Standardizing Service Delivery of Big Brothers Big Sisters Affiliates

Big Brothers Big Sisters offers a proven mentoring program that helps at-risk young people develop positive relationships that contribute to better futures. To help strengthen affiliates in the Carolinas and expand their reach to more children from single-parent or no-parent homes, The Duke Endowment in 2000 launched a five-year, $2.1 million effort that involved 48 grants and 15 affiliates in North Carolina and South Carolina. This initiative is closed.


The Duke Endowment's mission, as defined by its founder, includes services to "orphans and half orphans." Today, the Endowment defines these children as those who are without the benefit of support by family, or who are at risk of losing such support. Finding effective ways to reach these children is a challenge, as they exist in myriad situations throughout society.

One-on-one Mentors Can Make a Difference

Several national studies prove that one-on-one mentoring between a child and a caring adult can shape young lives. Because children from single-parent or no-parent homes are more likely to engage in negative or self-destructive behaviors, the importance of mentoring increases.

Big Brothers Big Sisters is the oldest and largest mentoring organization in the United States and a recognized leader in one-on-one youth services. Community-based volunteers meet one-on-one with their "little" brothers or sisters two to four times a month. School-based mentors and their "littles" typically meet once a week during the school year.


Helping Mentors Reach More Children

To help Big Brothers Big Sisters reach more children from single-parent or no-parent households and help the organization strengthen its internal operations and evaluation methods, The Duke Endowment started this mentoring project in 2000, providing grants to 15 affiliates to expand their numbers of mentor/mentee matches in both community settings and within schools. The Duke Endowment also made grants to 12 of the 15 affiliates (three closed their doors or merged during the project's timeframe) to help them incorporate new evaluation methods that provide strong evidence of success and document effectiveness.

The Endowment hoped the effort would:

  • improve positive outcomes for children
  • increase the reach of Endowment, in partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters, to more children from single-parent and no-parent homes
  • improve internal operations at each affiliate to provide more consistency in program delivery and evaluation across all affiliates

In 2013, the Endowment approved a grant to Big Brothers Big Sisters of America to help local affiliates focus specifically on improving educational outcomes for their matches.

Participating Sites

North Carolina

  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Charlotte, Charlotte
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Greensboro, Greensboro
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Central Piedmont, High Point
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Triangle, Raleigh
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Western North Carolina, Asheville
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters Services, Winston-Salem

South Carolina

  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Columbia, Columbia
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Carolina Youth Development Center, North Charleston
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Upstate, Greenville


Area of Work

  • Prevention and early intervention for at-risk children

Program Area

  • Child & Family Well-Being

Grantmaking Status

This program ran from 2000 to 2013

Areas of Work

  • Prevention and early intervention for at-risk children

    To equip children and families with skills to ensure that children reach developmental milestones to lead successful lives.

  • Out-of-home care for youth

    To drive child welfare systems toward greater accountability for child well-being.

  • Quality and safety of health care

    Improving the quality and safety of health care delivery

  • Access to health care

    Improving health by increasing access to comprehensive care

  • Prevention

    Expanding programs to promote health and prevent disease

  • Academic excellence

    Enhancing academic excellence through program and campus development

  • Educational access and success

    Increasing educational access and supporting a learning environment that promotes achievement

  • Campus and community engagement

    Promoting a culture of service, collaboration and engagement among schools and communities

  • Rural church development

    Building the infrastructure and capacity of United Methodist churches to enhance ministry and mission

  • Clergy leadership

    Strengthening United Methodist churches by improving the quality and effectiveness of church leadership

  • Congregational outreach

    Engaging United Methodist congregations in programs that serve their communities