By Roger McKinney
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Jasper and Newton Counties is off to a promising start for its capital campaign to replace its office that was destroyed in the May 2011 tornado.
The organization has received a $15,000 donation from the Scottish Rite Foundation of Missouri and a $25,000 matching grant from the Community Foundation of the Ozarks toward the capital campaign goal of $450,000.
Big Brothers Big Sisters is seeking an additional $550,000 for operations, for a total of $1 million.
Program director Don Greenlee said the Scottish Rite donation was generous.
“It came as a big surprise,” Greenlee said. “We’re very honored that they chose Big Brothers Big Sisters to officially kick off the capital campaign.”
He said Big Brothers Big Sisters also is grateful to the Community Foundation of the Ozarks.
“It’s off to a great start,” Greenlee said of the campaign.
The Big Brothers Big Sisters office moved into office space at the United Way building, 3510 E. Third St., within a week of the tornado. The offices moved into the basement of the building last summer.
The organization recently bought land at 2512 and 2514 S. Joplin Ave., with the plan to build an office that would meet the needs of the agency’s programs and the children who are served.
Money from insurance proceeds, a grant from Cardinals Care and other tornado relief funds have put the organization’s total so far at $115,000.
Richard Lowrey, executive secretary of the Scottish Rite Valley of Joplin, said in a news release that the organization has been active with relief efforts since the tornado.
“These donations of food, water, material goods and funds have been used to great effect, and as a final effort to help rebuild, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Joplin was chosen to receive a donation of $15,000,” Lowrey said. “Their efforts in helping to build character and responsibility in children who grow into responsible adults of high moral character fits well with the Masonic Fraternity’s values.”
Greenlee said the next step of the effort will be a mail campaign that potential donors will receive this month. He said donors may choose to contribute to the capital campaign for the building or to the operations fund.
He said he hopes the organization can reach $225,000, which is half the goal, in the capital campaign by the end of the year. He said the campaign would aim to raise the other half by the end of next year, with construction starting soon after the money is raised.
FOR INFORMATION about the Big Brothers Big Sisters campaigns, people may call the office at 417-626-9244 or email program director Don Greenlee at firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s also on the Web at bbbsjn.org.