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Bartholomew, Brown County Big Brothers, Big Sisters to Merge

With the strain of the economy, Brown and Bartholomew County Big Brothers, Big Sisters chapters are looking to merge in an effort to continue providing services

Columbus Courthouse

Photo: Kevin Doran

The Columbus-Bartholomew County chapter of Big Brothers, Big Sisters is still strong, despite the recession.

The Bartholomew and Brown County Big Brothers, Big Sisters chapters are patiently awaiting approval from the national organization for their appeal to merge. The Brown County chapter has been struggling financially and with yearly financial audits now being required by the national organization, Brown County Big Brothers, Big Sisters executive director Stephanie Dean says this merger is needed.

“We would like to grow and serve more kids, but really the only way we’re going to be able to do that is to merge with a larger agency,” Dean said.

Currently, the Brown County chapter serves about 35 kids. In comparison, the Bartholomew County chapter serves 250.

The main reason cited for the disparity is lack of resources. Brown County, with only 15,000 residents, has a much smaller pool of donations than Bartholomew County. The hope is that with resources from Bartholomew allocated to the Brown County chapter, more at-risk kids will be served.

“We’re hoping that we’d be able to serve 60 or more children. If we merged with a larger organization, I wouldn’t have to do all the administrative part of it and I could spend more time doing programming,” Dean said.

Kokomo, Rochester and Peru chapters have already collapsed under the strain of the economy. If the merger is not approved, the Brown County Big Brothers, Big Sisters will have to close its doors, becoming yet another casualty of the recession.

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