Dear Michael and Dina,

Thank you for your willingness to learn more about the mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Chicago (BBBSChi) and the impact it has in the lives of the kids and families we serve. As you know from Rob, this work in our communities is essential and I am sure you can guess how grateful we are for his ongoing commitment and leadership. We are excited to share this overview of the Drive for 5 Campaign, with its bold vision and the life-changing work that lies ahead. While we are all rightfully focused on the near term right now, there is too much at stake for the kids in our community who are looking to BBBSChi for help for us to take our eye off how we can be there for them moving forward.

We have created this webpage for you so, in just a few minutes, you can get a clearer picture of what the Drive for 5 Campaign goals are going to accomplish. You’ll see how, together, we can scale the mission—helping to change the future for many more kids in our communities by empowering them to realize their full potential.

In the meantime, just know how much your partnership is appreciated.

Best Regards,



Having to choose which kid deserves our help…that doesn’t need to be an option


There are literally thousands of kids in our communities waiting for the life-changing opportunity that having a Big Brother or Big Sister offers. Every day, children experience too many negative influences and roadblocks to reaching their potential. That’s where you and the Drive for 5 (D45) come in to play. The goal of the D45 is to take the Big Brothers Big Sisters’ proven one-to-one mentoring model to scale and move from serving 2,000 kids to 5,000 annually. 

  • Focus on both our highest need and the most underserved regions
  • Focus on supporting all aspects of growth and youth development: helping children develop life skills, build relationships, overcome trauma, and navigate life’s decisions


first…watch the mission in action

The Road Ahead: How We Get To The $8.975M Goal


Making Matches


Enhancing Experiences


Transforming Communities

Making Matches

Making and sustaining one-to-one mentoring relationships is at the core of D45

• Invest in talented people who recruit, screen, train and match volunteers with children on the waitlist

Provide ongoing match support and guidance to sustain life-changing relationships

• Invest in the latest technology to maximize efficiency and effectiveness in match making and match support


Enhancing Experiences

BBBS enriches each match through unique opportunities

• Invest in future-focused opportunities for Littles: reading and writing workshops, coding classes, campus visits and scholarships

• Invest in keeping matches together by providing shared experiences such as tickets to arts, cultural, and sporting events


transforming communities

Gain presence, relevance and trust in underserved neighborhoods and communities

• Establish six strategically located regional offices

• Employ individuals from targeted neighborhoods who are representative of the families we serve

• Build awareness and engagement through strategic community partnerships and outreach

Frequently Asked Questions


How Much Money Do We Need To Raise?
The Drive for 5 Campaign funding goal is $8,975,000. That is the amount of money needed to achieve the three Campaign priorities.
MAKING MATCHES: $5,975,000
Who Decided What Projects Should Be Accomplished?
Over the course of several months leading up to the launch of the Campaign, members of the Board of Directors, Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) Leadership and Friends, Staff and Alumni participated in interviews and group conversations to help guide the Campaign Steering Committee in refining the priorities to be accomplished.
Am I Being Asked To Make A Pledge To The Campaign Over And Above My Current Annual Support?
Yes. Gifts for The Drive for 5 Campaign (D45) are a special investment above and beyond your annual support and may be paid out over a three to five-year time period. Given that the D45 priorities are designed for driving sustainable growth and impact, it is essential that annual support not be sacrificed for the fulfillment of campaign pledges or outright gifts.
What is the Difference Between the Annual Fund and the Drive for 5 Campaign?
The Annual Fund and the D45 Campaign support distinct but equally important funding purposes, both of which ensure BBBS’s financial stability. Simply stated:
Annual Fund provides "money to live on"
D45 Campaign provides "money to grow with"
The Annual Fund is integral to the operating budget. The Annual Fund and other event-related income are immediately put to our most pressing needs and operational costs. The Annual Fund represents an ongoing, continuing effort.
The D45 Campaign is an intensive, multi-year fundraising effort to secure gifts and pledges that will provide the resources needed to grow mission impact. The Campaign has a defined lifespan with a beginning and an end.
Does Special Event Income Support the Campaign?
No. Income from fundraising events like Graduation, Golf Outings, Big Bash, etc., is restricted to supporting the Annual Fund.
How and When Will Campaign Investments Be Spent?
In its truest form, the D45 is a “growth campaign” designed to significantly increase mission impact in the lives of littles, their families and communities. Upon receipt, Campaign funds will allow BBBS to significantly build up the match-making infrastructure and expand outreach and engagement opportunities that will directly impact the ability to serve more kids and sustain successful match relationships.
Will the Money for the Match Enrichment Fund All be Spent in the Near Term?
Actually, the goal is to allocate up to 50% of the $500,000 in Campaign funds earmarked for “Enhancing Experiences” to seed BBBS’ first ever endowment fund. For the purposes of the D45, it’s a now & later approach in terms of how funds will be spent. Donors who allocate some or all of their Campaign investment to the Match Enrichment Fund will have the further option to decide if they want some of their gift directed to the endowment.
What’s the Case for Starting an Endowment now?
Given that the success of the D45 growth strategy will ultimately impact the organization’s long-term annual operating needs, the Campaign offers BBBS an appropriate opportunity to seed an endowment as part of a long range funding strategy.
How Are The Campaign Endowment Funds Being Allocated?
The money allocated to this fund will be placed in a Quasi or Board-designated Endowment (historically known as “Funds Functioning as Endowments”). Board-designated endowments are invested funds that allow for the expenditure of principal as well as income and are established by the Board of Trustees rather than by an external donor. Accounting standards established by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) require nonprofits to report Board-designated endowments as unrestricted funds. Therefore, while Board-designated endowments are not permanent funds, they are considered long-term investments.
How Are Board-Designated Endowment Funds Managed?
Board-designated endowment funds will be invested in BBBS’s endowment investment pool. Only the fund’s earnings may be expended in accordance with BBBS’s Endowment Fund Investment Policy Statement; the principal may not be expended unless extraordinary exceptions require an action of the Board of Trustees to specifically authorize such an allocation.
What Options Do I Have for My Campaign Contribution?
Campaign payments can be made in the way that is most convenient for you; personal check, credit card, electronic funds transfer (EFT) or through your donor advised fund. Stock transfers and IRA distributions offer additional options that are both simple and tax efficient. Gifts of appreciated securities may allow a donor to avoid a capital gains tax in addition to receiving a charitable income tax deduction for the fair market value of the stock. All options are spelled out in the Campaign Letter of Intent and BBBS’s Development Office* is ready to assist you in setting up a pledge payment plan, as needed.
If I Make a Multi-Year Campaign Pledge, When is the Initial Payment Due?
D45 Campaign gifts may be paid over a five-year period and installments can be customized by the donor. While the sooner campaign funds are available to be put to use, the better, it is understood that, in some circumstances, people will need to hold off on making their initial payment or that donors may want extra time to fund a significant gift.
Do Multi-Year Pledges Have to Paid in Annual Installments?
No. When you make your pledge and set up your payment schedule on the Campaign Letter of Intent, you will be able to select annual, semi-annual, quarterly or monthly payments. This schedule can be adjusted as needed over the pledge period.
Is My Contribution to the Campaign Tax Deductible?
Yes. A charitable gift to BBBS is tax deductible to the extent provided by law. This requires that the donor itemize his/her deductions by using the appropriate tax forms.
Can Matching Gifts Be Applied To A Campaign Donation?
Yes. Many companies have a matching gift program which increases the value of your gift. Please check with your company’s Human Resource Department. The matching gift must be initiated by you, once you have contributed to the D45 Campaign. When the paperwork from your company is received, we can verify that your gift was made and complete the necessary documentation.
Can I Make my Donation Anonymously?
Yes. You will need to provide your personal information so that we can process and appropriately acknowledge your Campaign contribution. However, if you wish to make your gift publicly anonymous, please simply check the anonymous box when you are completing your Letter of Intent.
How do I Specify my Gift in Honor or in Memory of Someone?
You may make your gift a tribute to someone meaningful to you by indicating your preference on your Letter of Intent. Simply enter in details about what type of gift you are making (in honor of, in memory of) and the name of the person you are recognizing. We will follow up with you regarding options for notifying the person you are honoring or the family of the individual you made your gift in memory of.
What if We Make a Pledge And Our Personal Financial Situation Changes? Is My Pledge Legally Binding?
No. Pledges are not legally binding. If your financial situation should change, simply re-evaluate your ability to fulfill the pledge and notify the Development Office of the change.
Can I Make A Bequest Or Legacy Gift To The Campaign?
Not specifically. However, even though legacy gifts will not support the D45 priorities in the near term, the Campaign provides an opportunity to expand the John B. Hirsch Legacy Fund as part of the organization’s aforementioned long-range funding strategy. If you are interested in joining our community of donors who have named BBBS in their wills or other estate plans or if you would like to learn more, we would be honored to have that conversation with you. Your legacy gift will provide lasting support for the BBBS mission and will, in many cases, provide tax-related benefits to you as the donor.
Can Investments Be Restricted To One Of The Campaign Priorities?
Yes. When you complete the Letter of Intent to document your Campaign gift you will be able to designate if you would like your gift allocated to any of the three specific Campaign priorities.
What about Recognition and Naming Rights and at What Levels of Giving?
All investments to the D45 Campaign will be recognized in a public manner – the final execution of which is still to be determined. There are a number of naming opportunities available at the $25,000 level and above. If you would like to learn more about specific naming opportunities and tribute gifts, please contact BBBS’s Development Office*.