Golden Campaign - Big Brothers Big Sisters of Big Sky Country BBBS Volunteer Application
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$1.1M needed to fund the effort; over $470,000 in support already secured

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Big Sky Country serves nearly 250 youth and supports over 150 mentor matches in programs in communities and schools in Bozeman, Livingston, Big Sky, Belgrade, and Ennis. But with growing demand and a constant waiting list to participate means Big Brothers Big Sisters must do more. On Saturday, the organization announced plans to do just that by adding another 250 matches over the next four years and expanding into more communities and schools across southwest Montana.

“For 50 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Big Sky Country has been igniting the power and potential of local youth through one-to-one mentoring relationships in communities and in schools,” said Lander Bachert, the organization’s chief executive officer. “Now we are called upon to do more, especially as we respond to the needs of our expanded service area.”

That service area now covers five counties (Gallatin, Madison, Park, Beaverhead, and Sweet Grass) following a 2020 merger of three different offices. Between that growth and dozens of children waiting to be matched with a mentor, Big Brothers Big Sister is leaning into a growth plan that will likely triple the number of children served.

“Our team is ready, and we have communities and schools just waiting to welcome our programs,” said Bachert. “We just need financial support to make this happen.”

Therefore, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Big Sky Country is leaning into a $1.1 million fundraising effort to secure the support needed to expand its programs and offer mental health training to all participants. Already, over $460,000 has been committed to “Igniting Potential, Empowering Youth” in just a few short months of fundraising.

$920,000 of the $1.1 million goal will be dedicated to fully funding the current 150 matches and adding 250 more matches in both the primary and rural communities of its service area over the next 4 years. These matches pair a younger child (Little) with a volunteer adult or older student (Big) who connect at least monthly to cultivate a relationship that is proven to build self-confidence, improve mental health and well-being, reduce risky behaviors, and deepen connections with family and friends.

The other $180,000 will fund three years of Mental Health First Aid® training for all program participants. Developed by the National Council for Mental Wellbeing, the program provides people with the skills needed to identify a mental health crisis and support someone experiencing one.

Similar to knowing CPR, this training ensures more people can help someone when help is needed the most. Recent studies show 20% of Montana students will develop “significant mental health problems” and 7 out of 10 kids who need mental health services will not get the support they need.

“Now, more than ever, our programs aren’t just life-changing,” said Bachert, “they are life-saving.”

But these programs cost the organization money, yet Big Brothers Big Sisters programs are free for participants, for mentors, and for schools too. Each match costs the organization about $2,300 per year for onboarding, training, staff support, and match activities. A school-based program typically costs $25,000 just to launch, then doubles or triples in cost as the program grows. Instead of participation fees, Big Brothers Big Sisters relies on generous donors and businesses to cover all program costs.

For 50 years, that model has worked. And that success must continue so Big Brothers Big Sisters can meet the growing number of kids and communities that need its programs.

“The best thing we can do for kids is to provide the support and guidance they need to know they are valued, unique, and loved,” said Bachert. “Our programs do that, creating positive outcomes that last a lifetime.”

Bachert is hopeful that people and businesses all across southwest Montana agree. So far, it looks like they do. But more support is needed.

“With so many kids and communities asking for our programs, we need to be able to step forward,” said Bachert. “We can and will, with generous support.”

For more information or to support Big Brothers Big Sisters of Big Sky Country, please email

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Founded in 1973, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Big Sky Country creates and supports one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth across a 5-county service area, including Gallatin, Madison, Park, Beaverhead, and Sweet Grass Counties. A financially independent affiliate of the national organization, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Big Sky Country delivers life-changing, life-saving programs that are nationally known. The organization currently serves over 250 area youth through community-based and school-based mentoring programs. As a nonprofit organization, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Big Sky Country relies upon the generosity of individuals, organizations, and businesses to continue its critical work.

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