Local Big Brothers Big Sisters chapters plan for federal funding cuts

BY AMY ROBINSON
In a recent move, the national Big Brothers Big Sisters organization has had millions of dollars in funding cut, but local chapters said it’s not yet clear what the impact will be for them.
The U.S. Department of Justice cut nearly $20-million in funding from the national organization after finding Big Brothers overpaid consultants, failed to track taxpayer funds and kept sloppy financial records.
Cecilia Chesney is the Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Michigan. She said the lost funding had been earmarked for a juvenile justice program, aimed at helping incarcerated youth.
She said many smaller, rural local chapters don’t participate in the program. Still, she said, the recent cuts may hit locals through a domino effect.
“You know, we are part of the national organization and if they get hit financially, if they have a big hit financially, there’ll be a trickle down effect. I don’t know what that could be, and they may find some ways to make up for that.” Chesney said.
Chesney said her chapter, and many small, rural ones, get most of their funding through private donations.
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