Big Brothers Big Sisters closing its doors

By Summer Knowles - email
Posted by Rachel Leigh - email

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) - The economy is taking it's toll on thousands of kids in Palm Beach County.

A drop in donations is forcing the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Palm Beach County to close its doors. The 300 plus matches are now null and void.

After 30 years of providing thousands of mentors to underprivleged kids and kids from single parent homes, the organization can no longer afford staff, supervision of their mentor-mentee matches, insurance or even their office space.

"Without question, it's the economy," said Leon Muskin, organization's chief financial officer.

He says the majority of their budget comes from donations. "There's grants and foundations and those who just send money, but donors across the board have cut back. Individual donations are down about 60 percent, donations from organizations dropping dramatically, as well."

Heres an example of how much money they are losing from four of their usual donors.

  • In past years, the Community Foundation of Martin and Palm Beach Counties have donated $25,000, but this year they weren't able to donate any money.
  • The Albert Einstein Foundation in the same boat. Last year donating $30,000, and this year nothing.
  • The town of Palm Beach United Way has cut their donation this year by $13,000.
  • The Big Brother, Big Sister's largest donor, the United Way of Palm beach County has gone from donating $100,000 to cutting their donation completely.

It's a tough amount of money to make up, and, Muskin says, there's really nothing they can do. "Who am I to say that's not where they should put their money or anybody else should put their money? It's their ball, it's their bat, and it's their field. In this picture, just a few of the hundreds of kids who will no longer have a 'big' as they're called."

The matches will no longer receive professional support services nor will your match be covered by insurance, but the hope is, once the economy starts up again, so will their organization.

A handful of Big Brothers, Big Sisters chapters across the nation have also closed due to drops in donations.