support youth mentorship through Big Brothers Big Sisters! Check out the article from The Hollywood Reporter.
Want to get involved?
To get more involved with our JEDI work, please contact:
VP of HR & DEI
Big Brothers Big Sisters of America