Organization Update – June 25

Organization Update – June 25

A lot has happened in the past few months, and we would like to provide you with an update of where we are at as an organization and our next steps. The current COVID-19 pandemic has shifted our world and this is a very uncertain time for our local and global communities. We are an organization dedicated to supporting mentorship relationships for children and youth. We have all been facing social isolation, but it has been especially challenging for the vulnerable young people that we serve.

We have also been engaging in important reflection and discussion about the events that have highlighted anti-Black racism and the systemic and deeply rooted racism that continues to exist in our community. It is especially poignant that two such profound issues are in the public sphere so prominently at this time.

We know there is more work we need to do as an agency to create equitable and anti-racist spaces, policies, and procedures. At Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver, we have a long history of focusing on inclusion and diversity at the Board level and among our staff. We recognize the need to develop actionable changes, continuous education, and long-term commitments. We are currently engaged in a wide-reaching strategic planning process, which will guide our direction for the next five years. This process will embed these actionable changes, educational initiatives and long-term commitments into the core of our organization.


We are in support of the principles embedded in the Black Lives Matter Movement and we recognize that racial discrimination and oppression have also had a devastating effect on Indigenous peoples and others in the community. We are actively listening and further educating ourselves on how to help children and youth navigate and dismantle the systemic inequalities and realities that they face. Responsibility for this work starts internally.

There will be much more to come on this when we roll out our strategic plan, but specific deliverables will include:

–       Led by our Boards of Directors and Management Team, develop an action plan to adopt anti-racism practices and move our commitments forward, in consultation with our staff and members of the communities we serve

–         Learn more about racism in Canada and BC, and about Black History in our communities in an effort to undo the erasure of that history from our education curriculums and dominant discourse

–        Continue this important reflection and explore our unconscious biases through access to resources and learning opportunities to advance toward practicing anti-racism across our organization


At the beginning of the pandemic, our matches were not able to see each other in person. Despite this challenge, our mentors were engaging virtually in order to provide much needed support and friendship during this confusing time for the mentees. It is through these relationships that children build resiliency. Hearing stories from our matches on how they are still striving to connect has been heart-warming and encouraging.

Last week, we started the process of providing information to our matches on resuming in-person visits. British Columbia is one of the leading provinces in minimizing the spread of the virus and our Provincial Health Authorities continues to lift restrictions. With the announcement of Phase 3 of the BC Restart Plan, we recognize that matches will want to resume their in-person visits (while following safety recommendations) and our agency is providing our volunteers, children, and families with information that will protect the health and safety of everyone involved in the match. This information has been approved by the BBBS National Office; please reach out to your Mentoring Coordinator if you have not reviewed the COVID-19 material/protocols. The information is also consistent with the recommendations of the Provincial Health Officer.

As our ability to engage with our family, friends, colleagues, and neighbours has become increasingly challenging the past few months, we are learning how essential these connections truly are. Thank you to our volunteers, families, and partners that have supported us during this time.


The staff at Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver hope you and your loved ones are keeping safe and healthy during these times. Thank you for your flexibility and understanding while we learn to adapt and transition our mentoring programs to a virtual platform. It has been wonderful seeing Bigs and Littles continue to connect virtually during the pandemic, and we have also been excited to welcome a number of new Bigs who will be ready to be matched to their Little in the Fall.

Our Mentoring Coordinators and staff returned to our physical offices on June 22, 2020. Some staff will continue to work from home while others will work both remotely and on-site at the office. BBGV offices will remain closed to the public until restrictions related to social distancing lift. During this time, our Mentoring Coordinators and Assessors will continue to connect with you virtually or by phone.

Site-Based programs will continue to be virtual until our schools and community partner sites are ready to support in-person programs at their sites. This summer, Game On! and Mentoring with Math are being offered virtually. Our other Site-Based programs are planned to begin again in the Fall, and include: Adult In School Mentoring, Teen In School Mentoring, ROOTS, and CATCH as well as more Game On! and Mentoring with Math programs. Please connect with your Mentoring Coordinator to find out more.


We are very sad to note the previously announced closure of our offices in Squamish and Whistler where we had served the communities for over twenty-five years. Unfortunately, our funding crunch did not permit us to continue operations and we thank the staff for their years of dedicated service to BBBS Sea to Sky.


We are working hard to resume normal clothing donation operation and thank you for your patience during this time in holding onto your donations. We hope to start up the home pick up service this summer. If you would like to be notified when we resume service, please sign up at http://www.BigClothingDonation.com

If you need to donate your clothing right away, we encourage you to drop off your donation at our Kingsway office or the following Value Village locations where partial proceeds benefit Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver:

Surrey – 6925 King George Blvd

South Coquitlam – 1301 United Boulevard

Vancouver – 1820 East Hastings

Vancouver – 6415 Victoria Drive

Richmond – 8240 Granville Ave


We would like to take this opportunity to thank you – our supporters who have gone above and beyond for us during this pandemic.

Through hardship, comes resiliency. The pandemic has allowed us to have valuable and thoughtful discussions on the future of Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver as we go through strategic planning process of what our organization will look like in the next 5 years.

The most important thing we know, is that we can’t do what we do without the important support of volunteers, families, donors, and many more.

Thank you for sticking by us so we can continue to provide valuable mentorship experiences to children and youth, especially during these challenging times. We know we will come out even stronger after this, and we can’t wait to share with you our new strategic plan.


Valerie Lambert, CPA, CA, ICD.D
Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver
Executive Director

Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver Closes Sea-to-Sky Offices and Programming Due to Significant Negative Financial Impact from COVID-19

VANCOUVER, BC – Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver made the unfortunate decision to close the Big Brothers Big Sisters Sea to Sky Corridor offices and programming, effective immediately. This closure is due to the substantial negative financial impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the organization.

The unforeseen pandemic resulted in a significant loss of revenue for the organization, which fell over 80% almost immediately. Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver is a community-supported organization that raises funds from multiple sources in order to meet the growing needs of children and families throughout the Lower Mainland.

For the organization, primary sources of funding come from donations, events, clothing donation initiative, and government grants. Because of the pandemic, each of the funding sources would collapse in the space of mere weeks due to shift in funding priorities from granters, the cancellation of the annual Bowl for Big Brothers event, and suspension of the clothing donation operation.

Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver provides one-on-one mentorship and group programs for over 1,200 children and youth each year. The organization has been serving the communities in the Sea-to-Sky Corridor from Squamish to Whistler since the early 2000’s. Since that time, the organization has worked very hard to support mentorship programs in the region. Closure of the Sea-to-Sky offices and programming means that over 155 children and families are impacted.

“We are doing our best to meet the needs of existing community matches. Unfortunately, we just don’t have the financial means to keep the Sea-to-Sky programming going at this time” says Valerie Lambert, Executive Director of Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver. “We are proud to have served the communities and we hope we are able to serve families in Squamish and Whistler in the future as we re-evaluate our programs and impacts from COVID-19. We aim to still serve our core Big Brothers Big Sisters program with the support of our staff in the Vancouver office.”

If the public would like to support the organization during this critical time to help sustain mentorship programs across the Lower Mainland, the organization has set up a COVID-19 Response Fund for donations:  https://www.bigbrothersvancouver.com/covid-19-response/

For any questions, please email marketing.communications@bbgvf.com and we will follow up with you as soon as we can.

B2Gold Big Brothers Golf Classic Raises $510,000

A golfer tees off

Vancouver, BC – Golfers from across North America gathered at Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club on September 23rd for the B2Gold Big Brothers Golf Classic, which raised a record $510,000 to support important mentorship programs across the Lower Mainland. Fundraising efforts were lead by title sponsor B2Gold, who doubled their contribution from previous years to $100,000 this year. B2Gold’s generosity inspired Calibre Mining Corp. to surprise Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver with a cheque for $100,000.

In this past year, Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver experienced a difficult hit due to the removal of the clothing donation bins across the Lower Mainland which results in a $500,000 revenue loss to the organization annually. Both B2Gold and Calibre stepped up in generosity to support the agency in continuing the mission of mentorship for every child who needs one.

“It is always a great pleasure for me to see our guests having so much fun at our Annual Golf Tournament, and I am extremely grateful for everyone’s support towards our cause. The sense of community and camaraderie in the room was palpable and I personally felt so inspired by the support of our sponsors and guests. The event is a great success, enabling us to continue providing quality programming to our communities” says Valerie Lambert, Executive Director of Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver

Despite rainy weather, the golfers were in high spirits as they golfed the prestigious course at Shaughnessy, networked during the cocktail hour and gourmet banquet dinner, and placed their bids at the silent auction.



The Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver mentoring programs provide boys with a positive male role model and a friend to talk to and share the experiences of growing up with. Through regular outings, a friendship is developed between the Big and Little Brother that is built on trust and common interests. The result is a life-changing experience for both the mentor and the mentee. Big Brothers proudly operates across the Lower Mainland and the Sea to Sky Corridor and has volunteer opportunities for all genders.


Headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, B2Gold Corp. is the world’s new senior gold producer. Founded in 2007, today, B2Gold has three operating gold mines and numerous exploration and development projects in various countries including Mali, the Philippines, Namibia, Colombia, and Burkina Faso.


Calibre Mining is a Canadian-listed gold mining and exploration company with two 100% owned operating gold mines in Nicaragua. The Company is focused on sustainable operating performance and a disciplined approach to growth.

Daily Hive – 5 ways you’ll feel like a superhero after donating your pre-loved clothes

This spring we’ve partnered with the Daily Hive Vancouver to raise awareness of our free Clothing Donation pick up service.

Read the full article on Daily Hive here

Two girls walk on a beach together

Spring is the perfect time to start fresh and do a complete overhaul of your wardrobe.

And if you’re all about Marie Kondo’s KonMari method for tidying up and decluttering, you’ve probably already begun. If not, don’t worry — you’re not alone.

All you have to do is ask yourself whether you’ll actually wear those pieces at the back of your wardrobe ever again. If you’ve fallen out of love with a pair of jeans, a sweater, or maybe a winter coat, that doesn’t mean that they won’t find a special place in someone else’s life.

If you’re puzzled about where to donate your pre-loved clothing, stay with us. Vancouver non-profit, Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver, lets you book a free (and easy) clothing collection service, all for a fantastic cause!

Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver even gives a $200 gift card to one of their clothing donors every month, and once a year, they give away a $5,000 dream vacation to a clothing donor as part of their Sweepstakes. This gives you even more of a wonderful incentive to donate your pre-loved clothing to the organization.

So let’s take a look at the ways you’ll feel like a superhero after donating clothing to this organization.

May is Leave a Legacy Month

Our Planned Giving Advisory Council: (L-R) Randy Soon, Klint Rodgers, Kelsey Smart, Charles Brooks, Franco Caligiuri, and Lynn Williams (not pictured)

Did you know that 85% of Canadians donate to charity, but only 7% leave a tax-deductible gift to charity in their Will? The dedicated volunteers on our Planned Giving Advisory Council are trying to help start a conversation about how anyone can leave a legacy of a life-long friendship.

In honour of Leave a Legacy Month, we’d like to thank our Planned Giving Advisory Council volunteers, and invite you to think about your legacy:

Are you/do you know a Lawyer or Notary who would be interested in helping us with our planned giving program by donating some estate planning expertise? Please let us know!

Kids are Waiting 2-3 Years for a Mentor – Big Brothers Brings Purple Basketball Nets Back, in Search for Volunteers Across the Lower Mainland

VANCOUVER, BC — For every volunteer application received from March 15 – April 15, 2019, Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver, in partnership with Swishin’ Mission, will hang a purple net on an empty basketball hoop across the Lower Mainland. Currently, there are over a hundred children waiting for a mentor in the Greater Vancouver area.

To coincide with March Madness for basketball fans, Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver’s volunteer search campaign, Purple Net Project is back for its third year; an initiative that connects Big and Little Brothers through basketball.

Based on a symbolic connection between basketball hoops without nets and kids without positive role models, the campaign raises awareness for Big Brothers’ need of volunteers in Greater Vancouver. In the past few years, with the support of Swishin’ Mission, 450 nets were hung on hoops across various communities. Awareness raised from the campaign helped the mentoring agency find volunteers, but for the children who didn’t get mentors, and for the growing list of families who are in need of the charity’s services, the wait wasn’t over.

“Today, we face a critical need for volunteers as our ‘Littles’ wait times to have a ‘Big’ is an average of two to three years. We simply do not have enough volunteers to be matched to the children on our waitlist – we need the community’s help,” says Valerie Lambert, Executive Director at Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver. “Attracting and retaining volunteers is a critical challenge facing our organization today. Volunteers are essential to our programs in providing support and mentorship to children and youth in our communities.”

Adults looking to make a difference can sign up to become a Big Brother or Game On! volunteer can visit BigBrothersVancouver.com/volunteer. To learn more about the Purple Net Project campaign and see where nets are hung, visit PurpleNetProject.ca

Purple Net Project: http://www.purplenetproject.ca #purplenetproject

Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver: https://www.bigbrothersvancouver.com #bigbrothersyvr


The Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver mentoring programs provide children and youth with positive role models and a friend to talk to and share the experiences of growing up with. Friendships are developed between the Mentor and Mentee that is built on trust and common interests. The result is a life-changing experience for both of them. Big Brothers proudly operates across the Lower Mainland and the Sea to Sky Corridor, and has volunteer opportunities for all genders.

Media Inquiries and requests to interview the charity:

Mandy Wong

Manager, Development and Marketing
Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver
O: 604-876-2447 Ext. 247

C: 604-671-0891

Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver Foresees Loss of Clothing Donation Bins to Cost $500,000 Annually

VANCOUVER, BC – Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver has temporarily removed all of its 180 clothing bins across the Lower Mainland in order to re-evaluate their design and make any recommended improvements. For the organization, clothing donations, both home pick up and bin collections, account for over 50% of the funding needed to run the essential mentoring programs.

Removal of the bins means that the organization anticipates losing $500,000 annually, a significant amount and critical funding used to support the mentorship programs. Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver provides one-on-one mentorship and group programs for over 1,200 children and youth each year. The organization is mostly community funded and it is currently evaluating the situation. Over 250 children could potentially be impacted.

“We are asking for the public’s support during this critical time to continue to donate used clothing and small household items to Big Brothers,” says Valerie Lambert, Executive Director of Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver. “We don’t want the children in our programs to lose the chance of having a mentor in their lives.”

There are several ways the public can donate to Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver:

  1. Donate used clothing and household items and book a donation pick up through phone or online by calling 604.526.2447, visit http://www.BigClothingDonation.com, or email pickup@renewcrew.com
  2. Drop off donations at the organization’s office (#102-1193 Kingsway, Vancouver, BC) or at Value Village stores
  3. Host a community clothing drive at your workplace or school, email programs@renewcrew.com
  4. Donate funds at https://www.bigbrothersvancouver.com/donate-now
  5. Talk to your strata council about setting up an indoor bin in your building

For interviews and inquiries on how to support our organization:

Valerie Lambert, Executive Director

Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver


604.876.2447 x223

Clothing Donation Bin Update – Jan 8 2019

Thank you for your continuous support towards Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver.

Over the years, we have developed a strong clothing donation strategy to help us serve the community, not only through mentoring programs but to help the environment as well. We want to be able to provide a convenient way for people to donate their clothing.

Community support and clothing donations to Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver help children across the Lower Mainland build strong, healthy relationships, which creates long-lasting change. In fact, clothing donations account for over 50% of the funding needed to run these essential mentoring programs.

As an organization that serves children and families in the local communities, safety remains one of our most important values and priority. At this point, we will be recalling all our clothing bins in the Lower Mainland pending safety evaluation and improvements. Clothing bins are a big part of our funding, important decisions will have to be made to ensure the continued safety of the public while maintaining quality mentoring programs for youth and children in our communities.

One of the ways to still donate clothing or small household items to Big Brothers, is through booking a donation pick up through phone or online. Book a pickup today by calling 604.526.2447 or book online at http:///www.BigClothingDonation.com 

Once again, we thank you for your support and we will resume clothing collections at the clothing bin locations after inspections.

*Our clothing bins will not be accepting donations at this time. Please do not leave anything outside or attempt to place the donations inside the bins. You can continue to book your donation pick up online here or reach us by phone/text at 604.526.2447.

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