The first staff person, Bert Grisard, was hired as Executive Director, and the agency began to provide children from single-parent families with Big Brothers and Big Sisters.


Big Brothers Big Sisters held its first Bowl For Kids’ Sake.


Big Brothers Big Sisters sought and received the support of a local foundation to purchase an office building at 107 Westdale Avenue in Winston-Salem.  The building was purchased in order to house several non-profit agencies under one roof, cost-effectively sharing a conference room, storage space, and a copier.


An Endowment Campaign was undertaken under the direction of a Board committee.  Board members made leadership gifts, and the agency received matching grants from three local foundations. 
Big Brothers Big Sisters Services was chosen as one of the agencies to pilot the Site-Based program and started providing volunteers to children at elementary schools. Recruitments for volunteers were done in high schools.
June: Wanda Starke, a local news anchorwoman and Big Sister to Courtney, was selected as National Big Sister of the Year.
September: a Director of Development and Communication position was created through initial support from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust.
A Big Brothers Big Sisters Advisory Committee was formed in Davie County to develop a plan for expansion of Big Brothers Big Sisters Services into Davie County
October: a satellite office was opened in Mocksville and a caseworker for Davie County was hired.
November: the Board of Directors of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Forsyth County, Inc. voted to change the name of the agency to Big Brothers Big Sisters Services, Inc. in order to reflect the expanded geographic service delivery area and expanded services


A Big Brother Big Sisters Advisory Committee was formed in Elkin to develop a plan for expansion of services into the tri-county Yadkin Valley area.  In December 2000, a satellite office opened in Elkin and a part-time Case Manager for the satellite office was hired.


Big Brothers Big Sisters of Forsyth County was officially changed to Big Brothers Big Sisters Services, Inc. and Bert Grisard’s title changed from Executive Director to President/CEO.
May: Big Brothers Big Sisters Services, Inc. celebrated it 25th Anniversary with Lynn Swann, the BBBSA national spokesperson, as the guest speaker.
SeptemberElkin Valley office had grown and a full time staff person was hired.


Big Brothers Big Sisters of America celebrated its Centennial Anniversary.


President/CEO Bert Grisard received the national Skip Walsh award for ExecutiveDirectors at the BBBSA National Conference in Washington, DC.


The office building located at 107 Westdale Avenue is completely paid for.


The Teen Mom program is established and the first matches are made.


Bert Grisard retired after serving as leader of the agency for almost 32 years and over 12,000 children served.
June:  Elkin Valley office was closed.
November: Amy R. Mack was hired as President and CEO after relocating to Winston-Salem from Washington, DC where she worked at The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and served in multiple roles including Chief of Staff, Director of Public Affairs, and Senior Advisor to the CEO.


Amy R. Mack resigned as President/CEO.  Shawan Gabriel was named President/CEO.

100 Years of History

For over a century, Big Brothers Big Sisters has been helping change kids’ perspectives and giving them the opportunity to reach their potential. And we have over a century of volunteers, donors, and advocates just like you to thank.

It all started in 1904, when a young New York City court clerk named Ernest Coulter was seeing more and more boys come through his courtroom. He recognized that caring adults could help many of these kids stay out of trouble, and he set out to find volunteers. That marked the beginning of the Big Brothers movement.

At around the same time, the members of a group called Ladies of Charity were befriending girls who had come through the New York Children’s Court. That group would later become Catholic Big Sisters.

Both groups continued to work independently until 1977, when Big Brothers Association and Big Sisters International joined forces and became Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

More than 100 years later, Big Brothers Big Sisters remains true to our founders’ vision of bringing caring role models into the lives of children. And, today, Big Brothers Big Sisters currently operates in all 50 states—and in 12 countries around the world.

Here is a look at our history, from the start:

Date Event


Ernest Coulter, court clerk, helps organize the first New York Children's Court; Ladies of Charity, later Catholic Big Sisters of New York, starts to befriend girls who come before the New York Children's Court.


Businessman Irvin F. Westheimer befriends a young boy in Cincinnati, OH; seeds are formed for the start of Big Brothers in Cincinnati.


Ernest Coulter founds the organized Big Brothers movement by obtaining 39 volunteers, who each agree to befriend one boy.


The New York Times reports Big Brothers activity in 26 cities.


Ernest Coulter embarks on nationwide lecture tour on behalf of Big Brothers; planning begins for a national Big Brothers and Big Sisters organization.


The first national conference of Big Brothers and Big Sisters organizations is held in Grand Rapids, MI.


Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., becomes treasurer of the Big Brothers and Big Sisters Federation;
First motion picture based on a Big and Little Brother relationship is released by Paramount Pictures.


President Calvin Coolidge becomes patron of the Big Brothers and Big Sisters Federation.


Six hundred delegates attend a Big Brothers and Big Sisters Federation meeting in New York City.


President and Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt become patrons of Big Brothers and Big Sisters Federation.


Norman Rockwell produces the sketch that becomes a symbol for the Big Brothers Association.


The Big Brothers of the Year program begins, Associate Justice Tom Clark of the U.S. Supreme Court and J. Edgar Hoover are named.


Big Brothers Association is chartered by Congress.


Big Sisters International is incorporated.


Big Sisters International and Big Brothers Association merge, forming Big Brothers Big Sisters of America with 357 agencies.


Big Brothers Big Sisters of America occupies its headquarters at 230 North 13th Street in Philadelphia.


Big Brothers Big Sisters of America is honored with a commemorative stamp by the Postmaster General.


Public/Private Ventures Study on Big Brothers Big Sisters Community-Based Mentoring shows measurable, positive results on youth who have a Big Brother or Sister, seminal research in the field of youth mentoring.


President William J. Clinton holds Volunteer Summit in Philadelphia; Big Brothers Big Sisters plays key role.


Big Brothers Big Sisters International is founded.


President George W. Bush announces three-year $450 million mentoring initiative in his State of the Union Address.


Big Brothers Big Sisters celebrates 100 years of serving America’s youth.


First Lady Laura Bush stars in a public service announcement to recruit volunteers across the nation.


Public/Private Ventures conducts a study on Big Brothers Big Sisters School-Based Mentoring program, reinforcing the value of strong, long-lasting relationships and leading to program enhancements.

In a Super Bowl first, CBS, the NFL and Big Brothers Big Sisters joined forces to create a public service announcement that features the two coaches whose teams are competing in the game. Roughly 90 million viewers tuned in to watch the game and see Indianapolis Colts' Coach Tony Dungy and Coach Lovie Smith of the Chicago Bears underscore the importance of mentoring by referencing their real-life mentoring relationship.


President Obama holds a White House National Mentoring Month Ceremony; Big Brothers Big Sisters attends and plays a key role.