Today: Jul 10 , 2020

Big Brothers Big Sisters Big Hearts

17 August 2007  
Yavapai Big Brothers Big Sisters will soon have a new place to call home, thanks to some really generous donations from community members.
Kathleen Murphy President/ CEO YBBBS, John Gisi, Jason Gisi: Campaign Co-chairs/ donated land, Shirl and Don Pence, ($1 million dollar donors), Travis Rushing Chairman of the YBBBS Board of Directors. All images courtesy of YBBBS.
Further Information:

Yavapai Big Brothers Big Sisters

Pence Press Release (PDF)

Groundbreaking Press Release (PDF)

Imagine trying to help 800 kids find mentors and positive role models. And, imagine doing that in makeshift offices, without a room large enough to even have a board meeting.

That's the dilemma that Yavapai Big Brothers Big Sisters (YBBBS) has been grappling with for quite some time now. There are 5200 "at-risk" kids in Yavapai County, and YBBBS expects that number to double by 2010. Currently, YBBBS is able to work directly with 800 of those kids, and by 2010, they hope to be helping double that amount. Their staff is scattered between Prescott Valley and Prescott, in four different locations, and that makes helping kids even tougher.

But, this is a problem that they won't have to deal with for much longer, thanks to a couple of big donations from people with even larger hearts.

Kicking off the "BIG AMBITIONS for Thousands of Little Reasons Capacity Building Campaign," Don and Shirl Pence have donated $1 million to the YBBBS, which will be used to help the organization build a new facility on land donated by John and Jason Gisi, according to two press releases from the YBBBS. But, this is more than simply a building, by building these new facilities, YBBBS will be able to help kids in our communities for years and years to come.

When asked why they are making such a generous gift, Don Pence says,” there are two reasons – first and foremost we are helping kids, we want to help the children who need it most and that makes us feel good.  Second, we want to serve as an example to inspire other people to get involved and make a difference."  

Don and Shirl Pence.

The new facility will be called "The Pence Family Center" and will house the YBBBS staff as well provide a "Mentoring Center" for the entire county. Bigs and Littles will have a place to meet and learn important mentoring and life skills.

The President and CEO of YBBBS says, "'The BIG AMBITIONS for Thousands of “LITTLE” Reasons Capacity Building Campaign' is clearly about matching more children. Don and Shirl Pence are leaders in this campaign and their gift will impact the future of our organization and our ability to match many more children.”

Gisi Enterprises, Inc. donated the land, but even more than that, they will oversee construction of the 5000 square foot Center, which will be located on Willow Lake Road in Prescott. Both John and Jason Gisi have also agreed to be the Campaign Co-Chairmen for the project.

“We wanted to do something meaningful and lasting for the kids served by YBBBS” explains John Gisi . “We believe donating the land and our leadership are the best way for us to give back to our community and help secure a strong future for YBBBS,” adds Jason Gisi.

“The Big Ambitions for Thousands of Little Reasons” Capacity Building Campaign is about increasing our ability to serve the growing population of “At Risk Youth” in Yavapai County, Explains Kathleen Murphy, President and CEO Of Yavapai Big Brothers Big Sisters.  “Our staff is crammed in small offices spread out over 4 locations in Prescott and Prescott Valley; we haven’t a room large enough to accommodate our Board of Directors, much less provide training and assistance to our Bigs and Littles.  This building will increase our efficiency significantly, at a time when our community needs us most.”

The total goal of the campaign is to raise $3 million, which will help the YBBBS attain their three goals: program expansion, improved facilities and program endowment.. Sixty percent of the needed funds were raised even before the campaign was launched. But, there is still the other 40 percent to raise, which will take generosity and hard work from the entire community.

YBBBS is ranked in the top 2 per cent of BBBS agencies in the nation for effectiveness. Serving Yavapai County and Sedona for more than 35 years, they have found that mentoring is the single best way to positively impact at risk youth.

Construction is expected to begin in early September, and they hope to move in by Spring, 2008.

For information about how you can make a gift to the “Big Ambitions for Thousands of Little Reasons” Capacity Building Campaign contact Marjory Sente, Campaign Coordinator at 899.4702

Artist rendering of what the building will look like from the outside.



Lynne LaMaster

Lynne LaMaster is the Founder of the eNewsAZ Network of websites. She will be leaving for new adventures on May 15, 2020.